Speakers stress peace, harmony and unity
Absence of war does not mean it is peace: PU VC
LAHORE: (Thursday, March 22, 2018): Renowned academicians, thinkers and security experts have called upon the need to promote peace, harmony and national unity which would eliminate violence and guarantee Pakistan’s progress and integrity. They recommended that teachers and students should play a vibrant role to minimize the culture of intolerance. They were addressing one day conference on “Peace, Harmony and Nationalism” held in Punjab University Faisal Auditorium on Thursday. The conference was organized by Punjab University in collaboration with Center for Health and Gender Equality (CHANGE). PHEC Chairperson Prof Dr Nizamuddin, PU Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Muhammad Zakria Zakar, Ex foreign Secretary Shamshad Ahmad Khan, VC Gomal University Prof Dr Muhammad Sarwar, security expert Gen ® Zahid Mubashir, renowned anchor and senior journalist Iftikhar Ahmad, Analyst Salman Abid, Registrar Dr Muhammad Khalid Khan, Director Students Affairs Iftikhar Choudhary, Principal CEES Prof Dr Sajid Rashid Ahmad, Dr Ra’ana Malik, Executive Director (CHANGE) Mumtaz Hussain, senior faculty members, students and large number of employees were present on the occasion. Addressing the conference, Dr Nizam said that there must not be any political intervention in the universities and autonomy of institutions of higher learning must be ensured. Praising the charged crowd, he said that co-curricular activities must be organized in every department of universities to provide platform to the student so that they could utilize their positive energies. He said that inter-personal communication with teachers and students was the most effective way to remove differences and promote harmony. He said that the peace drive initiated by CEES and CHANGE must continue. In his address, PU VC Prof Dr Zakria Zakar said that absence of war did not mean it was peace and it cannot be created easily. He said that Pakistan was facing terrorism since many years and we need to focus on social ingredients and action plan for establishing peace. He said that peace is the name of harmony among living beings and mutual respect of others’ ideology, religion, gender, ethnicity etc. He said that disgracing ideas of others was not peace. He said that universities were place of knowledge and reasoning. He said that knowledge and violence were contrary to each other and that’s why both could not live together. He said that in the recent incidence of violence at PU, the administration adopted zero tolerance policy and took unprecedented action against the violent elements. He said that when knowledge would infiltrate in us, we would become torch-bearer of diversity of thinking and we could guarantee co-existence. Shamshad Ahmad Khan reasoned that our interior and foreign policies were required to be amended which had now become essential to build a harmonious Pakistan. He said that now it was the time to unite the youth for the formulation of effective and transparent policies. Lt Gen (r) Zahid Mubasher said that internal threats being faced by Pakistan were more powerful than external threats. Prof. Dr. Muhammad Sarwar also endorsed the strong role of universities to restore peace and harmony in the society. Salman Abid specified that media should play genuine role in outspreading agenda of the tolerance and harmony in the society and try to negate the argument that the media itself is promoting intolerance and extremism. Prof. Dr. Sajid Rashid Ahmad Principal CEES and Focal Person for Inspiring the Future project highlighted the success and impact of the project and appreciated the efforts being done with students by the university administration and CHANGE team. He said that as many as 50 events had been organized in the event. He said that students from Sindh, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit Baltistan, FATA and Azad Kashmir are taking part in the event which gave a strong message of harmony. Students also shared their views about their experiences of participation in different activities promoting peace during “Inspiring the Future Project”. A documentary containing different activities of students e.g. seminar, dialogue, painting, walk, role play, quiz, signature campaign and short interviews of faculty members was exhibited. The students pledged that they’ll expand the peace movement outside the university and they would play their role as peace ambassadors. Later, souvenirs were distributed among the distinguished participants.