First Round Table - "The Silver Lining - Beyond Prevalent Perceptions"

First Round Table: "The Silver Lining-Beyond Prevalent Perceptions"

Karachi, 20th November 2017: The Centre for Peace, Security and Developmental Studies (CPSD) hosted a roundtable discussion on "The Silver Lining-Beyond Prevalent Perceptions" as the first of three roundtables to be held on the topic. The proceedings included one presentation and were chaired by Justice Sarmad Jalal Osmany. Participants at the event included members of the academia, experts and policy practitioners.

In his opening remarks Lt Gen Agha Muhammad Umer Farooq (Retd) highlighted that the emerging opportunities in the specific context of CPEC. He stressed that the path of development of Gwadar passed through Karachi. He focused on the misconceptions about CPEC and underscored the fact that there was not much factual discussion on CPEC despite its importance.

In order to remedy the prevalent weaknesses in Pakistan's academic think thank circles, the CPSD had been launched with a nontraditional approach equipped with an added focus on the grassroots.

Justice Sarmad Jalal Osmany stated that there was a need for reform in the justice system. He opined that a restructuring of the judicial system should take place with a robust financial system. He stressed on the importance of pressure groups as a means to regulate social justice in society. The lack of such groups had been detrimental for the courts as they had been delegated the responsibility of regulating mundane issues such as oil prices without consent.

The first speaker was renowned economist, Dr Muzaffar A Isani who discussed “Reintegrating Ethno-Social Divide through Wheel of Economy and Opportunities". He explored the dynamics of Karachi, the basic conflict that is rooted in society and the threat of a massive unemployment occurring in rural areas within the next decade.

The second speaker was also Rear Admiral (Retd) Pervaiz Ashghar. He spoke on the topic of Reinvigorating Karachi's Socio Economic Dynamism. He first elaborated on the topic by discussing the demographic history of Karachi and its consequences. He emphasized the fact that Karachi had no shortage of skilled labor and that was an asset in itself that could end several of Karachi's problems. He lamented the fact that the political leadership had failed in giving Karachi its rightful place in history.

The third Speaker Col Maqbool Afridi (Retd) elaborated on the hidden potential of Gwadar. He stressed that Gwadar was unique and its potential was not being properly realized by policy circles. Gwadar would be the link between the sea and the future economic center of the world. He stated that African countries were looking towards Gwadar due to its strategic importance.

Each Speaker was followed by a twenty minutes discussion. The debate was very lively with all the participants indulging in intellectual discussion. Participants stressed on the fact that while there was much discussion on the ethnicities and sects of Karachi but there was no focus on the shared value system of the people of Karachi.

The conference ended with a note of thanks from the Chairperson who stressed that similar conferences were needed to bring forth the viewpoints of a common citizen of Karachi. Such feedback was necessary to solve the varied problems of the great metropolis of Karachi.

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