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 Monday.

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



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