Wednesday, January 15, 2020

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Unprogressive mindsets of the masses and intolerance for social diversity: a development challenge for Pakistan

By Fatima Khalid
Just as Pakistan’s economy is grappling with limited natural resources, the social structure is also struggling with the issue of intolerance. The core issue is the lack of meaningful education leading to a lack of tolerance resulting in extremism in every sphere of life. Pakistan’s population is highly driven by religion, also being an extremely patriarchal society, the true value of religion has been lost in the cultural norms and the teachings of religion have been manipulated.
Pakistan is a country rich in diversity, it is home to people from different religions. Yet, it is dominated by Islamic extremists, who fail to accept that every person has equal rights, regardless of gender, color, creed, caste, religion, and ethnicity. The people of Pakistan are divided in the name of provinces, religion and status quo as well. They have strong ethnic attachments and are intolerable towards diversity of culture. According to Max Weber’s Modernization Theory, every country needs to go through a process of modernization in order to achieve development. Pakistani society is highly critical of the modernization process which it believes interferes with the country’s traditions and cultural practices. The critics of modernization theory may be right in their own context but it will not be wrong to say that the unprogressive attitude of the Pakistani society is the greatest hindrance to the process of development in the country. There is a clear-cut division of liberals and extremists in the country. This duality in the society hampers all sorts of growth processes; economic and social. The characteristics of the society decide the future of the State. An important question that arises here is that, where do culture appreciation stop and culture appropriation begin?

The feeling of a nation needs to be engraved in the individuals, and openness of culture should be embraced as a norm of life because nothing can remain constant, every living thing needs to go through the process of change

Where the world is said to be in a transition phase, moving towards a post-modern society, Pakistan is still questioning the pros and cons of modernization and development. In this new millennium, creating the capacity to deal effectively with this development challenge and other conditions associated with the dual processes of under and over development stands as one of the greatest challenges for those who profess a commitment to modernism’s promise of ‘progress’ with respect to improving human well-being. The first and foremost step is to enlarge the thinking capacity of the population, which can only be possibly done by the right kind of education. This is the failure of the state and its institutions that have failed to tackle the problem of unprogressive mind sets of the masses by providing quality education and creating enough jobs to utilize the youth in order to make them productive and keep them away from extremist ideologies and activities.
Pakistan needs to go through the social change process for development in its true essence. Most importantly, the society needs to open itself towards change, and give up the cultural norms which keep the society backward, restricted and restrained. We are living in the era of globalization, where anything in one country effects millions in the other country, state boundaries have been blurred in this neoliberal system. Freedom is everything, most superior of which is the freedom of thought and choice. Our society needs to treat men and women as equals and stop curbing women by making them economically self-sufficient, this not only is beneficial at the micro level for the household but equally beneficial at the macro level for the country as a whole.
The country faces an unequal distribution of wealth, which is another cause of growing intolerance among the masses. The problems that Pakistan is confronted with arise from fundamental socioeconomic and class inequalities which have allowed the ruling classes to espouse, promote and encourage orthodox, rigid and fundamentalist versions of religion, as opposed to the more tolerant, peaceful ones that the dispossessed classes reflect.The local bodies system from Article 140 of the constitution states that power should be transferred to the lower levels of government. When this transition finally occurs, it will improve the condition of the public as well. So, it is extremely important that the government provides mechanisms for indulging the youth bulge as well as the structurally unemployed into the employment cycle.
The time has come to support the long overdue goal of a ‘Naya Pakistan’ in which people from all walks of life can play a dynamic and meaningful role in national life. Naya Pakistan needs new, reformed, modern, progressive approach and mentality of the majority of the population, which is open towards development and social change. A serious revamping of socio-economic structures of the country is required. Policies that are comprehensive and well-planned as well as sustainable and have long term objectives are seriously needed in this time without any doubt. Quality education plays the most important role in creating tolerance and acceptance for diversity. There is need for changes in the educational system, it should be made uniform across the board and teachings of peace and acceptance for heterogeneity of population should be promoted through education. By meaningful education Pakistanis can rethink their identity and look at themselves as “Pakistanis”, instead of being divided in the name of religion or region. The feeling of a nation needs to be engraved in the individuals, and openness of culture should be embraced as a norm of life because nothing can remain constant, every living thing needs to go through the process of change.
Education, without doubt will play the most important role in reconstructing the social structures. But there are other factors which cause intolerance in the society mainly because of income disparity which need to be tackled with institutional changes.

