Poverty threat to national, regional, int’l security: Marvi
Minister of State and Chairperson Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), MNA Marvi Memon was invited as a Guest Speaker at a private roundtable discussion titled "Poverty management and its effect on regional stability" at the IISS. Rahul Roy Chaudhry, Senior Fellow for South Asia at IISS chaired the discussion.
High Commissioner for Pakistan Syed Ibne Abbas and former British High Commissioner to Pakistan Phillip Barton also attended the roundtable.
In her remarks, the Minister identified poverty as a threat to national, regional and international security, which undermines a country's ability to fight disease, protect environment and respond to disasters effectively.
It also, she added, makes the affected people vulnerable to crime and terrorism. She, however, noted that there was inadequate realization among the global community on poverty's role in threatening regional and international peace and security and perhaps in preamble to UN Charter scourge of poverty needed to be added to scourge of war.
Calling for collective efforts to address the challenges of poverty, the Minister termed the need to have official knowledge sharing on regional neighbors experiences on poverty management and alleviation programs as important Confidence Building Measures ( CBMs) for dispute resolution and regional stability. According to her, these regional strategies could help create trust among neighbors and pave way for the larger regional development mega projects like the China Pak Economic Corridor (CPEC), or TAPI and resolution of disputes like Kashmir.
She added that regional economic development was the only way forward for the prosperity of our people and for eventual dispute resolution of some longstanding historic territorial disputes.
The Minister also highlighted the upward trajectory of Pakistan's economy under the current leadership of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar. This turn around, she noted, had created fiscal space for funding of the BISP.
She said that the Government in Pakistan was conscious that the symbiotic nexus between poverty and insecurity would be attacked most effectively through the propagation of the rule of law and access to justice.
In her view, these two tools empower all, but especially the poor, and within this segment especially women.
She added that poor women would be empowered if they have access to financial tools and if they acquire skills and this was precisely what Pakistan's largest social safety net, the Benazir Income Support Program was trying to achieve.
The Minister also offered the Benazir Income Support Programme in Pakistan as a platform to share Pakistan's poverty management learnings with the region. The Minister also took questions from the participants at the end of her presentation.