KARACHI: One of the main reasons for the flood situation that occurred in the country after the record rainfall was that the past and the current government did not work seriously on the infrastructure and the needs of the masses but did used their remedies to entertain their favorite -ones, veteran economist and former provincial councilor Dr Kaiser Bengali claimed here Monday during a seminar on “the effects of climate change on water scarcity and food insecurity in the Sindh and Balochistan: A Way Forward”, which was organized by the Department of Economics, University of Karachi at the Arts Auditorium.
The water pipeline project which was supposed to provide water supply for the metropolis has been deliberately moved to Bahira Town Karachi (BTK) and now Malir highway is being constructed to ease the way to BTK, a he added.
If developments are carried out on grounds to facilitate the favorites then this country will never move in the right direction. Governments are busy making everything possible for their blue eyed people or organizations and on the other hand people are suffering from natural disasters.
KU Vice Chancellor Professor Dr Khalid Mahmood Iraqi KU Registrar and Professor of Economics Dr Abdul Waheed Dean of Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Professor Dr Nusrat Idris Chair of Department of Economics Dr Noreen Mujahid, Dean of Architecture and Planning NED University Professor Dr Noman Ahmed, DG Pakistan Agriculture Research Council South Region Dr Zakir Hussain Dehri, Chairman Hisaar Foundation and Fellow Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund Simi Kamal, Founder and CEO Clifton Urban Forest Masood Lohar, Senior Vice President Korangi Trade Association Maheen Salman, President and IWA-YWP Co-Founder Anique Azam and others were present on this occasion.
He claimed that it was our tragedy that representatives of foreign institutions were imported from other countries to lead the country. He said that after 2000 we saw people come from the IMF, the World Bank and the ADB to run the affairs of the country and after 1993 three Governors of the State Bank came for 16 years, all were representatives of foreign institutions, but we did not raise any voice against it, the consequences of which we suffer until today.
He added that the state of our economic policies is that we have reduced import duties and increased domestic taxes, import duties on raw materials should be low, and the finished product should be high so that raw materials can be made in factories and job opportunities will be available.
But that’s not the case, we don’t have duty on books here because of UNESCO protocol but there is a very high duty on importing paper.
Kaiser Bengali shared that industries in Pakistan are deliberately ignored and when you don’t have industries, you won’t get job opportunities. One of the biggest problems is that we don’t speak up for our rights, we don’t protest and we have to speak up for our rights.
Meanwhile, KU VC Professor Dr Khalid Mahmood Iraqi said more than 33 million people have been affected by the recent devastating floods and around eight million people have been displaced.
He shared that around 67% of the land area of Sindh and Baluchistan was affected and around eight million hectares of the cultivated area were completely wiped out along with road and rail networks. The overall losses amount to more than 3 billion US dollars.
KU Vice-Chancellor Prof. Dr. Khalid Iraqi mentioned that the newly evolved climate stress has created financial implications, new risks and uncertainties for businesses, governments, financial institutions and individuals. The question arises as to what steps can be taken to best manage the results of calamities on an immediate basis.
He indicated that there is a direct link between the consumption of fossil fuels in the developed world and the vagaries of the weather in underdeveloped countries. Underdeveloped countries are paying the price for the economic well-being of the developed world, which is unfortunate for us because Pakistan is already included and ranked fourth in the Global Climate Vulnerability Index.
Another speaker, Dr Zakir Hussain Dehri of DG Pakistan Agriculture Research Council South Region, said that although Pakistan contributes 0.9% to global greenhouse gas emissions, it is among the top 10 most affected countries. and is highly vulnerable to climate change as Pakistan is an agricultural country and the impact of climate change on agriculture and natural resources is enormous.
Meanwhile, Clifton Urban Forest founding CEO Masood Lohar said we should try to improve the ecosystem by planting native plants. He mentioned that about 10% of Pakistani population lives in Karachi, which is the economic center of Pakistan, but the infrastructure of the megalopolis is not in good condition.
He stressed that our younger generation should educate people about climate change and take action to avoid its effects. Dean of Architecture and Planning, Professor at NED University, Dr Noman Ahmed, said the recent floods are more destructive than those of 2010 and we need to improve drainage and infrastructure to avoid future floods in the country.
According to him, the lack of local government structure in the country also contributes to our problems. He mentioned that the presence of proper local government could have helped a lot to avoid these disasters.
Meanwhile, Senior Vice President KATI, Hisaar Foundation President Simi Kamal and IWA-YWP President and Co-Founder Anique Azam highlighted climate change and its impact on water scarcity and insecurity. food, as well as the main problems and challenges related to climate change.
They also mentioned gaps in environmental policy and governance in Sindh and Balochistan, as well as opportunities for collaborative governance in Sindh.
Speakers advised on adopting nature-based solutions for climate stress, flooded and drought-prone areas in Sindh and Balochistan, and how to improve water governance in Sindh and Balochistan.