KARACHI - Sindh Madressatul Islam University (SMIU) at its proposed site of Malir campus is going to launch this year an institute for educational and vocational training for under-privileged population of nearby villages facing poverty and backwardness.

SMIU Vice Chancellor Dr Muhammad Ali Shaikh disclosed this while speaking as guest of honour at a seminar on “Corporate social responsibility policy and national socio-economic agenda” organised by National Forum for Environment and Health (NFEH) on Wednesday.

The SMIU VC informed audience of the seminar that the proposed institute would be established by April this year at the proposed site of Malir campus at Education City project off M-9 section of Motorway between Karachi and Hyderabad.

He said that proposed institute having special focus on vocational training of impoverished women of the area would be established much before the Malir Campus of Sindh Madressa University would start functioning at the site of Education City.

Dr Shaikh lamented the situation that several leading private and public sector educational institutions had land reserved in Education City project to establish campuses there but they never thought to come up with any plan for socio-economic uplift and advancement of under-privileged local communities living in nearby villages. He said that SMIU being a socially responsible university would set a good precedent for all such academic institutions, which were aiming to launch their ventures at the proposed site of Education City of Karachi.

Earlier speaking as key note speaker of the moot, former federal minister and noted 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 the society. 

He said that 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 socio-economic issues that should be resolved on an urgent basis.

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

He said that up to 30 per cent of Pakistani 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 as with such dismal ratio of due collection the state could not perform its basic socio-economic obligations.  He said that there were just 3,000 centre 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.

Former Federal Information minister said that contraceptive prevalence in Pakistani society was just 35 per cent, which was the lowest among the Muslim nations. He said that there should be some institutional mechanism evolved to initiate dialogue between civil society organizations and traders’ bodies to come up with a joint strategy to resolve socio-economic problems of the country.

He said that chambers of commerce and industry and associations of businessmen and industrialists should start interaction with the concerned civil society organizations to jointly tackle social issues hampering development of the country.

He said that in such a manner the corporate and industrial organizations would be able to fulfill their social obligations in the most suitable manner while making their contributions as responsible members of the society. Member of Sindh Assembly and former senior bureaucrat Mehtab Akbar Rashdi said that corporate and industrial organizations being socially responsible entities should provide services and produce goods with good ethical standards without deceiving or cheating their consumers.

She lamented that 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.

Zehra Mehdi, Mervyn Lobo, CEO of Marie Adelaide Leprosy Centre; Usama Quresh, MD of Hamdard Laboratories, NFEH President Naeem Qureshi, President CSR Club of Pakistan Anis Younus also spoke on the occasion.