What can #Pakistan learn from #Bangladesh?

By Dr Syed Akhter
Henry Kissinger, the secretary of state during the Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford administrations, ominously dubbed Bangladesh a basket case, and the moniker stuck, causing disappointment and dismay among Bangladeshis. In the 1970s, the derogatory appellation painted a dire picture of a country struggling with negative growth rates, dismal export potentials, empty coffers, and, to top it all off, the burden of meeting the needs of a population traumatized by a brutal independence movement. The future of Bangladesh, at the time, looked very bleak indeed.
Five decades later, Bangladesh has come out roaring. It has become one of the leading Asian economies and has, for over a decade, grown at a good clip. In fact, since 2011, Bangladesh’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate has been consistently over 6 %. In its latest report, the Asian Development Bank paints a promising picture of Bangladesh and puts it on a sure footing for achieving a growth rate of 8% in 2020, the highest in the region.
Due to the constant economic upheaval, the Bangladeshi economy will cast off the status of a least developed economy in less than five years and will join the list of developing economies. Bangladesh’s story of economic success is strewn with lessons on how to exploit resource endowments, not only to achieve economic growth, but also inculcate human development. That is why Bangladesh is higher on the human development index (HDI) than Pakistan.
It is somewhat ironic that it was Mahbubul Haq, a Pakistani economist, that developed the HDI along with Amartya Sen to assess the quality of life and standard of living of people within a country. Sen, a Nobel Laureate, called Haq an “outstanding economist and a visionary social thinker.” Haq believed that the policy outcomes that mattered the most were what a government did for its people so that they could lead a healthy and prosperous life. Taking a people-centric approach to judge the success of governmental policies, the HDI draws attention to three dimensions of people’s lives: education, health, and income.
During the last two decades, Bangladesh has made great strides with regards to improving the lives of its people. To get a sense of where it stands today, we will compare Bangladesh with Pakistan on some of the key indicators of HDI, knowing full well that such a comparison can generate controversy due to the long standing friction between the two countries.
When we look at the ranking of the two countries on the human development scale, Bangladesh is ahead on the 135th position as opposed to Pakistan’s 152nd. The average life expectancy in Bangladesh is also higher at 72.3 years in comparison to Pakistan’s 67.1 years whereas the mortality rate is also significantly lower in Bangladesh at 26.9 versus 61.2 in Pakistan. A child born in Bangladesh can expect to be in school longer than a child born in Pakistan at an average of 11.2 years versus 8.5 years while the mean years of schooling for females in Bangladesh is 5.3 years compared to 3.8 years in Pakistan. What is perhaps most surprising is that, according to the World Bank, Bangladesh now has a higher per capita Gross National Income than Pakistan, $1,750 versus $1,590 to be precise. Overall, Bangladeshis now enjoy a higher standard of living than their Pakistani counterparts.
Among the different developmental policies that Bangladesh implemented to improve the standard of living for its people, the two that stand out are the economic empowerment of women and the focus on infrastructural development. Comparatively, while both Pakistan and Bangladesh essentially exported their unemployment problems by sending people to work in the restrictive environment of the Middle East, Bangladesh also looked for ways to create employment opportunities internally for its labour force. It slowly and steadily expanded the textile sector to create employment opportunities, especially for women, who now form the backbone of the industry.
As a result, female labour now accounts for more than 90% of the workforce in the textile sector which currently employs over four million people. These jobs have not only improved the lives of families, but have also given women discretionary purchasing power and access to financial instruments.
Bangladesh has become a textile powerhouse, exporting apparel products and producing for retailers such as Zara, Gap, Uniqlo, Hugo Boss, H&M and other multinationals. A once fledgling industry has now been transformed into a $30 billion business which has established Bangladesh as the second largest exporter of garments and apparel products in the world after China. The experience and the network of relationships that its executives have developed along with the business prowess they have gained will be instrumental in moving Bangladesh towards the next phase of development which is the production and marketing of high value-added products. Unfortunately, in the case of Pakistan, the data on human development looks bleak. Its story is one of lost opportunities. Once a beacon of development and modernity in South Asia, Pakistan’s economy has stagnated due to rampant corruption and mismanagement. Successive governments have failed to construct a growth-conducive economic model whereas a feudal mentality has curtailed the entrepreneurial spirit that propelled growth during the early years of Pakistan’s existence in the financial, educational, healthcare, aviation, and transportation sectors. Therefore, sooner rather than later, Pakistan will need to create conducive conditions in order achieve what Mahbub ul Haq valued – a good life for the general populace.

