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Seminar on “Urban Safety and Resilience” Organized by Department of Sociology

A policy dialogue on “Urban safety and resilience” organized by the Department of Sociology, Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) in collaboration with Shehrsaaz, an organization for sustainable human settlements in Pakistan, was held. The objective of the dialogue was to draw the attention of stakeholders to the state of urban areas in the context of their safety, resilience, sustainability and humane character.

Experts during the policy dialogue addressed the issues of local governance and urban risk, available policies, plans, strategies and tools. They also urged for integration of urban planning in the main development streams of the country to reduce the risk of disasters and emergency situations.

Mr. Ahmad Kamal, Member, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) briefed the participants regarding “Urban disasters and their management in Pakistan”. He stressed the need for knowing the building, fire safety codes and importance of creating awareness among youth in schools, colleges and universities. He said that there should be some comprehensive mechanism for effective implementation of existing policies and laws.  Dr. Abdur Rahman, District Emergency Officer, Rawalpindi, highlighted the objectives of his department and shared a number of strategies to deal with the disasters and emergency situations.

Dr. Muhammad Zaman, Chairperson Department of Sociology, QAU, shared his views on “Street crimes in urban centers as human induced safety risks”. He said that when modernity takes place risk factor also increases. He revealed the factors of increasing crime rate like youth bulge, change in societal norms as a result of materialism, lack of education and lack of life skills and surveillance in crime areas.

“Crime activities in mega cities of Pakistan including Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta and Rawalpindi are increasing rapidly. Instead of relying on media reports regarding increasing crime rates social scientists should contribute and conduct some comprehensive studies to understand the motivation for violent street crimes” he added.

In concluding session Vice Chancellor, Quaid-i-Azam University, Dr. Javed Ashraf lauded the efforts of organizers for initiating a meaningful policy dialogue on an important issue. Ahsan Ali Mangi, Deputy Secretary General Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), Almas Saleem, National Coordinator Shehersaaz, Imran Yusuf Shami, Country Programme Manager, Plan International Pakistan, Kashif Hameed, Executive Director Centre for Research Communication and Dialogue (CRCD), MR.  Shoaib Haider, Country Representative, Hope87, also addressed the audience. A large number of students, faculty members, policy makers, civil society activists attended the policy dialogue.