Yesterday, Gul Bahao held a meeting at the hotel Avari to bring together people from various organizations to help strengthen its campaign of “Karachi’s Gift to the world” which is in fact advocating Gul Bahao’s research work consisting of environment related innovations. Prominent among those who attended were Rezwana Khan from NGORC
Ali Chaudry a businessman, Mr. Shamsul Haq Memon , a senior Bureaucrat and former Director General EPA Sindh, Sabiha Shah and Abdul Rahim Moosavi from Lyari Community Development and Nuzhat Siddiqui, environmentalist from WWF, Rana Asif Habib from Initiator Human Development Foundation and Mohammad Khalid from the SDSSP, government of Sindh.
The meeting started with the reading of the Urdu translation of the holy Quran, copies of which had been distributed before hand among the participants. Someone remarked that this is how the Christians used to read from the bible. To this another participant remarked that this could be the reason behind the European renaissance i.e. reading their holy scriptures in their own languages.
Explaining the purpose of holding the meeting, Gul Bahao’s Nargis Latif said that a think tank or discussion forum is necessary to discuss the crucial link between environment and the economy. Some of the stance of the participants however was that there were already several forums working in the city.
Mr. Shamsul Haq Memon said that he has been following Nargis Latif’s work for the last 10 years or so. “I have seen her working tirelessly, often with her hair all disheveled.” Now it is up to us to carry her mission forward … There is a big gap in research oriented activities. Nargis has tried to fill that gap.
Ali Chaudry dwelt at length on his proposal for raising funds for Gul Bahao through marketing of its prefabricated structures. According to him such philanthropists should be sought who could buy Gul Bahao’s prefabricated houses for as little as Rs. 10,000 (ten thousand) and donate them to the poor. However he said that our poor people are very conservative in their habits and special efforts would have to be made for them to adapt themselves to this new technology.
Nargis Latif said that there is a yawning gap between the formal and informal sectors of the economy just as there is a huge gap between the rich and the poor. Citing examples of Godhra in new Karachi and Machar Colony (near Sohrab Goth) she said that these reflect the innovation and dynamism of the informal economy. (However scavenging of waste material from the garbage dumps is not the answer to our solid waste management) On the other we have the formal sector with its educated people, local bodies, government and NGOs who are literate have modern equipment etc. have resources and more important have a system to follow. Unfortunately there is a wide gap between the two sectors that could otherwise benefit one another immensely and the society in general. It was decided by all that the forum would meet once a month.