KARACHI - The arts and ideas festival organised by the Sindh Madressatul Islam University (SMIU) concluded on Sunday after four eventful days which included international lectures given by foreign scholars, distinguished lectures by national experts and several other activities in which faculty and students both enthusiastically participated.

Dr Muhammad Ali Shaikh, Vice Chancellor of the SMIU, said on the occasion that the key purpose of the festival was to familiarise the youth with new ideas that could help them succeed in their future life.

He stated that the festival was organised in connection with the 70th anniversary of Pakistan’s independence and the new generation would have to play their positive role to make the country a modern nation in the world. A report about the details of the events held during the four days of the festival was also presented. Before the conclusion of the festival some interesting and thought-provoking sessions were held, of which development of Karachi as a mega city was on the top. Eminent development experts Arif Hasan and Yasmin Lari took part in the session. Arif said that a comprehensive planning was highly needed to develop the metropolitan city. Besides, he added, the citizens of Karachi should come forward and own the city.

He was of the view that there was no master plan offered by the Karachi Development Authority.

He asked universities and students to play their role for betterment of the city. Ms Lari said that every citizen should play one’s part to make Karachi a clean and better city. She also called for eradication of ‘mafias’ to improve the public transport system.

Delivering the distinguished lecture, Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui, federal secretary for planning and development and former commissioner of Karachi, said administrative accountability was needed more than the financial accountability.

He was of the view that unless administrative accountability is not begun, the country cannot progress in real terms.

He said the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was extremely important project for the country because construction of roads was very foundation of a country’s development.

‘Through this project Pakistan will be linked with other countries of the world, and it would fetch wealth in terms of increased exports. The CPEC will help increase the country’s GDP by 23 per cent, he said.

He dispelled the impression that more Chinese than Pakistanis were employed with the CPEC projects.

Dr Weimin Delcroix-Tang, a professor with University of Sanya, Hainan, China, presented her essay on the double-sidedness of the oceanic culture of China’s tropical island Hainan.

She said located in between the South China Sea, the eastern and western, marine and continental, indigenous and Hakka cultures met and interacted.

In a session on women and gender issues in Pakistan, Mrs.  Shaista Muhammad Ali, honorary advisor on cultural and gender affairs, SMIU, Mehnaz Rehman of Aurat Foundation and scholar Khalida Ghous spoke.

They called upon mothers to keep their children away from being affected with gender discrimination. They said anti-harassment law helped keeping safe both women and men. They called upon the government to effectively implement the pro-women laws.

Ms Naheed Memon, chairperson, Sindh Board of Investment, advised the youth to start their own businesses instead of waiting for jobs.

She said expertise was more important for starting a business than the wealth.

Dr Sahar Ansari, poet and educationist, spoke on the creative and philosophical aspects of Dewan-i-Ghalib, Quratulain Hyder’s Aag ka Darya, and Ashfaq Ahmed’s Zaviya.