Pakistani youth need reconstruction of social identities
PR – Swat: Individual thinking processes impact not only individual behaviors but also dictate the broader societal outlook and behavior. And unfortunately, thinking patterns are often fed, among other things, by long-held social biases that tend to paint a generalized picture of a religious or ethnic group. These views were expressed by noted columnist, Muhammad Amir Rana, during a workshop with university students on interfaith harmony and diversity in Swat, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He said that a good citizen was the best Pakistani. Addressing the youth, Amir Rana said the young people in Pakistan need a drastic rethinking of how they construct their primary identities in their minds. He noted that many young people show tendency to defining their primary identities on religious or even sectarian terms. This is, at least in part, due to the education system and social norms that tend to instill constricted thinking patterns among people particularly the youth in Pakistan, he said. Narrow thinking generally breeds negativity in thought processes which ultimately deprives the youth of their positive potential by draining their energies, he added.
Amir Rana also underlined that the schooling system lacked the ability to help students appreciate the religious and cultural diversities in Pakistan. He urged the workshop participants to fully acquaint themselves with important documents such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the Paigham-e-Pakistan, etc. During the workshop, students were also asked to read these documents out to other participants. This was followed by discussions on the UDHR in the global as well as national contexts. Similarly, the students were also briefed about the importance of harmony among followers of different faiths in Pakistan. Famous journalist, Sabookh Syed, showed a documentary to the workshop participants about the mob violence against a Hindu shrine in Karak in recent past. Filmed by Mr. Syed in the aftermath of the incident, the documentary shed light on the relatively unknown aspects of the incident. Syed said Pakistan is home to diverse religions and faiths, and that national progress and prosperity depended on people’s ability to live together in harmony.
Mr. Syed said that a fact that is frequently overlooked is that what constitutes Pakistan has been a land of ancient civilizations where diverse faiths flourished in the past. Those religions and faiths are integral parts of this region’s cultural and historical legacies. He said the Pakistan youth needed to learn more about their country’s diversities because only by doing so the upcoming generations would be capable of building an inclusive Pakistan. In addition, a session was dedicated to highlight the lives and services of prominent women in Pakistan as well as globally. Speaker Qurat-ul-Ain said Pakistan had about 100 million women but unfortunately the women’s contribution to public life was limited in Pakistan. She urged young women to pursue their dreams and overcome social obstacles that come along the way. The workshop was part of the countrywide workshops series conducted by the Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS), an Islamabad-based think tank. The purpose is to promote amongst the youth acceptance for religious and cultural diversities in Pakistan.
Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS)
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