Parliament to host first-ever National Parliamentary Conference on Population soon: Marriyum

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ISLAMABAD, Nov 3 (APP):Minister of State for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage Marriyum Aurangzeb on Friday said that the Parliament will host first-ever “National Parliamentary Conference on Population and Fundamental Rights” in the coming few weeks for deliberation and future planning on the challenges related to population issues in the backdrop of recently held census.
The minister who is also Chairperson of Parliamentary Task Force on SDGs,said this while addressing the concluding session of two-day national knowledge sharing roundtable on sustainable development goals.
The minister said that parliament will have a key role in this
conference and its agenda would be finalized in consultation with all stakeholders.
The minister said that there was need to start a national
discourse on this all important issue and this conference would prove
a harbinger in this regard. Marriyum Aurangzeb said that the provinces and the task forces
on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) would play key role in the
proposed conference. She said that special sessions would be held on
provinces and other federating units in which they would be free to
prepare agenda for the conference and the federation would fully
cooperate with them in this regard.
The recommendations of the conference will prove useful in
preparing future policies, as increase in population not only has
impact on social sector planning of the government but also can affect the
implementation of targets of SDGs.
She said that population boom has its impact on various sectors
including planning and development, health, education, eco-system, urban
development etc. She said that Pakistan’s urban population was
increasing rapidly with no urbanization policy has been adopted so far.
The minister said that the conference will deliberate as to how
the Parliament can play effective role in facing the challenges of
population related matters. The minister said that religious parties in the parliament would
also be invited in the conference to harness the effort and to utilize the services of the
religious scholars in population related matters.
Marriyum said that during past several years no authentic data
on population was available, so all planning was done on assumptions.
Now that figures of recently held census have arrived, it is high time
for soul searching and future planning, she said.
The minister said that Speaker Ayaz Sadiq, who had taken the initiative for holding a
parliamentary conference on population would chair the conference as it had the representation of all
schools of thought and all parts of the country. This will be the first but not the last conference on the issue
as it would be followed by many other moots on population,she remarked.
On the issue of realization of Sustainable Development Goals
(SDGs),the minister said that collective efforts were being
made at federal and provincial levels to achieve the targets.
She called for use of modern technology for improving contacts
with the provinces for realization of Sustainable Development Goals.
The round-table was attended by Speaker Balochistan Assembly
Rahila Durrani,Speaker Gilgit-Baltistan Assembly Fida Muhammad Nashad
and members of provincial assemblies from Punjab, Khyber
Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir.
The minister said that in the past there was hardly a mention of
the problems related to SDGs in the speeches of the members of the
National Assembly. However,during the last two years, the members of
Parliament had been touching the health and eduction issues in their
budgetary speeches and the credit goes to the SDGs Secretariat, she remarked.
She said that on the initiative of Speaker National Assembly
Sardar Ayaz Sadiq Pakistan became the first country to have a
full-fledged parliamentary secretariat and task forces both in
federal and provincial legislatures. She said that holding census
was indeed a landmark achievement of the present government as during
the past 22 years accurate data was not available.
Marriyum Aurangzeb said that steps were being taken for
improvement in health and education sector and the members of the
parliament should play their role in that connection.
The minister announced that Pakistan Television would soon
launch a dedicated channel for coverage of the Parliament and
provincial assemblies which would help in increasing awareness about the
activities and performance of the elected legislatures.
The minister announced that the PTV channel would cover the
proceedings of the Senate, National Assembly, their standing committees
and the activities of Pakistan Institute of Parliamentary Studies. It
will also cover proceedings of provincial assemblies with their
permission,she added.
She reminded that when the task force was established it had
only 12 members but now its strength had increased to 45 as more and more
MNAs wanted to become its part.
The minister said that targets of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
could not be achieved as elected government was overthrown and the
dictatorial ruler changed the priorities set by the democratic regime.
She said another factor behind failure to achieve MDGs was the
fact that the United Nations itself set the goals without taking input
from various countries and it could not fulfill its pledge for
financial assistance.
Moreover,she said that 2005 earthquake also badly
affected the progress on MDGs as financial resources had to be
diverted to relief and rehabilitation activities.
The minister said that there was need for enhanced parliamentary
oversight and monitoring of the ongoing projects related to SDGs.
Marriyum said that it was praise worthy that the SDGs Task Force
which has representation from all parties was above politics and
playing its due role. She appreciated the role of Balochistan Assembly
Speaker for realization of SDGs targets in Balochistan and added that
other provinces were also showing good performance which could be
further improved with better coordination.
She said that the SDGs secretariat would soon launch its website
having pages of the provinces as well to highlight their activities
and performance. Moreover a quarterly magazine Dev-Watch would also be
launched to highlight achievements in SDGs sector.
Speaker Balochistan Assembly Rahila Durrani said that in
Balochistan the Provincial Task Force on SDGs was playing its role of
a watchdog on the ongoing projects related to SDGs. She said that in
the 65 member provincial assembly the SDG task force had 20-member
strength who were trained about the objectives of the SDGs.
Speaker GB Assembly Fida Muhammad Nashad said that a five-member
SDG Task Force was active there. He said that in the GB, focus was on
the education and health sector and it was planned to have a high
school in every union council.
Punjab SDGs Task Force convener Uzma Bukhari said that the
provincial task force has been playing its role of oversight very
effectively. She suggested that the PTV should hold debates and programmes
for creation of awareness on the SDGs related matters.
Earlier Executive Director PIPS, Zafarullah Khan said that
development and progress of the country was linked with parliamentary
debates and legislation.