KARACHI: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari says that at a time when violent extremism has become the single largest challenge to the world, genuine democracy alone offers the hope to fight the menace.

He was speaking as special guest of honour invited to address a galaxy of international guests, including US congressmen, government officials, decision-makers, corporate CEOs, ambassadors, faith leaders and the people from media, academia and civil society organisations in Washington on Wednesday.

The PPP chairman said moderation versus extremism had become a major fault line in the battle of ideas and Pakistan was in the trenches in this battle.

According to a press release issued by PPP spokesperson Farhatullah Babar, special tributes were paid to former prime minister and PPP chairperson Benazir Bhutto as video clips of her interviews were shown and warm introductory remarks about her by former congressman Frank Wolf before Mr Bhutto-Zardari was invited to the podium to address the gathering.

The international luncheon gathering is part of the National Prayer Breakfast events that takes place in Washington every February.

Today, terrorism, inequality, climate change disoriented the world, Mr Bhutto-Zardari said, adding “the borderless nature of the challenges we face today will force us to unite”.

“Let us not unite only when the crisis has caused incalculable loss,” he said.

“Let us use these trying times as a chance to reflect and re-evaluate our values. There is no other way out,” he added.

Published in Dawn, February 9th, 2018

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