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Understanding citizenship development, livelihood in Sindh

AFP

KARACHI: Lack of project-aimed institutions in Sindh are hampering the development of the province besides mounting influx of the population from other rural and urban areas putting pressure, said Arif Hasan architect and head of Urban Resource Centre (URC) highlighting the fast urbanisation and its impacts on the ecology at a media workshop on Saturday.
Addressing journalists from eight different districts of Hyderabad and Mirpurkhas divisions at a workshop ‘Understanding citizenship development and livelihood in Sindh’, jointly organised by Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) and Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER) he said, “Being active citizens it is responsibility of journalists to be eye and ear of common citizen and write constantly for protecting the interests of rural people”.
The problem of urbanisation in Pakistan is lack of middle class, who might have managed the governance system. In this situation we can see more doctors but a few paramedics, there are more engineers but a small number of mechanics and there are more architects but few technicians.
We do not have maps and policies to decide keeping in mind the impacts of this on environment and ecology. It happens because we do not have institutions to conduct survey and do planning prior to initiating projects, he said.
Communication system in urban areas is uneconomic. There are no bus stops, or workshops, no bus terminals or no rickshaw stands.
Poor governance is also one of the main issues. There is need of vision. Project should be in the interest of majority of people, the land utilisation should be based on ecological safety, the cultural heritage of the communities should not be destroyed by project, he said.
The first census of Pakistan in 1947 shows the population of the country was 30 million, which has increased by 600 percent. Urban population at that time was 17 million in Pakistan and now the same has increased to about 90 million.
If we see Karachi, there is wider difference in old and new migrants. The people migrated earlier luckily got pieces of lands for shelter in katchi abadis and lived safer. But now the land is no more left and land prices have increased so new entrants do not have money for purchasing land. But despite that people’s influx in urban areas was still increasing.
Dr Riaz Shaikh of Syed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology during presentation about the development in Sindh said province was contributing 70 percent of the total revenue of the country’s GDP, but in return we could see lack of the initiatives for social development in the province.
He urged the media persons to keep an eye over these issues to promote debate on these gaps and social disparities. He said Sindh, in terms of literacy has been declared marginalised as compared to other provinces.
He quoted the recent social development reports that indicated Tando Mohammed Khan and Tharparkar districts were the least developed districts. He advised the media persons to take these issues effectively.
Zeenia Shaukat talked about the state of labour rights in Pakistan and shared the legal status of workers associated with formal and non-formal. She said 60 percent of population out of the total 180 million was labour force.
The situation of the people can be gauged from the fact about 170 million people live below poverty line. Constitution guarantees the fundamental rights but practically the law/articles could not defend these rights. She said only three percent workforce out of total 60 million was under union in the country.
If we see Employed Oldage Benefit Institution, it hardly covers five percent out of total workers. She said privatisation never benefited the workforce. This shows how the workers are vulnerable to be fired at any time without any reason.
Iqbal Detho of Save the Children Fund said journalists should take themselves as active citizens. We have to come out from self to common cause. Regarding the laws related to human rights violation he said the superior courts have specific benches to take up such complaints.  
Khurshid Abbasi General Secretary of PFUJ shared activities about their professional education and skill enhancement to understand the issues and covering the same effectively.

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