KARACHI: Speakers at a consultation meeting on Wednesday called for making it mandatory for government officials to send their children to government-run schools to maintain the merit and quality of education. They realized that since government officials enrol their children in private schools, it causes destruction of government schools, which cannot maintain quality and produce better students to compete in job market.
The consultation meeting with civil society Sindh on ‘International Commitments and State Obligations on Citizen’s Rights’, was organized by Strengthening Participatory Organisation (SPO) at local hotel. They pointed out that almost all political parties have neglected womenfolk to encourage them in contesting local bodies elections in Sindh province. That is why hardly a small number of women might have been elected in LB polls.
The programme aimed to get input from the civil society members to convince the provincial government to design and implement the policies at all levels to benefit the communities and rural workforce in the context of the economic, social and cultural rights, as per guidelines of International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) as rectified the government of Pakistan in 2008.
After 18th Amendment, all the provinces are bound to devise the policies in the light of the treatises and conventions ratified by the federation of Pakistan.
Mustafa Baloch, SPO Regional Head Hyderabad, sharing his recent survey findings said despite tall claims by the government, the poverty is increasing in rural areas. According to him, he said he saw in one district, 11 villages out of 12 do not have safe drinking water and people are crying against this discrimination.
He said class division in education is violating the merit. He said in this connections, local parliamentarians themselves are involved in keeping poor and deserving students back in foreign scholarships. He said usually scholarships go to those children who belong to rich families and poor children do not have access to such facilities.
Talking about the increasing extremism in Sindh, Baloch said it is organized effort to promote hatreds at the land of sufis and peaceful people. He gave examples in which how certain people have replaced the names of once philanthropists from historic buildings, hospitals, schools and roads. Despite the fact they contributed a lot for peace and education promoting in these areas.
Dr Sono Khangharani said that political rights should be given proper status and all segments of society, including women and minority should have right to contest elections and entertain the other rights, guaranteed by the constitution.
Ayoub Shan, representing Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF) talked about the fishermen, who contribute more to national exchequer but they are not recognized as worker. He said in case of boat accident inside the sea, there is no provision of compensation to victims’ families. This should be mentioned in recommendations.
Shafiq Kandhro working for street children in Karachi said these poor children are vulnerable and they do not have access to any institution, even NADRA is reluctant to give registration to them.
Raheema Panhwar of SPO Karachi introduced recommendations on Economic, Social and Cultural rights (ICESCR), which she claims to have collected through different meetings and seminars, related to the themes, earlier. The recommendations regarding areas, include minimum wages, gender gap in employment, exploitation of women cotton pickers, culture and heritage.
She quoted the 18th Amendment and subsequent devolution, saying the provinces should make relevant legislation to recognise the rights of workers in their respective jurisdiction.
Ellahi Bakhsh, SPO Regional Head Karachi, said civil society should give suggestions to design set of recommendations on protecting economic, social and cultural rights without any discrimination. He said housing, employment, ensuring food and other rights come under the responsibility of the government.
He gave examples of the world, where cities are peaceful because the government system there respect the rights of all languages and treating citizens equally in terms of education, health cover and employment.