Speakers at a seminar stressed the need to promote education for the sustainable development of Pakistani society and said that the people of Pakistan are the actual caretakers of the country and the surest means to political stability and strength. They said that mutual toleration, forbearance and adjustment were indispensable for a strong society, adding that political firmness had been a subtle thing for Pakistan because since its establishment, the seeds of unsteadiness had been sown in the country. They said this while addressing the seminar titled “Future of Democracy in Pakistan”, which was organized by the Department of Political Science, University of Sindh (SU) Jamshoro in its auditorium here on Tuesday.

Chairman SU’s Department of Political Science Prof Dr Ghulam Akbar Mahesar in his presidential remarks said that the Lahore resolution passed in 1940 by the high-flying leaders of the Muslim community of the United India vividly mirrored a vision of a consultative and democratic process. He said that the creation of Pakistan in 1947 and its post-1971 renewal represented a persistence of the process with intermittent suspensions and some participative methods to achieve national stability and cohesion through democracy. “Even in the military-led governments, the democratic facet was strengthened by conducting elections, truly empowered Local Governments (2001-2008) and the introduction and promotion of public and private electronic media channels since 2002 to strengthen freedom of expression in a democratic way”, he said.

Dr Mahesar opined that the 18th Constitutional Amendment adopted in 2010 was an example of how civil, political and elected governments could forge a progressive consensus for decentralization of power to address new challenges and complexities that arose in times of rapid change and effectively deal with issues specific to Pakistan’s modern needs. He also stressed that debate and such consultative dialogues were the need of the hour to strengthen democracy in the country in true letter and spirit.

Another speaker Khalique Zaman Mahesar shed light upon the historical development of Muslim political consciousness in South Asia when Muslims were able to establish their own state. It was the result of their dedication and sacrifice. He said the sense of uncertainty was mainly accountable for dishonesty and bribery, adding that the insecurity and diffidence could be diluted by providing the public with unambiguous legitimate assurances.

Dr Bisharat Lanjwani emphasized the need for the promotion of education and added that any society that promoted education, actually got sustainable development. He said that Pakistan was passing through a crucial period of its history but there could certainly be a way out if the public and politicians collectively willed so.

Dr Imran Noonari gave a comprehensive overview of the political and constitutional history of Pakistan and said that some people with an autocratic mindset got into the power corridors and the real needs and realities of the country were disregarded and ignored. He further stated that even democracy in the country had had a breakable history. True social equality, he added, needed a real milieu of forbearance and magnanimity. Dictatorships had thwarted a valid development of democracy in the country and hence political firmness.

Dr Jamshed Baloch said that if Pakistan’s political elite had matured enough, it would have saved the country from the collapse in 1971. He outlined certain aspects that, if implemented, could transform Pakistani society: the movement for the civil rights of people should persist, essential primary schooling is a must, efforts ought to be taken to lessen the graft and corruption level, and the exports of the country must be doubled than the imports.

On the occasion, students Anfal Soomro, Mehak Munir and Ashfaq Jamali also made speeches on the topic. Among a large number of students of Political Science, International Relations and other departments, the faculty members Ghulam Mustafa Gaho, Ahmed Hussain Shah Bukhari, Hansraj Hans, Khalida Hira Soomro and Rahib Hussain Radhan also participated in the seminar.

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Arshad Yousafzai is a Karachi-based journalist covering Education and Human Rights. He can be reached on Twitter @Arshadyousafzay

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