Press Release October 11th, 2013
The Centre for Pakistan and Gulf Studies (CPGS) launched a drive to engage the youth of the country in its efforts to establish and promote a tradition of peace and harmony in Pakistan. The Centre recently proposed a “Draft National Policy for Peace and Harmony”, at the eve of the Two Day International Seminar, held on 21st – 22nd of August 2013, in Islamabad. To spread the message of peace and involve the general public by familiarizing them to the main tenets of this proposed policy, CPGS is working on a public campaign to enhance awareness regarding the proposed policy. As a part of this campaign, the first Policy Briefing was held at the National University for Modern Languages (NUML) on October 11, 2013 to enlighten students and faculty members about the background of the problem, and a comprehensive and holistic de-radicalization and counter-radicalization package that the policy entails. The Seminar was organized by the Centre for Pakistan and Gulf Studies (CPGS) in collaboration with Department of International Relations, Conflict and Peace Studies, NUML.
In his opening remarks, Head of the Department of International Relations, Conflict & Peace Studies (IR, CPS) Prof. Dr Zulfiqar Ali Qureshi welcomed the CPGS Delegation and praised the efforts of the team in organizing the Briefing Session. He highlighted the growing problems in Pakistan as a result of terrorism and emphasized the need for collective efforts towards their earliest resolution; efforts such as those undertaken by the Centre in developing and proposing this policy document.
Lt. Gen (R) Syed M Owais HI (M), Member CPGS Advisory Board, in his introductory remarks introduced the students and faculty to CPGS and Project SALAM. He thanked Dr Qureshi and NUML for providing CPGS with this platform to unfold the public discussion on the proposed CPGS National Policy; it was a ‘wonderful opportunity’ he said ‘to engage with students and faculty alike, to be able to take their input on the subject’. He said that initiatives such as these are vital for a coordinated and all-encompassing response against the menace of violent extremism. It is only with the collaboration of all segments of the society and the untiring efforts of its youth that Pakistan can move towards a peaceful and prosperous society.
Senator Sehar Kamran (TI), in her telephonic message to the audience from Jeddah, said that ‘Today’s youth and younger generations are the architects of tomorrow; they will be the ones who shape the future of Pakistan’. She also said, ‘I am pleased to witness the young generation engaged with such important issues today, and I ask them to join hands and strengthen us in Resolving Radical Extremism in Pakistan through peaceful means’.
The briefing highlighted various aspects of the policy paper and its implementation mechanisms. In the Q&A Session that followed, members of the student community and faculty alike actively engaged the expert panel in a candid debate on the various issues highlighted by the policy document. Member CPGS Steering Committee, Prof Dr Tahir Amin conducted the session. He raised many important points in the context of the relationship between violent extremism and religion, governance and socio-economic variables. The event witnessed a significant turnout and a wonderful response from both the students and the faculty.