PHDF 2018 feeds intellectual appetite Only
By Amer Malik
LAHORE: The organizers of Punjab Human Development Forum 2018 engrossed all their attention in the academic sessions that they forgot the basic norms of hospitality resulting in near-humiliation of the participants – the mainstay of the success of the two-day event.
As the organizers claimed about 1,000 participants attended the Wednesday’s sessions, almost half of the guests were denied their lunch and were made to stand in utter dismay in the corridors of extravagantly decorated entrance of the conference venue in Crystal Hall of the Lahore’s five-star Pearl Continental Hotel.
The conference venue was aesthetically decorated as the stage was prepared after borrowing brilliant concept from Lahore Literature Festival to conduct technical sessions on different topics, whereas beautifully designed stalls were set up inside the hall and the stately corridor outside the hall. Gigantic screens displaying the presentations of the speakers further added to the academic ambience of the conference, where discussions focused the ways to improve the human development indicators of the downtrodden, which unfortunately comprise more than half of country’s population.
As the conference was already behind schedule with morning sessions culminating at around 2:30 pm, the moderator announced for participants to have lunch in the Emerald Hall right next to the conference hall. The participants walked towards the next hall for lunch and only half of them could manage to enter the hall, as the hotel staff stopped the remaining number of guests and closed the doors of the hall. “We’ve accommodated the number of guests the organizers secured the booking of,” said the chief of the hotel staff at the hall’s entrance. The guests had no choice but to stand in the corridor in amazement, and perhaps, with embarrassment.
The organizers had, meanwhile, moved towards the hotel’s restaurant to have their well-deserved lunch after attending the absorbing presentations of the technical sessions since morning. In the meantime, the guests kept standing in the royal corridor, for little over an hour, waiting for their hosts to make a return and feed their intellectual appetite, again.
The participants again joined the afternoon’s technical session that concluded at 4:15 pm. The concluding session of the Punjab Human Development Forum 2018 commenced at 4:30 soon after the arrival of the chief guest Federal Minister for National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Mrs. Saira Afzal Tarar, who was supposed to chair the session at 2:30 pm.
The Planning and Development (P&D) Department carried the Punjab government’s austerity policy in real spirit and saved considerable sum of money of the poor tax-paying people of this country.