پاکستانی صارفین کرپشن سے نہیں مہنگائی سے پریشان، رپورٹ

مارکیٹ ریسرچ کی دنیا کی تیسری بڑی کمپنی IPSOS کی طرف سے جاری کیےجانے والے گلوبل کنزیومر کانفیڈنس انڈیکس کی تازہ ترین سروے رپورٹ میں پاکستان کے حوالے 
سے کئی اہم انکشافات سامنے آئے ہیں۔
اس انڈیکس کی تیاری کے لیے پاکستان میں کیے جانے والے ایک حالیہ سروے میں صارفین سے پوچھا گیا تھا کہ ان کے نزدیک سب سے زیادہ پریشان کن بات کیا ہے؟ اس سوال کے جواب میں سب سے زیادہ لوگوں کا کہنا تھا کہ وہ مہنگائی (29 فیصد) اور بے روز گاری (30 فیصد) کی وجہ سے پریشان ہیں، اس کے بعد زیادہ تر لوگوں نے ٹیکسوں کے بڑھتے ہوئے بوجھ (11 فیصد) کو اپنی پریشانی بتایا۔ پاکستانی صارفین کی دیگر پریشانیوں میں بڑھتی ہوئے غربت اور بجلی کے نرخوں میں ہونے والا اضافہ بھی ہیں۔
دلچسپ بات یہ ہے کہ ان سارے اعداد وشمار کے مقابلے میں صرف دو فیصد صارفین نے کرپشن، اقربا پروری اور رشوت ستانی جیسے امور کو اپنی سب سے بڑی پریشانی قرار دیا۔
Logo Consumer confidence survey in pakistan
گلوبل کنزیومر کانفیڈنس انڈیکس 2019 میں پاکستان دنیا کی ابھرتی ہوئی معیشتوں بھارت، ترکی، جنوبی امریکا، روس، چین، اور برازیل سمیت 27 ممالک سے پیچھے ہے۔
اپنے 17 ہزار ملازمین کے ساتھ دنیا کے 89 ممالک میں کام کرنے والی فرانسیسی کمپنی IPSOS نے دسمبر 2019ء میں پاکستان کے 120 سے زائد شہروں اور دیہاتوں میں 18 سال سے زائد عمر کے مرد و خواتین سے معلومات حاصل کی تھیں۔ اس سروے میں 2900 افراد سے مقامی معاشی حالات اور ملک کی مجموعی اقتصادی صورتحال، تحفظ روزگار، قوت خرید، بچت اور سرمایہ کاری کے امکانات کے بارے میں پاکستانی شہریوں کی رائے حاصل کی گئی تھی۔اسی سروے میں لوگوں سے انہی امور کے بارے میں مستقبل کی توقعات کے حوالے سے بھی سوالات کیے گئے تھے۔
سرمایہ کاری، بچت، معاشی حالات اور روزگار کے حوالے سے صارفین کی آرا سےتیار کیے جانے والے گلوبل کنزیومر کانفیڈنس انڈیکس 2019 میں پاکستان دنیا کی ابھرتی ہوئی معیشتوں بھارت، ترکی، جنوبی امریکا، روس، چین، اور برازیل سمیت 27 ممالک سے پیچھے ہے۔ سروے کے مطابق اگست 2019ء کے مقابلے میں دسمبر 2019ء میں ملک کے معاشی حالات میں زیادہ خرابی نوٹ کی گئی اور صارفین کا کہنا ہے کہ ایک سال پہلے وہ معاشی طور پر قدرے بہتر حالات میں تھے۔ تحفظ روزگار، قوت خرید، بچت اور سرمایہ کاری کے حوالے سے اس سروے میں پاکستان کی معاشی صورتحال میں پچھلے چھ ماہ کے دوران ابتری کو نوٹ کیا گیا ہے۔
