ISLAMABAD - Representatives from major political parties, civil society organizations, media and international development institutions have called for upholding the rule of law, protecting the state's writ, and reducing societal intolerance for restoring peace in Pakistan.
They expressed these views at a knowledge seminar titled "Peace building in Pakistan: Conflict Challenges, Lessons Learned and Opportunities for Collaboration" which was organized by the Search For Common Ground (SFCG) Pakistan in collaboration with SDPI on Tuesday. Purpose of the event was to share and discuss key findings of two nationwide research studies conducted on attitudes and perceptions of citizens on issues of conflict, violence and peace.
Moderated by Dr. Moeed Pirzada, the seminar's inaugural session was chaired by Danish Ambassador to Pakistan, Jesper M. Sorensen, and Chairman Senate Standing Committee Mushahid Hussain Sayed.
SFCG Pakistan Country Director, Ammara Durrani, and Executive Director SDPI, Dr. Abid Suleri, presented the research findings in the inaugural session.
The studies provide important data on perceptions of youth, community leaders, policymakers and media, and reflect what role these actors are playing at the societal level to reduce violence, resolve conflicts and create social harmony.
Chaired by former Pakistan Ambassador to the U.S. Sherry Rehman and EU Charge de Affaires, Johan Sorensen, the seminar's second session featured a robust discussion amongst distinguished participants representing major political parties, government, civil society, media and international development institutions. Participants sought common ground by deliberating upon multiple dimensions of ongoing violence in Pakistan and its linkages with political and religious ideologies, terrorism and extremism, security challenges, social justice and cohesion, poverty and access to education and basic amenities.
Senator Farhatullah Babar (PPP), Senator Afrasiab Khattak (ANP), Daniyal Aziz (PML-N), Sherhryar Afridi (PTI), Liaquat Baloch (JI), Faisal Sabzwari (MQM), Jan Achakzai (JUI-F), Dr. Jehanzen Jamaldini (BNP-M), Khalid Aziz, Maj. Gen. (r) Athar Abbas, Khalid Aziz, Amin Hashwani, Zahid Hussain, Raza Khan, Raziq Fahim, Dr. Amineh Hoti,Asad Munir, Adnan Sher, and Arshi Saleemwere among key speakers on the occasion.
The speakers also addressed key questions on strategic approaches to counter and prevent violence, prevailing challenges and the need for collaborative efforts by stakeholders to achieve "accumulative impact" for peace building.
Focusing on the crucial role of youth, political leaders and media in creating a progressive, democratic and tolerant culture in Pakistan, the speakers agreed on an urgent national need for upholding the rule of law, protecting the state's writ, and reducing societal intolerance for restoring peace in Pakistan.
The participants agreed that the nation needs to come together to create a legacy for Pakistan that inspires its youth to lead a different life by engaging with one another in more meaningful ways.
The SFCG-SDPI studies have provided baseline information for SFCG Pakistan's DANIDA-funded project entitled "Pakistan Peace Initiative: Promotion of Dialogue for Peace building through Media and Youth Mobilization in Pakistan" and EU-funded project "Promoting Peace in KPK & FATA: Connecting Youth and Policy Makers through Mediation and Dialogue" currently being implemented in Pakistan in partnership with various civil society organizations.