2004 Pak-Millennium Report Published
By Parwez Wahid

Boston, Massachusetts: The Board of Directors of the Pak-Millennium Conference has published the report of the 2004 Conference that was held on the campus of Boston College in April of 2004. The Conference theme addressed the subject of strengthening civil society for a democratic polity under the title “Pakistanis and Democracy: Incompatible or Fixable?”
The 2004 Pak-Millennium Conference was the fourth in a series of symposiums on development issues relevant to Pakistan. These conferences have been held in Boston since 1999. The main speakers for the 2004 program were: Salman Raja, Khaled Ahmed, I. A. Imtiazi and Tariq Banuri. Other speakers included: Christopher Candland, Faiz Rehman, and Khawja Asif. Ambassador Ashraf Jehangir Qazi delivered the keynote address.
The topics covered during the conference discussions addressed the responsibilities of public decision-makers, the importance of attracting young minds to the public sector, the nexus between decision makers and vested interests. Under such a broad topic the conference focused on four subjects relating to the roles of NGOs, media, bureaucracy, and political parties.
A free downloadable copy of the report can be obtained from the Pak-Millennium website: www.pakistan2000.org.
(The next symposium of the Pak-Millennium series will likely be held in the Spring of 2006.)
Some of the key points raised in the discussions stated:
• For NGOs to be more effective, the government must protect and enable the NGOs’ efforts.
• NGOs fail because they fail to define themselves.
• Treating NGOs as representative of society is a dangerous trend.
• The Urdu press has built an image of nationalism based on tragedy.
• It is imperative that the Pakistani-American community makes its presence known through print, broadcast and Internet, and achieves activism through journalism.
• The systematic failure of institution building in Pakistan contributes to the failure of bureaucracies.
• Education is needed to replace the feudal/elitist class as a more educated society wants to vote, liberalize bring about positive change.
Only religious parties have any semblance of vision that makes for an undesirable situation as these parties look to restrict personal liberties.


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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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