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Published Date: Feb 1, 2013

SDPI Press Release (February 1, 2013)

PESHAWAR:
Mian Iftikhar Hussain, Minister for Information, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has said
that provincial government has spent ‘four percent’ of provincial GDP on
education which is the highest in the country.

The
minister was speaking at the launching ceremony of baseline studies organized
by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here on Friday.

He
said that education is a priority agenda for ANP government, which consider
essential for social and economic development. “Beside constructing new school,
the government has heavily invested on training and capacity building of
teachers in the provinces. In higher education, we have established eight new
universities increasing the number of universities to eighteen“ he added.
He also talked on basic education and added that ANP government has
introduced basic education in mother tongue.  The education in Pashtu
language has been implemented whereas work on Hindku, Seraiki, and Chitrali is
going on, he added.

He
also expressed that developed world has progressed through democracy and it is
vital to strengthen democratic process through creating political awareness in
population and strengthening democratic values. He deplored that politicians in
the country are unduly ridiculed and there is need to change such attitude. He
also urged on building peoples capacity to actively participate in political
process, especially the women’s participation.

Talking
of security situation, development and political process, he said that there is
strike contrast in peoples priorities these days as earlier people demanded for
education, health and livelihood but now their only concern is provision of
security. Giving details of ANP government work on security he said that government
has doubled the number of police force from 40,000 to 80,000 with substantial
increase in salaries, modern equipment, a compensation of 3 million for each
shaheed and other benefits their families.

Briefing
on the launch of baseline studies and AAWAZ programme, Irina Mosel, Technical
Specialist, AAWAZ, SDPI said that AAWAZ is a five-year voice and accountability
programme which seeks to strengthen democratic processes in Pakistan by making
it more open, inclusive and accountable to citizens. She informed that
programme is supported by the Department for International Development (DFID),
UK and managed by leading civil society organizations in Pakistan.

Sharing
findings of baseline study on women political participation, Safwan Aziz said
that despite clear acknowledgment of women rights in constitution, women
participation in political process is negligible. He argued that women’s
political participation is largely determined by male support, basic education,
knowledge of political activities, availability of resources, and a safe,
secure and supportive community environment.

He
said that suspension of the Local Governance system has been a major impediment
to women’s political participation at grassroots level. The study also provide
evidence that violence against women is considered socially acceptable, and
women are expected to withstand all kinds of physical and psychological
violence without complaining.

Fayyaz
Yasin of SDPI presented findings of baseline study on status of public service
delivery in KP and Punjab. He said, “Public Service Delivery does not seem to
be on priority list of the public office bearers,” and also the “Public at
large, has no formal mechanism to register their complaints.” Citing some of
the study results, he said nearly 93 percent of respondents in study area’s
obtain drinking water through private arrangements . He also said that over 65
percent respondents have complained absence of doctors at public hospitals.

Yasin
shared some of the study recommendation which emphasizes on creation of entry
points for people to share their feedback on public services delivery by
government departments.  He also stressed on access to information on
budget allocations, use of technology in monitoring governance and involvement
of civil society and people in public sector projects through constitutional
provisions.

Hamza
Abbas of SDPI apprised on the finding of study on alternate dispute resolution
mechanisms in Pakistan. The study came up with the findings that urban
population prefers formal dispute resolution forums whereas people in rural
communities consider informal dispute resolution mechanisms such as Jirga’s and
Panchayat’s as more effective.  The study recommends identification of
gaps in these mechanisms and advocate for improvements in accordance with the
laws of the lands and international commitments of the state.