Education should be used to counter extremism, Education Minister Rana Mashhood said on Monday.
He was addressing a policy seminar at Government College University (GCU) Lahore. The event was organised by Bargad, a non-government organisation (NGO), in collaboration with the Punjab government to remember the martyrs of the Peshawar Attack and to review implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP).
Punjab Finance Minister Dr Ayesha Ghaus Pasha chaired the policy dialogue at the seminar.
Punjab Higher Education Commission Chairman Prof Dr Mohammad Nizamuddin, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan secretary general IA Rehman and writer Amir Raiz gave recommendations for better implementation of the NAP.
Raiz said that some textbooks contained gender and urban bias and promoted religious and communal sectarianism. “They only show women as nurses or teachers and ignore several successful roles, including in arts and as entrepreneur in the modern society,” he said.
Dr Nizamuddin stressed the need to elaborately incorporate the last sermon of Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s speech of August 11, 1947 in school syllabus to eliminate extremism.
IA Rehman said that the NAP should not be considered as the only way to counter terrorism. “It must be continuously reviewed and renewed according to emerging needs and most importantly measures to counter extremism should be given priority in this plan,” he said.
GCU Vice Chancellor Hassan Shah said: “We need poverty alleviation, socioeconomic justice and above all an education system that inculcates love for humanity.”
Later, a large number of GCU students signed a Peace Resolution that read: “We solemnly vow to stand up against violent extremism in Pakistan. We vow to never let 16th December 2014 be repeated. We condemn this heinous tragedy and extend our full support to the government’s efforts being made under the National Action Plan to avoid such atrocities in the future.”
Published in The Express Tribune, December 15th, 2015.