ANKARA, 9 September 2011: Recognizing the sacrifices made by Pakistan in the global fight to the menace of terrorism and extremism, the Friends of Democratic Pakistan (FoDP) at the conclusion of a two workshop at Ankara pledged to work hand in hand with the Government of Pakistan for building institutional capacity and strengthening strategic partnerships with various institutions of Pakistan that will put Pakistan on the trajectory of development.
The working sessions of the workshop were co-chaired by Pakistan (represented by Senator Sughra Imam) with UN Special Representative for Assistance to Pakistan, and Turkey. Mr. Arif Allauddin, Chief Executive Officer of Alternate Energy Development Board (AEDB) focused his energy sector presentation on the need to provide energy to 60 million Pakistanis who do not have access to power and 135 million that are slipping down the ladder for their heating and cooking needs. He said the best alternative to bridge the growing gap between supply and demand in electricity is to invest in alternate energy sources such as wind and solar. He shared with participants that there is 346,000 MW potential wind energy in Pakistan while 2.9 Million MW could be produced through tapping solar energy. AEDB act as ONE WINDOW for assistance to all investors, service providers, importers and manufacturers. Mr. Arif updated the participants that in the wind energy sector and informed that 31 private projects are at various stages of development while a 6 MW project of a Turkish company is operational. “The Government of Pakistan has set a target of generating 1500 MW through wind energy by 2013 while financial close for 300 MW is expected in 2011,” said Mr. Arif. Similarly, in the solar energy sector, 5 projects of 114 MW have been initiated in the private sector and over 8000 homes in 80 villages have been electrified. AEDB Chief said solar energy sector offers best opportunities for investment and informed that accumulated annual growth in sales (2008-2010) for Photovoltaics was 300% and Solar Water Heaters 200%. He also shared data of potential small hydropower projects that are cost effective and environment friendly.
Dr. Javed Laghari, Chairman, Higher Education Commission gave an overview of the higher education sector. He said only 7% of the eligible age group have access to higher education, while there is great scope for partners to focus on the left-over 93% eligible people who are a great market, he added. He informed that with improvement in access and quality, five Pakistani universities are now internationally ranked among top 500 universities of the world by QS World University Rankings.
Chairman National Agricultural Research Council Dr. Iftikhar Ahmed in his briefing on agriculture sector enlightened participants about potential of agriculture sector to be an engine of growth. Pakistan’s agriculture sector employs 45% of labour force and contributes to about 21.5% of GDP. Enhancing institutional linkages programme would not only benefit Pakistan but also bring dividends for partner institutions from other countries. He cited ‘green revolution’ which was piloted in Pakistan but brought dividends for the entire world. Dr. Iftikhar said sub-sectors of crops, livestock, fisheries, irrigation and agricultural marketing need support from international community.
The discussion on security, moderated by Syed Shabbir Ahmad, Commandant of National Police Academy, focused on strengthening the capacity of law enforcement agencies. He gave an overview of the training institutions for LEAs. He informed that Pakistan has lost 30,000 persons in war on terror. This is in addition to the loss of lives of over 5000 law enforcement personnel. Economic impact for Pakistan is US $68 billion, he added.
Director General of National Vocational & Technical Education Commission Mr. Tariq Sharif Chak in his briefing said Pakistan is working to increase the capacity of technical and vocational training institutions from existing 315,000 to 950,000 persons as envisioned in its Medium Term Development Framework (MTDF 2008-2013). Challenge for Pakistan and development partners is to train the 37 million youth (aged 18-24) to ensure their employability and economic growth thus securing a bright future for their families and the country. “This huge reservoir could be a dividend for us and partners around the world, provided we ensure their proper technical training and job security,” emphasized Mr. Chak.
While reacting to a presentation made by Dr. Sikandar Hayat, Dean, National School of Public policy, participants agreed to strengthen the capacity of civil service of Pakistan that will help in better delivery of services shall also ensure the rule of law.
Senator Sughra Imam moderated the session on democracy while Member Parliament, Turkish Grant National Assembly Mr. Burhan Kayaturk and Member National Assembly Mr. Noor Alam Khan deliberated on the inclusion, government accountability, empowerment and involvement of citizens and fair representation especially women. They invited FoDP members’ partnership with relevant institutions of Pakistan.