President calls for utilizing mosques to impart education to 28m out-of-school children

ISLAMABAD-President Dr Arif Alvi has called for making collaborative efforts with mosques to impart education to 28 million out-of-school children by utilizing them for literacy and educational purposes. 
   He said that mosques and madrassahs could play an important role in promoting ethical values, besides creating awareness about important social and health issues at the grassroots level. 
 President expressed these views while chairing a follow-up meeting on mosques and madrassahs, at Aiwan-e-Sadr, on Wednesday. 
The meeting was attended by the Federal Minister for Religious Affairs and Inter-Faith Harmony, Mr Aneeq Ahmad, Chairman of the Council of Islamic Ideology, Professor Dr Qibla Ayaz, provincial ministers and representatives of the Auqaf and Religious Affairs departments as well as the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training. 
Speaking on the occasion, the President said that imparting education to almost 28 million out-of-school children in Pakistan was a huge challenge, which would require thousands of new schools and additional resources. 
He emphasized the need for innovative and non-traditional solutions and collective efforts by society to provide education to out-of-school children.
The Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training informed the meeting that it had launched an Accelerated Learning Program to educate out-of-school children.
The President said that mosques and madrassahs could play an instrumental role in reforming society and overcoming social evils by promoting ethical values, brotherhood, tolerance, peace, inter-faith harmony and respect for each other’s rights through the Friday sermons. 
He also underscored the need for raising awareness, through mosques, about mental and general health issues, population welfare, inter-faith harmony, women’s rights, and malnutrition at the community level. 
The President further called for adopting an integrated approach by the ministries of health, education, and religious affairs at the federal and provincial levels by involving the mosques and madrassahs to educate the people about social and health issues. 
Islamabad conclave
 President Dr Arif Alvi has said amid the challenging global scenario, Pakistan required a dynamic approach to address the threats to regional peace. 
Addressing the inaugural session of Islamabad Conclave 2023 themed ‘Pakistan in a changing world’ organized by Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI), he said Pakistan must consciously rediscover its vision in the wake of super power rivalries and interference of neighbouring states.
The president, in this regard, emphasized close liaison among politicians and parliamentarians, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defence for effective deliberations and policy-making. President Alvi said Pakistan’s strategic shift from geo-politics to geo-economic and the regional situation in the wake of India’s belligerence needed the policies in line with regional and systemic developments. President Alvi said the civilized world today had forgotten the principles of morality and was witnessing prevalence of wars waged by powerful against weaker segments.
 The situation in Gaza, he said, was an alarming sign of the apathy of the world which could not stop the massacre of innocent people including women and children. 
He regretted that even the gory imagery of Gaza killings could not shake the world’s conscience, terming it a failure of the intellect of mankind. 
The president recalled that decades ago, the world after several war-related massacres in Europe had arrived at the culmination of peace treaties and bodies like the League of the Nations and the United Nations (UN). 
However, he pointed out that now every rule made by the civilized world as a lesson learned after several wars was being undermined. Dr Alvi said allowing few states the right of veto power was in fact the first failure of mankind to bow before the vested interests. 
War, he said, was not a solution to resolve any conflict and always resulted in a never-ending vicious cycle of violence. 
He expressed disappointment over the approach of democratic countries supporting wars and said morality must be the anchor of human thinking. 
He said the world at the moment direly needed the approach of love, empathy and forgiveness. 
In Pakistan’s current political scenario, he said, the same spirit of forgiveness and empathy was lacking and added that the nations evolve on the basis of these factors. 
Besides conflicts, he said, the world faced several threats such as skewed development, immigration problems in first world countries as result of the conflicts in third world countries, increasing poverty, artificial intelligence, nuclear weaponization, and environmental changes. 
President Alvi stressed the need for adhering to the principles of socio-economic justice among communities by extending them equal opportunities in all fields of life. 
He said the real progress was linked with a just distribution of wealth, picking up downtrodden and empowering women. 
The president lauded the contribution of ISSI as a leading think-tank that carried out deliberations on matters of national, regional and international importance. 
Director General ISSI Ambassador Sohail Mahmood said ISSI was providing a dialogue platform to the research and policy community with an objective to explore the multiple layers of change and the way forward for Pakistan. He said the two-day event would hold sessions on changing regional landscape, evolving regional dynamics, navigating complex geo-politics, accentuating pivot to geo-economics, comprehensive security in the world influx, and Pakistan’s foreign policy in an emerging world order.

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