It’s a good practice on the part of Urdu and English dailies to hold seminars on certain crucial national issues, involving the participation of distinguished luminaries with a rich background in the related subjects. It is primarily meant to debate the issues rather objectively to build healthy public opinion. There are heated discussions supported by reasons and arguments that go a long way in evolving general consensus on the national issues. The consensus could turn out to be above the perceptions of the government.
Quite recently, an Urdu daily held a seminar on the imperatives of national security in relation to India’s carrying out a successful test of Prithvi missile. Distinguished personages like Dr. Shireen Mazari, Abdus Sattar, Gen. (Retd.) K.M. Arif, Senator Shafqat Mahmud, Agha Shalli (his message was only read out in the seminar) took part in the discussions.
Both India and Pakistan should desist from spending huge amount of money on defence. “Either both the countries reduce their defence budgets or will be destroyed due to a nuclear conflict and that will be the (great change)’’. There is no denying the fact that both India and Pakistan are engaged in the purchase of arms in the foreign markets spend about $20 billion every year. Both belong to the category of developing countries, suffering from the scars of poverty, needing high levels of saving and investment to increase the growth rate. Low saving low investment economies can be jerked out of the vicious circle of poverty if capital deficiency were removed. That evidently reinforce the need for making more real resources available for accelerating real economic development. There could be no two opinions about the fact that both the countries should reduce their defence expenditure and divert the resources to the development of the hitherto neglected sectors like education, health, housing, etc. The latter have starved’ because of scarcity of resources. The planners in view of scarcity of resources in both the countries are forced to allocate large chunks of resources to physical-cum-productive sectors to achieve specific targets during a running development plan. In the process of allocation, the aforesaid social sectors receive only a meagre share, with the result, they fail to make a proper headway.