‘Sindh through centuries’ concludes


KARACHI: Due to negligence, country’s economy from agriculture has been dropped to 17 percent from 23-24 percent while 54 percent economy still depends on Karachi Port (KP).
Dr Ishrat Hussain former governor State Bank of Pakistan and head of Institute of Business Administration (IBA) at the concluding session of ‘Sindh through centuries’ on Wednesday said Thar Coal field was the largest source of energy having vast potential.
We had been listening about Thar Coal since last 15 years but such a big source of energy has not yet been developed, he lamented. 
The indigenous resources are always utilised by the nations in case of crisis but here the case is contrary to it. He was of the view economic development in Sindh was not possible without improving law and order situation and bridging the gap between rural and urban areas. 
Dr Hussain informed the literacy rate in Pakistan was said to be 59 percent while it was 75 percent in urban and only 42 percent in rural areas. The gender-wise literacy figures show further difference, as female literacy rate in rural areas is only 22 percent while it is 68 percent in urban areas. The development efforts should be focused more on rural areas so that they could be brought at par to urban areas, he said. Country’s youth is in dire need of employment but unfortunately manufacturing sector has failed to create jobs and it is only the services sector that offers jobs.
Dr Hussain said the rural areas have big role in economy but unfortunately they have very less purchasing power. An Indian economist Suman Sonkar said Sindh has potential to become an important trade route between South Asia and Central Asia. 
Presenting her paper, Sonkar said, “Pakistan provides an opportunity for Central Asian countries to diversify their international connections and to reduce the distance and the number of borders to be crossed to reach international maritime transportation hubs. For instance, the Central Asia-Afghanistan-Pakistan (Karachi Port) road corridor would provide potentially one of the cheapest and probably the quickest routes to Central Asia.” 
In her paper ‘Revival of new Silk Route through Sindh’ Sonkar said, “Pakistan refers Sindh province as the gateway to Central Asia and strongly believes the good relations with region would not only enhance its security but also provide enormous economic opportunities.”
Highlighting the existing overland silk transport corridor between Pakistan and China, she explored the possible options to enhance the transport linkages from port of Karachi through Karakoram Highway and further to Central Asian region and even to Khartoum. 
The study of the trade route will help in the development of the entire region, she added. It is the ancient passage that has connected the civilisations and thus promoted the multi-interchange between East and West. This ancient route not only circulated goods but also exchanged the splendid cultures of China, India, Pakistan, Persia, Greek and Rome. According to her Sindh has the potential to become an important transit route between South Asia and Central Asia.
Dr Hari Lohano University of West of England on Poverty Dynamics in Rural Sindh suggested policies to mitigate shocks in farming, enhancing sustainable growth in the agriculture sector and improving non-farm employment opportunities in rural Sindh would reduce chronic poverty, prevent descent into poverty and allow escape from poverty in Sindh. Sindhi language has got some peculiar linguistic features, which are not available in other modern languages of Indo-Pak subcontinent. 
Noticing this, European scholars and linguists have highly praised linguistic structure of Sindhi language, said Dr Murlidhar Kisshinchand Jetley a linguistic scholar from India. Quoting the Captain George Stack who wrote in the introduction of his book ‘Grammar of Sindhi Language’ published in 1849 that Sindhi has more interesting dialects than many of other Indian languages’ dialects.
Dr Jetley vice Chairman of Sindhi Academy of Dehli and former professor of Dehli University said they were striving hard to keep alive Sindhi language in India. 
Young generation of Sindhis in India takes interest only in English medium, as their parents wanted them to be officers. The result is that the number of Sindhi speaking youths is on decline. In view of such a situation we have started summer workshops to teach the youth Sindhi language, he added.
Vice Chancellor Sindh Madressatul Islam University Dr Muhammad Ali Shaikh announced establishing of an institute on Sindh studies at the SMIU. The institute will award doctorate degrees in arts, culture, history, language, economy and other aspects of Sindh. At the same time he assured to organise another seminar on Sindh saying this time we would not wait for another 39 years.
Dr Hamida Khuhro Convenor Organising Committee of the International Seminar offered thanks to the foreign delegates and participants and gave overview of the three-day proceedings of the event. 

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