Seminar on “National Action Plan and its outcomes” at GC University

LAHORE:December 15:Speakers at a seminar on “National Action Plan and its outcomes” at Government College University (GCU) said terrorism could not be eradicated without fighting extremism so military operations also have to be conducted on the civil front to win the war.

“There is a lot of indirect and direct hate material in our school textbooks so the government needs to take action besides giving top priority to the structural improvements in our education system with a focus to promote tolerance and civic sense among the children,” said eminent academicians and representatives of the civil society participating in the seminar. According to a press release, Punjab Minister for Finance Dr Ayesha Ghaus Pasha chaired the policy dialogue at the seminar which was organised by the Bargad, a Non-Government Organisation (NGO) working on youth development in collaboration with the Punjab government to remember the martyrs of Peshawar Attack and review the implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP).

Speaking on the occasion, Punjab Education Minister Rana Mashhood, Punjab Higher Education Commission (PHEC) Chairperson Prof Dr Mohammad Nizamuddin, eminent Human Rights Activist I.A Rehman and noted writer Amir Riaz presented recommendations for the better implementation of the NAP saying “education should be given the top priority in the National Action Plan.” The speakers stressed that the policy formulation should be an inclusive activity that takes into account youth's voices, especially representation from the tribal areas, which needs not be ignored. “Tribal Areas have specific territorial needs that must be incorporated,” they added.

Writer Amir Riaz said “our textbooks are gender and urban biased and promote religious and communal sectarianism.” “They only show women as nurse or teacher and ignore her several successful roles including as an artist or entrepreneur in the modern society and also there is nothing something in these books about the contributions of non-Muslims,” he added.

Amir Riaz urged the government to form a parliamentary committee to check hate material in textbooks and also in media.

Dr Nizamuddin stressed the need for elaborately incorporating the last address of Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and Quaid's Speech of 11th of August in school syllabus to eliminate extremism. He also called upon the youth to work on their skill development instead of just focusing on degree programmes for a successful professional life. I.A Rehman said “NAP should not be made a final word; it must be continuously reviewed and renewed according to the emerging needs and most importantly measures to counter extremism which should be given priority in this plan.” He highlighted the need for developing nation's counter narrative saying “it is a war of minds and couldn't be fought in battlefields alone.”

GCU Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Hassan Shah said we need poverty alleviation, socioeconomic justice and above all an education system which inculcates love to humanity for the success of National Action Plan. He said constitutional rights must be extended to the whole population of the country. Rana Mashhood paid tribute to the victims of Peshawar Attack and stressed the importance of National Action Plan’s implementation to ensure that December 16, 2014 is never repeated. Later, GCU students signed a “Peace Resolution” that reads that “We solemnly vow to stand up against violent extremism in Pakistan. We vow to never let 16th of December 2014 be repeated. We condemn this heinous tragedy and extend our full support to the government's efforts being made under the National Action Plan to avoid such atrocities in the future.” The policy dialogue featured two documentaries; one was a tribute to Peshawar Attack victims and the other was an informational piece on the National Action Plan. The event came to an end with a performance from Laal Band..The news.

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