ISLAMABAD: The achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is only possible through the continuity of the democratic process and strong system of governance and every Pakistan will have to contribute his share in the development of the country by rising above political affiliations.This was stated by Minister of State for Information, Broadcasting, National History and Literary Heritage Marriyum Aurangzeb while addressing the concluding ceremony of the three-day workshop and conference on the SDGs for the members of the Gilgit-Baltistan assembly including its speaker as well as interacting with the delegation students of Aitchison College at the SDGs Secretariat here Friday.She said that the voice of the people did not reach the parliament under the dictatorial regimes and the failure of the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) was also because of the dictatorship in the country. The minister said that the Plan of SDGs did not belong to any political party but was a national undertaking.She said that it was a collective responsibility to use parliamentary resources for the achievement of SDGS and the federal and provincial governments should strive to accomplish the targets of the SDGs.She said that through the holding of the workshop and conference the narrative of the SDGs looked gaining real shape. The minister said that the members of the parliament should root their proposals for development in their constituencies through the SDGs secretariat.Marriyum revealed that the government was contemplating to hold a parliamentary conference on population for the first time, which would deliberate on all issues confronting Pakistan.She said that resolving the issues related to health would lead to reduction in the level of poverty in the country, adding that it was also essential to focus on the health of the mother and child.Marriyum said that in the 2018 elections people would vote for the parties which had delivered and the PML (N) would seek the mandate of the people on the basis of its performance. Referring to the Kasur episode the minister said that there was an urgent need to review the laws at the federal and provincial levels, besides including the subject on awareness in the curricula of the schools. She said that the parents and teachers should also help in creating awareness among the children at the primary level.The minister said that awareness programmes on the issue would also be broadcast on TV and Radio respectively.The minister strongly condemned the Kasur episode and said that it was the collective responsibility to take steps to prevent the recurrence of such happenings and enact such laws which were implementable at all levels. She said that the Punjab government was engaged in the process of bringing stringent laws that would prescribe exemplary punishments for such crimes.Later, the minister also had an interaction with the students from Aitchison College who were on a visit to the SGDs secretariat and Assembly. She thoroughly briefed them on the steps to achieve targets of the SDGs.She said that Pakistan was a signatory to the 17-point SGDs drawn up by the UN. She said that the targets of the MDGs could not be achieved as there was dictatorship in the country and there was also disconnect with the parliament.The minister told the students that the SDGs secretariat was providing research based data to the parliamentarians on the implementation of the SDGs. She said that Pakistan was the first country which had established a secretariat on SGDs in the parliament and similar arrangements also existed in the provincial assemblies. She said that the SGDs were a national commitment which required continuity of the democratic process and a strong system.Published in Daily Times, January 13th 2018.