Monday June 24, 2024

Concrete, sustained action emphasised to address governance issues

By Jamila Achakzai
September 25, 2023

Islamabad:Pakistan faces deeply ingrained governance challenges that require moving beyond suggestions to concrete and sustained actions, experts insisted during a meeting.

They said the "knowing-doing gap" necessitated a proactive stance with solutions being implemented in the form of tangible actions to address the challenges facing the nation. The experts called for immediate measures to address major issues like poor governance, internal strife, corruption, a flawed education system, moral turpitude, environmental challenges, and healthcare difficulties saying all that requires consistency in government policies, removal of disparities, utilisation of youth as a resource, the building of narratives and national emotions, and promotion of constructive change through research.

Among them were prominent intellectuals, academics, technocrats, and religious scholars, who attended the annual meeting of the National Academic Council of the Institute of Policy Studies here to give their thoughts on the leading think-tank's research activities and ideas regarding national issues.

The meeting was chaired by IPS chairman Khalid Rahman and addressed by Vice Chancellor of the Riphah International University Prof. Dr. Anis Ahmed, special assistant to the PM on maritime affairs Vice Admiral (r) Iftikhar Ahmed Rao, chairman of the Council of Islamic Ideology Prof. Dr. Qibla Ayaz, Federal Shariat Court Justice Dr. Syed Mohammad Anwer, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Public Service Commission member Razia Sultana, IPS vice-chairman and former ambassador Syed Abrar Hussain, Pakistan Council for Science and Technology chairman Dr. Anwar-ul-Hasan Gilani, former cabinet secretary Syed Abu Ahmad Akif, Westbury Group of Companies chairman Mohammad Bashir Jan Mohammad, former water and power secretary Mirza Hamid Hasan, former VC of the Muslim Youth University Dr. Syed Tahir Hijazi, Fatima Jinnah University Rawalpindi VC Saima Hamid, Ziauddin University Karachi VC Syed Irfan Hyder, former COMSATS rector Dr. Syed Junaid Zaidi, Dr. Masood Mehmood Khan of Curtin University Australia, Dr. Shahida Wizarat of College of Economics and Social Development Karachi, Prof Jaleel Aali of F.G. Sir Syed College, Dr. Naveed Butt of Federal Government Services Hospital and Dr. Noreen Sahar of the International Islamic University Islamabad.

Stressing the importance of intellectual and policy-level unpacking of important national challenges, the speakers said poor governance was the source of national concerns. They said overemphasising immediate fixes at the expense of addressing deeply embedded governance challenges through long-term solutions is problematic.

The speakers said as problems couldn't be addressed in isolation, systematic and sustained actions were required with immediate as well as short-term and long-term solutions to reform governance. The speakers called for comprehensive education reforms to build a solid foundation for the nation’s future and said mandatory IT, technological, and vocational education, focusing on character development and moral values was the practical solution as the quality of graduates directly impacted the nation’s resilience, ability to address challenges, and leadership quality.

Lamenting the current education system’s negative impact on youth’s research and innovation potential, they said young people must be empowered as the drivers of potential change. The speakers also underscored that the country must counter external forces ready to exploit it by pushing national emotions and solution-oriented actions in the contemporary battle of narratives. They, however, said Pakistan must first deal with increasing internal polarisation, violation of laws and the Constitution, internal disparities, corruption, and prioritisation of personal interests over national ones at policy and leadership levels.