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The News

Published Date: May 15, 2013

Growing violence affecting all realms of life, says Anita

The
growing violence is affecting all realms of life and poses greatest challenge
to Pakistan’s development prospects, said Dr. Anita M Weiss, head of the
International Studies Department, University of Oregon, USA.

Dr.
Anita M Weiss was speaking at the launching of the book "Development Challenges
confronting Pakistan" she and Dr. Saba Gul Khattak, former member of the
Planning Commission of Pakistan, co-edited. The ceremony was organised by the
Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI).

She
said that there was very limited research available to identify “structural
impediments to development” in Pakistan. She cited contributors who argue that
instead of sophisticated economic growth diagnostics, there is a need to
practice simpler and forward looking paradigm called “weakness diagnostics”
which can address the lagging per capita GDP of Pakistan.

Referring
to another paper in the book, she quoted the author that escalation of aid has
consolidated Pakistan’s dependence on the West and strengthened security
apparatus in the country. Citing Dr. Abid Suleri’s paper on food security, she
said that “food insecurity and conflict” has eroded people’s resilience, adding
that if individual security was not given preference in policy, it would be
difficult to break vicious cycle of poverty and under development in Pakistan.

She
said that eminent lawyer Aitzaz Ahsan focused on salient aspects of Pakistani
legal system that must be changed to facilitate positive development in the
country.

In
his paper, Hasan Askari Rizvi discussed what he says the increasingly
dysfunctional political system that threatens Pakistan’s long term viability as
stable state. He argues that narrow partisan interests and power politics
dominate priorities of political leadership.

Pakistan
decision-makers never considered population policies seriously and this neglect
has thrown Pakistan demographics into further peril, she added.

Khawar
Mumtaz, chairperson of the National Commission on Status of Women, speaking as
discussant, said that authors seemed to have agreement in principle that the
majority of Pakistan’s challenges stems from dysfunction of state,
discontinuation of democratic system and lack of will on the part of leadership
on development discourse.

She
said that due to persistent prevalence of status quo, the country has turned
into a non-performing state. She also discussed the increasing irrelevance of
Planning Commission in development framework of Pakistan and said that the book
offer interesting suggestions such as placing Planning Commission under the
Council of Common Interest in accordance with the spirit of 18th Amendment and
to synergies’ development in all provinces.