ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Interior and the Higher Education Commission (HEC), Pakistan jointly organised a ceremony to celebrate the International Day of Peace here at the Convention Centre on Thursday. The celebration also marked the launch of Young Peace and Development Corps (YPDC), comprising a number of students from Pakistani universities.
Mr. Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for Interior was chief guest on the occasion. Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed, Chairman HEC, Mr. Arshad Mirza, Secretary Interior, vice chancellors, faculty members and students from different institutions were also present.
In his address, the Minister reiterated the Government’s resolve to eliminate terrorism and extremism. He revealed that peace and stability are inevitable for a country to make progress, as development and prosperity hinge upon peace and harmony. Peace carries a central role in the life of an individual and well-being of any society, he emphasized. He stated that Pakistan needs to learn from history, regretting that the country has been indulged in wars fought for others. Citing the Newsweek report published in 2013, he said Pakistan was portrayed as the most dangerous country to live, but during the last four years Pakistan has seen a big change and now the western media is portraying Pakistan as an emerging economy.
The minister said corruption is indeed a threat which Pakistan has to get rid of, however the media has a great role to project positive side of the country so as to spread optimism.
Administering oath to the members of YPDC, the Minister said the platform of YPDC will be a torchbearer of peace and development of Pakistan. He urged the youth to promote a culture of tolerance and healthy argumentation instead of resorting to violence. He observed that a few students recently found involved in anti-social activities do not represent the entire fabric of academia. “It is high time to wage a war through knowledge.”
Mr. Ahsan Iqbal further said that as many as 10,000 Pakistani scholars will be sent to the US universities to pursue PhD under the US-Pakistan Knowledge Corridor. The Government has also chalked out a plan to launch Pakistan-UK Knowledge Gateway in addition to embarking upon a Global Leadership Internship Programme under which 250 Pakistani students will be trained in capitals of the developed countries, the Minister announced. He said that the Government aims to set up a university or its campus in every Pakistani district in order to ensure access to higher education in the far-flung areas.
In his opening remarks, Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed highlighted the efforts of HEC to sensitise the academic on significance of de-radicalisation in universities. He said HEC plans to organise University Olympics, as it accords great importance to co-curricular and extra-curricular activities. “Over 60 per cent of our population comprises youth and the youth have a key role in ensuring peace in our society,” he underscored. He stressed the need for a focus on development of constructive science. He stated that the academia, especially students, have to come forward to defend the ideological frontiers of Pakistan. He said HEC will manage inter-provincial student exchange in summer in order to make students aware of the beauty of Pakistan. He advised the students to promote tolerance in their universities as well as society.
Shedding light on the role of Interior Ministry in maintaining peace in the country, Mr. Arshad Mirza said the Government is making strenuous efforts for law and order in the country under the National Action Plan. He also described the importance of International Day of Peace in the perspective of Pakistan. Students of different educational institutions made presentations on the significance of International Day of Peace. The ceremony concluded with a thought-provoking panel discussion on the counter-narrative against extremism. The panelists included Dr. Anees Ahmed, Mr. Jamal Shah, Singers Mr. Jawad Ahmed, Mr. Shahzad Roy, TV Host Mr. Rahman Azhar and others.