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Youth urged to embrace Pakistan’s religious, cultural diversity

Islamabad (PR) – Senator Krishna Kumari discussed interfaith relations with university students during a two-day education and training workshop here in Islamabad. Senator Kumari told young students to have faith in themselves and see Pakistan’s religious and cultural diversity as a blessing. She also shared the story of her life’s journey from a disadvantaged village of Sindh to the Senate of Pakistan. According to Senator Kumari, her faith and gender created immense challenges for her as she pursued education as a young girl in a primitive village. She added that despite many societal issues, Pakistan was a promising country for those who work hard, and that she was a living example of that. Likewise, through interactive sessions, students were taught about modern political concepts of the state and society by noted scholars Dr. Khalid Masud and Khursheed Nadeem. According to Dr. Khalid Masud, majority of the population in Pakistan i.e. the youth lack the conceptual clarity about what kind of political system they like to see in their country. He explained the factors behind the prevailing political confusion among the youth. Similarly, scholar and columnist, Khursheed Nadeem, said political and social traditions keep changing over time. Analyzing the political backwardness of Muslim societies, he said many developing nations were stuck in confusion about their political future.
Organized by the Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS) on January 14th and 15th, the workshop – first in a series of countrywide workshops – aimed at providing young people with an opportunity to learn about and appreciate the religious and cultural diversities in Pakistan. The students were also engaged in an interactive session with renowned constitutionalist Zafarullah Khan and the director general of Pakistan National Council of Arts, Dr. Fouzia Saeed, on the topic of constitution, parliament, and rule of law. According Zafarullah Khan, it was concerning that majority of university-level students had never had a chance to read the constitution. He said the constitution was the most basic document underpinning the existence of the state. He urged young students to acquaint themselves with important articles and clauses of the constitution. Likewise, Dr. Fouzia Saeed urged the youth to embrace the diversities in Pakistan and learn to appreciate the differences in the mosaic of the society.
In addition, the director of Pak institute for Peace Studies (PIPS), Muhammad Amir Rana, discussed popular misperceptions and biases with the students. According to him, oftentimes social behaviors are shaped by perceptions rather than facts. He taught students how to base their opinions on facts, and urged them to expand their mental horizons by studying books. The participants were also provided career counseling with successful and inspiring young professionals like Amber Rahim Shamsi, Puruesh Chaudhry, Bisma Shoukat, Mava Rajput, etc. Puruesh Chaudhry, the founder of AGAHI, mentioned how she found inspiring ideas from people around her. As a young woman, she founded the AGAHI – an organization that trains and encourages journalists for their outstanding work in Pakistan. In the same way, Amber Rahim Shamsi told how, as a young woman, she stepped into the male-dominated world of journalism and persevered to carve out a career for her. At the end of the workshop, journalist and social activist, Sabookh Syed, presented an eye-witness account of the recent destruction of the Hindu temple in Karak. The next workshop of the series will be held in Peshawar.

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