All-Pakistan Inter University Competition, Student speakers slate 'servility' to White House
Karachi, Sep 11: "We will not be able to progress as a nation until we stop
knocking at the doors of the White House for aid," said Hashim Makhdoom, a
student of Quaid-e-Azam Law College, Lahore who took away the first prize at an
All-Pakistan Inter University Competition "My Vision of Pakistan - My homeland"
organised by the Pakistan Women's Foundation for Peace at a local hotel on
Syed Farhan Ali Zaidi from Jamshoro University, Sindh, and Murad
Saeed from the University of Peshawar shared the second prize, while Samreen
Naqvi of SZABIST won the third prize. Students from various universities across
the country shared their views on the subject with extreme enthusiasm.
Most of them were critical in their speeches and blamed the inept
leaders who exploited the poor instead of ensuring their basic rights and used
the taxpayer's money to fill their pockets instead of bringing a system of
proper governance in the country.
They condemned the dictatorial regime
by arguing that the power to choose the leader of 160 million people "should not
be concentrated in a few hands." "From religious extremism to enlightened
moderation, from dictatorship to democracy - we have had a taste of all. We are
made scapegoats by our leaders who commit mistakes and then look up to the youth
to set things right. But we won't be able to do anything unless we are given the
chance to think and exercise our rights as equal citizens," remarked Samreen
Naqvi from SZABIST.
Syed Farhan Zaidi felt the country and its leader
had failed to follow in the footsteps of the Quaid who did not envision the
Pakistan "we are living in today." He said that a few religious extremists were
defaming the name of Pakistan in the name of religion without actually having
understood what the Quaid-e-Azam actually preached. "Why are we still fighting
in the name of religion and ethnicity? Why do we fail to realise that our Holy
Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) in whose footsteps we claim to 'follow' was a Muslim
without any suffix or prefix?" questioned another student of the Indus Valley
School of Arts and Architecture, Karachi.
"The principles of Unity,
Faith and Discipline are only inscribed in concrete on the three swords in
Clifton. In practice even we, as a nation, refuse to follow in our leader's
footsteps. Why only blame the leaders?" said Saeeda Liaquat from NED University
of Engineering and Technology. "We need trade, not aid," commented another
student who condemned the dependence on foreign aid suggesting that the
government should invest in the human resource.
Dr Shamim Zainuddin,
Director of the Orangi Pilot Project on Health, Mazhar-ul-Haq Siddiqui, Vice
Chancellor University of Sindh and Shaista Zaidi, President Bazme Aamna, were
among the judges. Syed Muzaffar Hussain Shah, speaker of the Sindh Assembly who
presided over the occasion pointed the shortcomings of the speakers who he felt
did not speak about their vision of Pakistan but were instead "overly critical
of the country and its problems."
Endorsing Shah's views, former
Ambassador Mehdi Masood in his speech urged the students to be less cynical in
their approach. "Pakistan is going through a difficult phase at the moment but
we cannot ignore the fact that our country has a pivotal role to play in world
politics," he said adding that apart from the emotional intellectualism,
students ought to have the morale to improve their country's situation. Dr
Shamim in her speech blamed corrupt leadership behind the cynicism that prevails
among the youth today.
The absence of students union, labour unions, and
discussion fora has given rise to this apathy. The youth need a direction to
channelise their efforts. They are tired of seeing the same political leaders
and listening to their repeated statements and false promises," said Nargis
Rehman, President PWFP.
The students expressed that they want to
exercise their right to vote and choose their leader but felt the dictatorial
regime in the country's political history and consequent political differences
at educational campuses discouraged them from educational activities. It was
after 30 years that an inter-university elocution competition was being held at
a national level. The news