KU moot calls for setting up Saarc TV channels
By Gloria Caleb
KARACHI: A three-day simulation exercise at Karachi University ended after discussing core issues being confronted by the peoples of the South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) member states.
The issues discussed by the participants in different sessions included women empowerment, poverty alleviation, law and justice, etc.
The conference was organised jointly by the University of Karachi and the Hanns Seidel Foundation.
On the last day, the participants called for the setting up of Saarc radio and TV channels for airing programmes beneficial to the member states’ populations and targeted at both in and outside the region.
The participants were of the view that this would not only create jobs but would also help sensitise people on issues needed to be addressed.
They also discussed a Saarc plan of action on information and communications technology and promotion of primary education in the region.
They agreed to promote education across the region through incentives to be offered to parents of the children from low-income groups. They proposed setting up of a Saarc education fund for the purpose.
The participants also stressed the need for eradicating gender discrimination and highlighted the importance of an exchange of ideas among education experts from the member states who, they said, should visit each other’s countries in an exercise aimed at formulating effective education policies.
The final session pertained to human rights, and selected participants playing Saarc heads of states discussed the state of human rights in their respective country. They also shared a plan of action drafted with the help of their ‘cabinets’ on how to deal with human rights issues in their country.
“Although one-fourth of the world population lives in South Asia, the region’s human rights record is poor,” observed the participant from Karachi University who acted as the head of state of Bangladesh. He noted that human rights abuse was not an isolated affair but linked to armed conflicts in the region that provided a pretext to security forces to violate human rights. He said monitoring human rights abuses in strife-torn areas was difficult.
The participants stressed the need for establishing the ‘South Asia Human Rights Commission” in each member state and strengthening such a body if already existed in a Saarc country.
At the end of the session, a joint communiquÃ© containing the demands made during the event was issued.