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‘Inequality, exclusion from governance fuel extremism’

“Extremist ideologies find fertile recruiting grounds in countries where there are high levels of inequality, and in which segments of the population are excluded from participation in governance and economic opportunity,” said Canadian High Commissioner in Pakistan, Perry John Calderwood.

This was observed by Calderwood during his keynote address at a three-day international conference, Towards Inclusive Governance and Efficient Institutions for Sustainable Development, which opened at the University of Karachi’s on Tuesday. The event was organised by the Applied Economics Research Centre.

Canada accepted 35,000 Syrian refugees last year and will accept a similar number of refugees this year too, the high commissioner stated. “It should be the right of every citizen of a country to participate fully in all aspects of society, including its governance structures”, he added.

Calderwood added that over 90 percent of Canadian children are educated in public schools, with the remainder either studying at independent schools or at home. He also pointed out that there are nearly 200 countries in the world and many of the world’s largest countries have never had a female leader; the countries included United States, China, Japan, France and Russia.

“Few countries which have had women leaders, including in South Asia, have tended to emerge from prominent political families.” Professor Dr Muhammad Ajmal Khan, vice chancellor of KU, while addressing the inaugural ceremony said Pakistan makes new policies and then changes them in a few years. He stressed on there being a dire need of sustainability in our policy making process.

Khan said the Sustainable Development Goals can only be achieved if we make sustainable policies, policies that remain intact despite a transfer of power from one political government to the other. He further said that the world is facing environmental issues and that, today, economists and sociologists should be made key stakeholders in the resolution of this greater challenge.

Every individual would have to play their role for these problems to be resolved, and the country would have to inculcate good governance for it to progress, the VC added. He said that accountability, rule of law, transparency and equal provision of facilities are the main features of good governance. History is rife with examples of those societies progressing wherein every citizen was provided with equal opportunities of livelihood, he stated.

AERC Director Prof Dr Samina Khalil welcomed the foreign guest speakers and diplomats in the conference. Two research papers by Ishtiaq Ahmed and Ali Azam respectively were also presented at the event.

The researchers maintained that sustainable development is not only key for future generations’ survival but is also an urgent need with respect to global warming. A market’s fundamental approach highlights the importance of governance for achieving the goal of sustainable development. Developing countries such as SAARC were also called upon to take keen interest in sustainable development, especially because their poor governance can greatly cost the humanity.

Reporter. ‘Inequality, exclusion from governance fuel extremism’. The News, October 26, 2017.

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