KARACHI -  Discriminatory development is the main barrier to development in Karachi and rest of the province.

This was observed at a youth dialogue on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Surjani Town, West Karachi on Friday. The Sindh Community Foundation and Visionary Foundation hosted the dialogue in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The dialogue was aimed at understanding the youth perspective on development paradigm of Pakistan. Dynamic and eager participants in the youth dialogue said that Karachi, which was known as the backbone of country’s economy, was a victim of discriminatory development.

The dialogue, which was dominated by female participants, said that the ruling elite residing in Clifton and Defence localities of the city must see the other side of Karachi that was hit hard by shortage of safe drinking water and absence of health facilities, public transport and power supply.

The youth was worried about the increasing population of the city, unplanned infrastructure, shrinking space for women in jobs and education and zero understanding of climate change. They said that this situation caused a huge damage to both people and the environment of Karachi.

The youth was of the view that sustainable development goals would remain a dream without social justice system, rule of law and proper institutional protection.

They demanded that residents of Karachi should be treated as “citizens” and their civic problem should be addressed on a priority basis instead of dividing them on the basis of their ethnic identities. The girls participating in the dialogue asked, “If this is the situation in the Karachi city, then what will be the condition of girls in the rural areas where human development indicators are almost absent due to feudalism?”

Before a heated debate on the Social Development Goals, Zulfiqar Halepoto, social activist and writer, and Javed Soz of the Sindh Community Foundation, explained the SDGs and development framework of Sindh to the participants.