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EU envoy attends TDEA conference

Chargé d’affaires a.i. European Union Delegation Anne Marchal with speakers at the conference.
Chargé d’affaires a.i. European Union Delegation Anne Marchal with speakers at the conference.

Chargé d’affaires a.i. European Union Delegation to Pakistan Anne Marchal gave the keynote address at a conference on how to ensure peaceful and tolerant campuses.

The conference was organised by the Trust for Democratic Education and Accountability (TDEA) in collaboration with the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII). The conference was supported by the European Union Delegation under its project Advocacy and Legal Aid for Religious Minorities.

Ms Marchal said that the EU believed that education was the key to uniting nations and reforming societies into progressive and inclusive ones, as “university campuses being centres of ideas, innovation and knowledge-creation, can play a vital role in inculcating the values of responsible citizenship, peace, tolerance, harmony, pluralism and co-existence among the youth and the future leaders of any given society.”

She added that the EU was pleased to engage with key stakeholders on the theme of peaceful and tolerant university campuses.

The conference had 39 participants, including academics, students, civil society representatives and international donor organisations. The speakers pointed out that intolerance was tackled incorrectly, especially in Pakistan, and said that the university management and faculties should themselves display tolerance to reinforce positive behaviour among students.

Dr. Qibla Ayaz, head of the CII and the conference chair, said: “A peaceful campus is one where the university management, faculty, and students are in constant mental synergy with each other, respect each other’s opinions, and accept them as well. Contrary to the present trend, whatever opinions people have in that premise must not be enforced on others since that results in indoctrinated minds, rather than creative, progressive minds.”

High commissioner shares Eid message

British High Commissioner Christian Turner.
British High Commissioner Christian Turner.

British High Commissioner Christian Turner shared a video message on Eidul Azha almost entirely in Urdu. He said: “This Eid reminds us of the importance of sacrifice. We all have sacrificed much during the coronavirus.“

Standing in an empty sports ground, he added: “We have sacrificed sports. The upcoming Pakistan and England cricket series is very important. It shows that we will knock the disease for a six.”

“We have also sacrificed being together with our loved ones. I am sad that I have not travelled around all of Pakistan but these sacrifices are paying off with lower [Covid-19] cases in Pakistan,” he added.

Reiterating the importance of staying safe and the need for extra caution on this special occasion, he added: “Bari Eid par bari hifazat zaroori hai.”

He also talked about the sacrifice of international travel, and shared that British Airways was resuming its flights from Pakistan, which is a manifestation of the Pakistan-United Kingdom friendship.

Japanese envoy greets Pakistanis on Eid

Japanese Ambassador Matsuda Kuninori.
Japanese Ambassador Matsuda Kuninori.

Ambassador of Japan Matsuda Kuninori shared a message expressing his wishes to the people of Pakistan on Eidul Azha.

Ambassador Kuninori said: “On behalf of the government and the people of Japan, I would like to convey our warm greetings and best wishes to all the people of Pakistan on the occasion of Eidul Azha and theHaj pilgrimage.”

Reiterating the significance of the occasion, he added that Eidul Azha celebrates the Muslim devotion to God and underscores the importance of the spirit of sacrifice and compassion as was demonstrated by Prophet Ibrahim.

He said: “Let me take this opportunity to renew my resolve that Japan will always stand by Pakistan through thick and thin like a trusted partner. No matter it is the challenge of the coronavirus pandemic, locust invasion or frequent flooding, Japan stands committed to working together with the government and the people of Pakistan both in times of peace and in the face of any emergency.”

Published in Dawn, August 4th, 2020