Development of small towns stressed
LAHORE, Nov 9: The centre of development of the modern era is focused on metropolises through mega projects, while natural development of small towns is being neglected knowingly.
It is high time that the nation should rivet its attention on to the development of small towns, where the majority of people live.
People have got psycho-social links of identity with their native places. This must be reinforced to develop a strong viable Pakistan.
This was a consensus among speakers at the inaugural session of a four-day THAAP (Trust for History, Art and Architecture of Pakistan) conference on “Life in small towns” jointly organised by THAAP and the University of Gujrat in collaboration with the Higher Education Commission on Friday.
HEC’s Human Resource Development adviser Prof Dr Riaz Husain Qureshi said the commission was promoting the cause that universities must build communities and economies.
Stating that the commission would support conferences that how life in cities and communities could be improved, Prof Qureshi said many great personalities, including Allama Iqbal, Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Maulana Zafar Ali Khan, Madam Noor Jahan and Safdar Mir (Zeno) hailed from small towns. He stressed that life in small towns must be reinforced to develop a strong viable Pakistan.
UoG Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Muhammad Nizamuddin said life in small towns was a complex subject. He said building of big cities could not be blocked, but the matter of concern was that there was a complete neglect on the development of small towns.
He said bid metropolises were emerging at the cost of neighbouring towns and settlements. Most importantly, he said, heritage in small towns was being ignored. Many unwritten folklores in various small towns in the country needed to be documented.
Similarly, he said, lifestyle in small towns was a tradition and needed to be preserved.
Prof Nizamuddin stressed that town planners should launch a movement to preserve small towns and suggest improvements.
He said quality educational institutions, parks and entertainment places be established and jobs, including small and medium size entrepreneurships, be created in small towns so that people could stay back.
Stating that small towns could be the best resource for economic growth, Prof Nizamuddin said Gujrat city was one such an example. He claimed the setting up of quality educational institutions, quality restaurants, entertainment places and creation of jobs had stopped people’s exodus from Gujrat.
Prof Pervaiz Vandal said people must turn back to small towns and invest large amounts to empower people. He said imperialistic and colonialist models of development had devastated the nation as a whole. Prof Sajida Haider Vandal also spoke on the occasion.
Later, three technical sessions were held wherein nine research papers on life in small towns were presented.
In the first session chaired by historian Dr Mubarak Ali, Dr Imdad Husain, Kiran Bashir Ahmad, Mamoona Khan and Ghaffar Mohiuddin presented their papers on anti-urbanism biases, urban resident’s life satisfaction after migration, a study of small town Kurri near Rawalpindi (Do not let by gone by gone) and contemporary development in the city of Gujrat, respectively.
In the second session, chaired by UoG’s Political Science Department head Dr Muhammad Mushtaq, Dr Taraneh Yalda from Iran presented a study on “Life in Iranian small towns”.
Bazla Manzoor, Dr Asif Nawaz and Dr Ahmad Husain presented their papers on architectural elements and techniques from Chiniot, and existing basic facilities, disparities and future hopes, respectively.
In the third session, chaired by Dr Taraneh Yalda, Mehrdad Bahmani and Dr Ghaffar Shahzad presented their papers on ‘Torbat Jam – A small city with a multicultural heritage; and cult of sufi shrines in small towns, respectively.