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KARACHI: Some 22 million children in the country have never gone to school, reflecting the dismal state of education in Pakistan, and up to 30 per cent of its population still live below the poverty line.

This was stated at a seminar on ‘Corporate social responsibility policy and national socioeconomic agenda’, organised by the National Forum for Environment and Health (NFEH) here on Wednesday.

Sindh Madressatul Islam University (SMIU) Vice Chancellor Dr Muhammad Ali Shaikh, speaking as the guest of honour at the seminar, said the SMIU at its proposed site of Malir campus was going to launch this year an institute for educational and vocational training for the residents of nearby villages, facing poverty and backwardness.

He said the institute would be established by April this year at the proposed site of Malir campus in the Education City project off the M-9 section of Motorway between Karachi and Hyderabad. He said the proposed institute having special focus on vocational training of impoverished women of the area would be established much before the Malir campus of SMIU and would start functioning at the site of Education City.

Former federal minister and media expert Javed Jabbar said that corporate entities should discharge their social obligations in the most cautious manner in order to ensure sustainable development of the less-privileged sections of society. He said people living below poverty line, out-of-school children, highly inadequate number of taxpaying citizens, and less prevalence of family planning techniques were some of the alarming socioeconomic issues that should be resolved on an urgent basis.

Mr Jabbar said that 22 million children in the country had never gone to school, which was a highly alarming situation, showing a dismal state of education in Pakistan.

He said that up to 30pc of Pakistan’s population still lived below the poverty line. He said that just 1.21 million people out of 4.2 million registered taxpayers in the country filed their annual tax returns; with such dismal ratio of due collection the state could not perform its basic socioeconomic obligations.

He said just 3,000 centres of 19,000 health units in government and public sectors provided family planning services in the country as this was the main cause behind unsatisfactory prevalence of family planning methods in Pakistan.

Member of the Sindh Assembly and former senior bureaucrat Mehtab Akbar Rashdi said that corporate and industrial organisations being socially responsible entities should provide services and produce goods with good ethical standards without deceiving or cheating their consumers.

She lamented that the Sindh government had yet to establish the long-awaited provincial Food Authority to check quality and standards of food businesses and products available across the province.

Published in Dawn, February 8th, 2018

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