IPSOS کی تازہ سروے رپورٹ میں سامنے آنے والے انکشافات نے حکومتی حلقوں کے ان دعووں کی نفی کر دی ہے کہ ملک کی معیشت کو پٹڑی پر ڈالا اور بہتر بنایا جا رہا ہے۔
ڈی ڈبلیو کے ساتھ خصوصی گفتگو میں IPSOS پاکستان کے منیجنگ ڈائریکٹر عبدالستار بابر کا کہنا تھا کہ اس مرتبہ گلوبل کنزیومر کانفیڈنس انڈیکس میں پاکستان کا نمبر 32.8 ہے جو کہ پچھلے سال سے بھی ایک درجہ کم ہے۔ اس انڈیکس کا عالمی طور پر اوسط نمبر 48.5 ہے۔ بھارت اس انڈیکس میں 61.1 پر جبکہ ترکی 33.7 نمبر پر ہے۔
Pakistan Kinderunterernährung
IPSOS کی تازہ سروے رپورٹ میں سامنے آنے والے انکشافات نے حکومتی حلقوں کے ان دعووں کی نفی کر دی ہے کہ ملک کی معیشت کو پٹڑی پر ڈالا اور بہتر بنایا جا رہا ہے۔
عبدالستار بابر کے مطابق گلوبل کنزیومر کانفیڈنس انڈیکس کی تازہ رپورٹ میں یہ بات سامنے آئی ہے کہ پچھلے سال کے مقابلے میں گھر، گاڑی یا روز مرہ کی اشیاہ خریدنے کے حوالے سے 90 فیصد پاکستانوں کے اعتماد میں کمی آئی ہے۔ اسی طرح اس سال تحفظ روزگار اور مستقبل کے لیے سرمایہ کاری یا بچت کرنے کے حوالے سے 80 فیصد پاکستانیوں کے اعتماد میں کمی نوٹ کی گئی ہے۔ اس سروے میں حصہ لینے والے افراد میں سے 40 فیصد لوگوں کا کہنا تھا کہ اس سال وہ یا ان کا کوئی جاننے والا معاشی صورتحال کی وجہ سے بے روزگار ہو گیا ہے۔ ان کے بقول ہر چار میں سے تین پاکستانی ملکی حالات کے حوالے سے عدم اطمینان کا شکار ہیں، جبکہ پانچ میں سے چار پاکستانیوں کا خیال ہے کہ ملکی معیشت کی حالت بری ہے۔
ڈی ڈبلیو سے گفتگو کرتے ہوئے اوکاڑہ یونیورسٹی کے وائس چانسلر ڈاکٹر ذکریا ذاکر کا کہنا تھا کہ ملک کی معاشی صورتحال کی ابتری کے اثرات سماج پر ضرور پڑتے ہیں: ''اگر اقتصادی صورتحال ٹھیک نہیں ہوگی تو معاشرے میں تناؤ اور بے چینی میں اضافہ ہوتا ہے اور جرائم بڑھ جاتے ہیں۔‘‘ ان کے بقول اس صورتحال کو سنجیدگی کے ساتھ دیکھنے کی ضرورت ہے۔

