PESHAWAR: Intolerance is a universal phenomenon that exists even in western countries, said Clive Straford Smith, Director Charity Reprieve. He was speaking at a 10 day international conference on intolerance in society titled “Face Off”, jointly organised by Directorate of Culture, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and Hunarkada College of Visual and Performing Arts.
The conference, attended by prominent artists representing literature, visual and performing mediums of art as well as media and journalism is aimed at sensitising society to the growing intolerance.
Rejecting western portrayal of Pakhtun society as extremist and terrorist, Clive Smith said “Guantanamo Bay, where 51 per cent detainees were declared innocent, demonstrates how a so-called civilized society can also be intolerant as detainees are still struggling through life every day.”
Smith emphasised that he felt no fear in Peshawar and proposed building a fully funded memorial for all innocent victims of US drone strikes.
Expressing his anguish at the negative image of the province, K-P Provincial Minister for Information Mian Iftikhar Hussain noted that Pakhtun’s were a peace loving people who have been demonized by foreign elements as extremists.
“Unless the world awakens to our plight and hears our point of view, situation in the region will not normalise,” Hussain added.
Other prominent participants at the workshop were US Consul General in Peshawar Marie Richards, Rahimullah Yusafzai, Jamal Shah, Zeba Bakhtiar, Saad Muhammad, and Prathab Chatterjee.
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