KARACHI: Pakistan failed to achieve Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) pertaining to education, health, environment and employment. The only target achieved was induction of women in assemblies, said Sindh Assembly lawmaker Mehtab Akbar Rashdi.
Rashdi was speaking at an event, titled ‘Taking Sustainable Development Goals to the Field: Follow-up Field Staff’s Retreat Voices from the Field on Equity and Inclusion’, on Thursday. The event was organised by Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund.
Pakistan has remained way behind in achieving all the eight MDGs due to government’s apathy, said Indus Resource Centre executive director Sadiqa Salahuddin. We should address the reasons for not being able to achieve these goals, she pointed out.
Pakistan ranked 144 out of 145 countries in the Global Gender Gap Report for two years consecutively. The country has the resources but unfortunately we lack resource management, she added.
“The real empowerment is when a woman starts earning money and at the same time manages that money,” said Orangi Pilot Project director Anwar Rashid while addressing the social mobilisers.
Providing women with skills is the real empowerment, said Rashdi. It allows women to contribute to the economy, she claimed.
“Projects such as the Benazir Income Support Programme never empower people and hence, I have remained its biggest critic,” said Rashdi. The empowerment programmes should engage women rather than giving them a certain amount, she claimed. “Until the women are not involved in policy making, we won’t be able to empower our women.”
Women possess the potential but they face leadership barriers, claimed Salahuddin. “Without education you can go up to some extent but not beyond that.” She appreciated the efforts of Sindh Assembly for passing progressive laws but criticised it for not being able to implement them.
“A lot has to be done in Pakistan regarding sexual and reproductive health of women,” said Renuka Swami from United Nations Population Fund.
Reproductive health is a human right. Healthy mothers are the backbone of any country, she claimed. “Giving birth to a child is not by chance, it’s by will,” she said, adding that child spacing is also crucial for reproductive health.