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Sherry Rehman chairs the National Knowledge Seminar organised by SFCG and SDPI

by: Sherry Rehman

Islamabad – October 1, 2013: Representatives from major political parties, civil society organizations, media and international development institutions have called for upholding the rule of law, protecting the state’s writ, and reducing societal intolerance for restoring peace in Pakistan.

They expressed these views at a knowledge seminar titled “Peace building in Pakistan: Conflict Challenges, Lessons Learned and Opportunities for Collaboration” which was organized by the Search For Common Ground (SFCG) Pakistan in collaboration with SDPI on Tuesday. Purpose of the event was to share and discuss key findings of two nationwide research studies conducted on attitudes and perceptions of citizens on issues of conflict, violence and peace.

Chaired by former Pakistan Ambassador to the U.S. Sherry Rehman and EU Charge de Affaires, Johan Sorensen, the seminar’s second session featured a robust discussion amongst distinguished participants representing major political parties, government, civil society, media and international development institutions. Participants sought common ground by deliberating upon multiple dimensions of ongoing violence in Pakistan and its linkages with political and religious ideologies, terrorism and extremism, security challenges, social justice and cohesion, poverty and access to education and basic amenities.

Moderated by Dr. MoeedPirzada, the seminar’s inaugural session was chaired by Danish Ambassador to Pakistan, Jesper M. Sorensen, and Chairman Senate Standing Committee MushahidHussainSayed.

The studies provide important data on perceptions of youth, community leaders, policymakers and media, and reflect what role these actors are playing at the societal level to reduce violence, resolve conflicts and create social harmony.

Senator Farhatullah Babar (PPP), Senator AfrasiabKhattak (ANP), Daniyal Aziz (PML-N), SherhryarAfridi (PTI), LiaquatBaloch (JI), Faisal Sabzwari (MQM), Jan Achakzai (JUI-F), Dr. JehanzenJamaldini (BNP-M), Khalid Aziz, Maj. Gen. (r) Athar Abbas, Khalid Aziz, Amin Hashwani, ZahidHussain, Raza Khan, RaziqFahim, Dr. AminehHoti,AsadMunir, Adnan Sher, and ArshiSaleemwere among key speakers on the occasion.

The speakers also addressed key questions on strategic approaches to counter and prevent violence, prevailing challenges and the need for collaborative efforts by stakeholders to achieve “accumulative impact” for peace building.

Focusing on the crucial role of youth, political leaders and media in creating a progressive, democratic and tolerant culture in Pakistan, the speakers agreed on an urgent national need for upholding the rule of law, protecting the state’s writ, and reducing societal intolerance for restoring peace in Pakistan.

The participants agreed that the nation needs to come together to create a legacy for Pakistan that inspires its youth to lead a different life by engaging with one another in more meaningful ways.