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Press Release
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Karachi: Terming market access under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP Plus) a great achievement for the country, Governor Punjab Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar has said that it will help in providing jobs to youth besides earning foreign exchange for the country.

He was addressing the 2nd regional seminar on “Corporate Social Responsibility – A Promise of Rural Development and Service Delivery” organized by National Forum for Environment and Health (NFEH) in collaboration with Oil & Gas Development Company (OGDC), Pakistan State Oil (PSO) and Human Development Foundation (HDF), here at a local hotel.

He recalled that there had been stiff resistance from various countries about giving access to products from Pakistan. Several EU states have raised issues about terrorism, women and workers rights. However, we told them that over 50,000 people sacrificed their lives during ongoing war on terrorism while thousands other military men rendered similar sacrifices.

The overall financial impact of this war has been calculated at $80 billion. We tried to convince them that market access was immensely important for country like Pakistan. The jobs created as a result of this market opening would help in provision of employment opportunities to the youth and women. It will indirectly lead to strengthen our fabric of society besides financial gains.

Governor said he was not so hopeful about getting access under GPS Plus. However, we managed a win with a margin of one vote. Talking about CSR activities in the country, he said, work must be done for provision of clean drinking water for all especially children studying in schools. The contaminated water has been primary reason of deadly diseases in the country. He shared his vision with the audience about his initiative in this regard.

As a test trial, he said, I ordered collection of water samples of 30 schools including three schools located in Governor House. I was astonished to see the results of samples as prevalence of arsenic was five times higher if compared with permissible limit. In order to tackle this grave problem, we have engaged various NGOs for the provision of clean water to children in schools.

As a first step, state-of-the-art filtration plants have been set up in three affected schools while steps are being taken to resolve this problem in the remaining schools. He said same project is now being replicated with the personal interest of Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhawa. Governor Punjab Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar said that it is our collective responsibility to work for the betterment of poor and destitute people of our society. The small businesses are family owned while bigger businesses belong to the society. He especially appreciated work done by various companies on CSR front, extending full support of Punjab and federal government. However, he stressed the need to further consolidate CSR activities in the far-flung areas.

NFEH President Naeem Qureshi, while throwing light on the objectives, said that the 2nd regional seminar on CSR 2013 aimed at encouraging healthy competition among organizations to soar higher in CSR initiatives and to recognize their efforts for the benefit of deprived people, community groups, society and the nation at large. He said that it also aimed to create awareness about CSR initiatives and its philosophy in Pakistan; it also aimed to gather latest information including development, advancement and best practices in our Corporate Social Responsibility.

Later, Azhar Saleem, CEO, Human Development Foundation, in his address, spoke about the understanding the core concept of CSR and the role of NGOs in it. Bashir Malik, Chairman, Bin Qutab Foundation, spoke about the healthcare delivery system in rural areas. Besides, Oil & Gas Development Company (OGDC) General Manager Irfan Babar, Project Director Mahmood Tareen, World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists, CEO, Dr Tariq Cheema, NFEH Chairman Qaiser Waheed, Vice President Shahid A. Khan, veteran journalist Arif Nizami, Shahrukh Hasan, Ejaz Sheikh, Mumtaz Hussain and others also spoke on the occasion.

Mustafa Tahir
Media Coordinator
Tel: 35653676
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