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Sustainable economy linked to quality of civil liberties


May 3, 2019

LAHORE: A research study “Defining National Interest in Human Development” was launched here on Thursday. Speakers at the launching ceremony highlighted co-relation between the rights organisations and the economic and human wellbeing of the country.

Peter Jacob, executive director of a social centre, said that a prosperous and truly sustainable economy is dependent on the quality of civil liberties available in any country therefore Pakistanis’ human development and national interest is interlinked. He urged the government to make efforts to increase democratic space for civil society, and honour the UN Human Rights Council’s resolution passed on 21 March 2013 that affirms the right of human rights defenders to access funding from foreign countries and ensure that no law should criminalize or delegitimize activities in defense of human rights on account of the origin of funding.

Dr Qais Aslam, economist, co-author of the research study, said that the study incorporating the legal and technical analysis of policy, analysis of socio-political context, economic fallout, and the way forward; identifies that the stringent regulation policy for INGOs will gravely affect international relations, dissuade international community (donors & civil society) from providing support to human development, and increase unemployment, while the foreign investments will become tougher in the face of lack of protection for civil liberties.

The coordinator of human rights organisation, Tanveer Jahan, said that restrictions on organisations and their funding can be imposed, however conscience of human rights defenders would always motivate them to speak out against injustice or discrimination.

A human rights defender, Bushra Khaliq, said that a vibrant civil society plays crucial role in institutionalisation of good governance and inclusive democracy. It is sad that civil space is shrinking in Pakistan for those who are meant to peacefully stand up for protection of citizen’s interests and rights. Human rights defender, Muhammad Tehseen, said that the policy for NGOs has affected more than 34 million Pakistanis who were being served with humanitarian and development assistance, while this policy has contributed to unemployment and intimidation among Pakistanis associated with social development sector.

Professor of economics, Dr Ghulam Saghir, stated that while Pakistan’s remittances have declined and external debt increased and the government is also struggling to cope with economic challenges. The Government is keen to promote tourism and attract foreign investment, which is why the government should show that at least foreign assistance by donors can find accommodation.

Peace conference: Punjab Minister for Social Welfare & Bait-ul-Maal Muhammad Ajmal Cheema has said: “We will have to lead our people towards the path of progress to enlighten the name of Pakistan in the world.”

The minister was addressing a peace conference held in connection with Ramazan here on Thursday. Speaking to the participants of the peace conference, the minister said: “We all have to struggle to make Pakistan a peaceful country.”

We are ready to give sacrifice for our country. We will have to end inter-religion hatred to curb terrorism, he added. At the end of the conferences honourary shields were presented to the distinguished guests.

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