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Teachers can play role in promoting social harmony

Lahore:20 March:Teachers can play role in bringing social harmony by enabling students to accept different viewpoints and people, and encouraging them to ask questions of utmost important to society. Otherwise, whatever wrong that ails the society will be accepted without much introspection, resulting in squeezing of powerless segments of the society. These thoughts came in a series of dialogues with teachers on social harmony in Lahore, organised by Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS), an Islamabad-based think tank. Teachers from University of Education, Lahore & Multan campuses, Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan, Islamia University, Bahawalpur and Punjab University. Each dialogue engaged renowned scholars, experts, and specialists. The dialogues discussed the conceptual issues behind extremism in the country. There is a tendency of blaming terrorism and extremism on external forces, even though the causes are very much domestic. Once it is understood that the problem is intrinsic, will a localised solution be sought, it was said. Participants were told that in today’s world, people live in diverse community. A community that is in majority in one is often in minority in another. This in itself calls for embracing each other, it was said. Yet, it was said, diversity was rather subdued in the name of uniformity, which inevitably results in extremism. Teachers noted that students of universities come from diverse socio-economic backgrounds. While there is too much focus on religious extremism, in the campuses, the issue being faced is inability to uphold ethnic diversity. Many clashes in the campuses are between students, who come from far-flung, conflict-affected areas and rest of the mainland. This, it was said, is quite alarming and should be curbed now than later. Teachers and students can be trained on how to uphold diversity of opinion in the classrooms, without touching upon the sensibilities of each other. The participants advised teachers that students be given environment to ask questions. It was also discussed, why students are mentally prepared to accept everything without asking questions. But some teachers showed concern that given the prevalence of narrow ideologies, how could every question be easily answered. The dialogues called for holding regular extra-curricular activities, such as workshops and dialogues on peace and harmony. It was said that those who promote peace and harmony were suspected of having some ulterior agenda. This is wrong approach. Renowned experts and scholars spoke in the dialogues including; Ghazi Salahud-din, Saroop Ejaz, Khalid Masud, A H Nayyar, Ahmer Bilal Soofi, Afrasiab Khattak, Sahibzada Amanat Rasul, Wajahat Masood; Yasir Pirzada, Peter Jacob and Anjum Paul. partnership: A meeting of Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Steering Committee was held at P&D Complex, Lahore under the Chairmanship of Makhdoom Hashim Jawan Bakht, Minister for Finance Punjab. The meeting was attended by Planning & Development Board Chairman Habibur-Rahman Gillani, Member PPP P&D Board Agha Waqar Javed, MPA Mian Tariq Abdullah, MPA Sajid Ahmed, Prof Dr Abid Aman Burki (LUMS) and other senior officials. The committee accorded approval to landmark project of Lahore Ring Road (Southern Loop-III) stretching 08 kms from Adda Plot to Maraka on Multan road in Public Private Partnership mode. The road will be constructed within a period of one year. The minister while speaking on the occasion said this project would stimulate private investment and reduce traffic congestion in Lahore. The Chairman P&D remarked that the road would not only complete the link up to Multan road but will also serve as a bypass for traffic coming from Gujranwala on GT road going to Multan. security: Punjab Additional Chief Secretary Home Captain (R) Fazeel Asghar said protection of Chinese working on various projects in Punjab was the responsibility of the government and security was being provided to them. To check the security arrangement on Quaid-e-Azam Solar Energy Park and other projects, the ACS will visit the sites, said he in a meeting with Chinese Consul at Civil Secretariat. Fazeel said once Chinese land in Pakistan they should ensure their registration on security desk established at airports. For the security of Chinese list be provide to Home Department Punjab, said ACS. The Chinese Council appreciated the concern and offered thank to the officials of Home Department Punjab and government of Punjab on providing security.The news.