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Citizen Voices Education

Pakistan reached 5.8pc GDP growth with 5.06 million girls out of school in Punjab. Where is it being spent?

In Pakistan, for certain unknown reasons, longevity and early death are often seen as matters of fate and divine intervention. But some recent advancements in developed countries tell another story. By using scientific methods and better services for health, education – which advocates using scientific methods – clean drinking water, sanitation and doing away with structural violence, the life expectancies in these countries have been to great extent increased as compared to life expectancy in the so-called third world.

Services for voters is still a distant dream

Pakistan too is facing plethora of social and economic issues that is widening the gap between the state and its citizens. Inadequate turnover of voters could have remained stagnant in upcoming general elections due to feeble access of citizens to basic and fundamental services. Having more support of voters in the assembly and providing services to voters is still a distant dream for the citizens who are playing critical role in ameliorating democracy.

Manifesto in Pakistan is just passion of a political party to look different

Political manifestos are rigorous reflection of citizen’s agenda which no political or even military regimes would be able to materialize. Economy and social development does not nurture unless citizens have access to quality education and health services and similarly the political manifestos are not just narration of commitments, rather passion of a political party to look different and attract common citizens or voters to foresee trajectory of transformation.

Having 5.06 million girls out of school in Punjab province is a bleak picture of political commitment on gender justice

This is encouraging to see the rise of the country amid enormous shocks but a recently launched report by UNICEF on out of school girls in Punjab seems lack of investment on women who have played phenomenal role in reinvigorating democracy like Benazir Bhutto, Asma Jahangir and other champions in promoting arts and culture. Having 5.06 million girls out of school in Punjab province is a bleak picture of political commitment on gender justice which may not have any alternate economic model or foreign investment to bring them back to school than collective actions by political parties to claim better gender parity within education and showcase investment on voters instead of infrastructure that may not deem necessary or mobilizing people to collect donations across the globe to pour unprecedented amount of money on fancy “Jalsa”.

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Structural violence is what we need to be concerned about

We have evidence on social issues of the citizens and wondering how this reliable data reflects in setting the course of action of political parties. Victory in general elections or influencing the system to create political turmoil is not a win whereas adequate investment on people to collect development dividends for peaceful society is epitome of the real success of any political party in the country which eliminates the shrouded environment of violence. As the story goes, the peace psychologists in the post-Cold War era remained concerned about the problem of violence but they, at the same time, were broadening the compass of their concerns and including the treacherous problem of structural violence, which occurs when basic human rights and needs are not met and, consequently, life spans are shortened. In the light of several writings of Johan Gultung, we can safely say that undermining citizens’ agenda in development, gives birth to structural violence or indirect violence.

Structural violence goes unnoticed because it isn’t out of ordinary. It becomes our truth

To understand the lethal effects of undermining citizens’ agenda in development, as a form of indirect violence, we can see that direct violence refers to physical violence that harms and kills people quickly, it produces somatic trauma or, in   some cases, total incapacitation. In contrast, indirect violence kills indirectly and slowly, curtails life spans by depriving people of material and non-material resources. In our society, direct violence is noticed and censored only because it is dramatic and personal. On the other hand, indirect violence or undermining citizens’ agenda in development, remains unnoticed because it is commonplace in our country and impersonal. Here only direct violence is detected because it may involve an acute insult to the physical well-being of an individual or group but, conversely, indirect violence stays out of common sight because it is a chronic threat to well-being. Direct violence occurs intermittently, as discrete events, while structural violence is ongoing and continuous. In direct violence, the subject-action-object relationships are readily observable while political and economic structures of violence are not directly observable, though their deadly results, which are delayed and diffuse, are apparent in disproportionately high rates of infant and maternal mortality in various pockets of the world.

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Civil, political rights with effective public services must for commoners

We can buttress our arguments by breaking the above down with certain milestones of development, namely, respect for human rights, clean environments, safe drinking water, better education facilities and helping women meet their basic needs through people-centered development initiative. Our steps towards this end can be indispensable fundamentals to help people rise above the poverty line. This help is only possible with citizens’ agenda in mind. Therefore, governments need to play their due roles to ensure respect for fundamental civil and political rights, but also through guaranteeing strong and effective public services accessible to all, which are vital to the enjoyment of the rights to health, education, and water.

All the GDP growth is pointless if resources not spent on people

We know that Pakistan has made great progress particularly in scaling up gross domestic product in short period of four years but they still lack the material resources, capacity and aptitude, or the flavor to act with human centric approach. In this situation, citizens may not have choice to effectively contribute into electoral process due to lack of interest and opt non-democratic solutions which has never proved sustainable. Pakistan requires political reforms which is beyond structural but people-centered and offer safe spaces to protect its women and the marginalized around the core ambit of human values and dignity instead of coming up with political manifestos and 11 points after every five years.

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