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Global Go To Think Tank Index (GGTTI) 2020 launched                    111,75 Think Tanks across the world ranked in different categories.                SDPI is ranked 90th among “Top Think Tanks Worldwide (non-US)”.           SDPI stands 11th among Top Think Tanks in South & South East Asia & the Pacific (excluding India).            SDPI notches 33rd position in “Best New Idea or Paradigm Developed by A Think Tank” category.                SDPI remains 42nd in “Best Quality Assurance and Integrity Policies and Procedure” category.              SDPI stands 49th in “Think Tank to Watch in 2020”.            SDPI gets 52nd position among “Best Independent Think Tanks”.                           SDPI becomes 63rd in “Best Advocacy Campaign” category.                   SDPI secures 60th position in “Best Institutional Collaboration Involving Two or More Think Tanks” category.                       SDPI obtains 64th position in “Best Use of Media (Print & Electronic)” category.               SDPI gains 66th position in “Top Environment Policy Tink Tanks” category.                SDPI achieves 76th position in “Think Tanks With Best External Relations/Public Engagement Program” category.                    SDPI notches 99th position in “Top Social Policy Think Tanks”.            SDPI wins 140th position among “Top Domestic Economic Policy Think Tanks”.               SDPI is placed among special non-ranked category of Think Tanks – “Best Policy and Institutional Response to COVID-19”.                                            Owing to COVID-19 outbreak, SDPI staff is working from home from 9am to 5pm five days a week. All our staff members are available on phone, email and/or any other digital/electronic modes of communication during our usual official hours. You can also find all our work related to COVID-19 in orange entries in our publications section below.    The Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) is pleased to announce its Twenty-third Sustainable Development Conference (SDC) from 14 – 17 December 2020 in Islamabad, Pakistan. The overarching theme of this year’s Conference is Sustainable Development in the Times of COVID-19. Read more…       FOOD SECIRITY DASHBOARD: On 4th Nov, SDPI has shared the first prototype of Food Security Dashboard with Dr Moeed Yousaf, the Special Assistant to Prime Minister on  National Security and Economic Outreach in the presence of stakeholders, including Ministry of National Food Security and Research. Provincial and district authorities attended the event in person or through zoom. The dashboard will help the government monitor and regulate the supply chain of essential food commodities.

Blog: By Salman Zafar

The Express Tribune

Published Date: Nov 16, 2015

Does Lahore really need its own Disneyland?

Instead of doing something for the one per cent, why not do something for the 99 per cent?

Lahore will have its own ‘Disneyland’ – a recent news item that does not carry significance as far as headlines are concerned, but does carry a ton of significance otherwise.

As things stand currently, only a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between the Punjab government and the Chinese company. While a MoU has no legal value, it does point a finger towards Shahbaz Sharif’s priorities.

Coming from an industrialist background, his focus towards capitalism is unquestionable. From investing in infrastructure to handing out laptops, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government is a big proponent of liberal economic policies, despite being a conservative party otherwise.

But where does all this investment in infrastructure leave the working class of Punjab?

Southern Punjab has one of the worst poverty levels in the country. According to a survey by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) published last year, the city of Rajanpur, for example, has a staggering 44 per cent households living below the poverty line. The people living below the line in other southern districts respectively comprise 40 per cent in Muzaffargarh, 36 per cent in DG Khan, 33 per cent in Bahawalpur, 31 per cent in Layyah and Lodhran, 31 per cent in Pakpattan, and 28 per cent in Multan, Khanewal and Bhakkar districts.

These are figures that stand out in the ugliest of manners. What is even more alarming is the fact that these numbers conceal the reality that large numbers of people hover just above the poverty line and are in constant danger of destitution.

But this is not the end of it.

Dozens of factory workers lost their lives in Sundar Industrial Estate and Burki Hudiara this month. This on top of the other cases of injuries and deaths in industrial facilities that are shoved under the carpet, portray an extremely grim picture for the strongest provincial government in the country. It is a reminder of how Shahbaz and the PML-N’s provincial machinery is custom built to suit the ruling elite and big business as the working class suffers one breakdown after the other.

Wouldn’t it be good if Shahbaz directs the abundance of funds at his disposal towards social services that make a material change in the lives of people?

Instead of investing in Disneyland, why not invest in social housing?

Instead of investing in roads, why not invest in education that is not only financially accessible to the poor but is also of the highest quality?

Instead of investing in transit, why not invest in providing employment that does not depend on temporary terms?

Instead of investing in tons of other infrastructural gimmicks, why not invest in high-quality health services?

Instead of pleasing the ruling elite and his fellow capitalist cronies, why not do something for people who go through every day not knowing if they will have food and shelter the next day?

Instead of doing something for the one per cent, why not do something for the 99 per cent?

Because infrastructural gimmicks work from a vote-hunting perspective, and social services that elevate the poverty stricken class do not. The proposed investment in Lahore’s Disneyland or its equivalent further strengthens Shahbaz’s capitalist leaning. But this is not the first time he is doing this, and this is not the last time either. Not only is he ruining Lahore’s aesthetic value courtesy of these infrastructural flings, he is alienating the working class of the city, and more specifically the rest of Punjab, in the worst possible manner.

Perhaps Shahbaz needs to take a stroll down to the slums in Punjab and ask people if investing in Lahore’s Disneyland will make their lives better. The answer might surprise him.