Pakistan again fails to raise Kashmir issue in UNSC, members say bilateral matter

India on Wednesday slammed Pakistan for again trying to raise the Kashmir issue in the UN Security Council where it failed yet again to find any support, with New Delhi asserting that Islamabad needs to focus on the hard tasks it has to address in order to ensure normal relations with India.

 India on Wednesday slammed Pakistan for again trying to raise the Kashmir issue in the UN Security Council where it failed yet again to find any support, with New Delhi asserting that Islamabad needs to focus on the hard tasks it has to address in order to ensure normal relations with India.
China, Pakistan's 'all-weather ally', stood alone in the Pakistani corner to get the Security Council to focus on the Kashmir issue.
The attempt failed as other member countries felt Kashmir is a bilateral matter between India and Pakistan.
Earlier on Wednesday, China made the fresh pitch to raise the Kashmir issue under "other matters" during closed consultations in the Security Council Consultations Room.
India's Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin said: "We once again saw an effort made by one member state of the UN, fail in plain view of all others".
"We are happy that neither alarmist scenario painted by the representatives of Pakistan nor any of the baseless allegations made repeatedly by representatives of Pakistan in the UN fora were found to be credible today," Akbaruddin told PTI.
"We are glad that the effort was viewed as a distraction and it was pointed by many friends that bilateral mechanisms are available to raise and address issues that Pakistan may have in its ties with India," he said.
A European source, heading into the Security Council meeting, had described the discussions on Kashmir during the closed consultations to be "low key."
A top European diplomat said the issue should be resolved bilaterally and it was a "domestic affair."
Akbaruddin further said that "Pakistan's practice of using false pretences to distract from addressing the malaise that afflicts it has run its course. We hope that Pakistan pays heed to the clear signals sent out here today and focusses on the hard tasks it has to address in order to ensure normal relations with India."
Coming out of the meeting, Chinese Ambassador Zhang Jun said: "We had a meeting on Jammu and Kashmir. And I'm sure you all know that Foreign Minister of Pakistan wrote letters to the Security Council asking the Security Council to pay attention to the current situation in Jammu and Kashmir.
"The issue of India and Pakistan has always been on the agenda of the Security Council and today we have also seen some tensions, so the Security Council had a briefing and heard at the briefing from the Secretariat concerning the current situation on the ground. Members exchanged views on that".
Zhang later said China "has stated our position very clearly. We remain concern about the situation on the ground (in Kashmir)."
When asked if the meeting advanced anything, he said: " I am sure the meeting will be helping both parties to understand the risk of further escalation and will encourage them to approach to each other and to have dialogue and to seek means, to seek solutions through dialogue. I think that will be helpful".
The current move by China was the third such attempt since August when the special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution was scrapped by the government, and the state was bifurcated into two union territories.
In August, China pushed for a UNSC meeting on Kashmir after the government scrapped J-K's special status. However, the meeting did not yield the desired results for China as the member-states maintained that India's move was an internal issue.
Last month, France, the US, the UK and Russia foiled an attempt by China to discuss Kashmir at a closed-door meeting of the UNSC.
China has been critical of India's reorganisation of J-K and has particularly criticised New Delhi for making Ladakh a union territory. China lays claim over several parts of Ladakh.
India's decisions on Kashmir had also cast a shadow over Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to India in October for the second informal summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Notwithstanding the acrimony over the issue between the two countries, Modi and Xi held "successful" talks in the ancient coastal town of Mamallapuram, signalling a recalibration of bilateral ties.