Daily Islamabad Post
Published Date: Feb 24, 2020
The state of health and education in Pakistan is in silent emergency, as maternal mortality rate, malnourishment, illiteracy and quality of education is getting deteriorate every day mainly due to lack of investments and little attention. Pakistan needs to project silent emergency in health and education to help channelize the philanthropy, charities and other forms of giving in these sectors.
Experts express these views during a seminar titled “Pakistani diaspora philanthropy: Patterns and motivations of giving of Pakistani diaspora in UK” organised by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) in collaboration with Pakistan Center for Philanthropy (PCP) here on Monday at Islamabad.
Prime Minister’s Focal Person on Shelter Homes Project said that Pakistanis by nature are very emotional and less logical when it comes to giving charity and doing philanthropic activities.
He said in loud emergencies, such as earthquake of 2005, Pakistanis reacted very emotionally and send lots of charity and giving which were even difficult to handle. We failed to project the silent emergency in illiteracy and maternal mortality, which is why these areas are the least focus of foreign assistance as well, he added.
Naseem pointed out that Pakistan has very week grounds on Human Development Index (HDI), as we invest very little on HDI indicators, which resultantly put the country on the bottom of the index.
He said with poor HDI indicators and little focus on human development no one will trust and ready to invest on people of Pakistan. To help achieve improved HDI indicators, Pakistan needs to work and project silent emergencies in health and education and channelize the philanthropic giving accordingly.
He emphasized the need for focusing on third generation diaspora living abroad for long term philanthropic giving through building trust, ensuring transparency and projecting more silent emergencies.
While commenting on government led initiative of Panagah (Shelter-homes), Naseem said that the whole idea of the Panagah is to provide some relief to the marginalized and poor segment of society who cannot afford even its two-time meal. He said that the government is planning to establish around 200 more Panagahs till the holy month of Ramzan where nearly 200 thousand poor and needy people will be provided respectable meal and residence.
Javaria Zafar Aheer, Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development said that if transaction system is more transparent, it will be much easier for Pakistani diaspora living abroad to transfer their philanthropic donations, which can also be easily tracked. She said that every year her ministry with the help of Finance Ministry also pay heavy fines of Pakistani labourers working abroad, who’s families are suffering due to failure of paying their fines.
While commenting of Financial Action Task Force (FATF), she said the ensuring transparency in philanthropic transactions is also critical and the government with the help of FBR and finance ministry is already working on tracing the suspicious accounts and ensuring accountability to get out of the FATF grey list.
Dr. Khalid, Head of Research, Pakistan Centre for Philanthropy (PCP), while presenting the finding of their report titled “Pakistani Diaspora Philanthropy in the UK: Trends and Variations” said that the total volume of philanthropic giving in the form of monetary, in-kind and time volunteered is estimated at approximately £1.25 billion a year, which is donated more in Pakistan (£0.7 billion) than in the UK (£0.6 billion).
He said that Pakistani diaspora community in the UK is around 1.2 million and has strong sociocultural ties with their country of origin.
As per findings, the most popular way for individuals to give in both Pakistan and the UK is through monetary giving, where the largest amount of this comes from Zakat-motivated financial giving to Pakistan.
He said that diaspora donations could be increased significantly in the coming years, particularly if trust is improved and more information about specific causes is provided to the diaspora community.
In this context, improved regulatory mechanisms to facilitate transactions and easy access to online giving are suggested, he added.
Dr. Shafqat Munir, Research Fellow & Director Policy, SDPI while commenting on the findings of the report said that regardless of the religion and identity giving for individual is important. He said that in Pakistan for corporate philanthropy there is no system in place for spending and there no strategy of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds spending, which can be proactively and effectively utilized for social development.
Additional Director, Welfare and Services, of Overseas Pakistanis Foundation (OPF) also present his thoughts on the subject and, Project Associate of SDPI moderated the session