PESHAWAR: Speakers at a conference held here noted that extremism and violence were among the most serious problems facing Pakistan at present, marring the country’s development and progress.

The conference on countering violent extremism was held at the University of Peshawar.

On the occasion, Dr Ayaz Khan, chief coordination officer of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Centre of Excellence on Countering Violent Extremism, said: “Reform, development, and prosperity in society are not possible without controlling extremism and violence.”

Dr Ayaz said the centre of excellence on countering violent extremism was a one-of-a-kind institution around the world that would conduct scientific research on the causes of extremism and its prevention, as well as provide guidance to institutions responsible for eliminating extremism.

On the occasion, Prof Johar Ali, UoP’s dean of social sciences, said the centre would not only provide research support to students, but would also present recommendations in other forums in light of this research.

Prof Hafiz Inamullah, head of Institute of Education and Research, stated that education on countering violent extremism and promoting peace was critical for students and teachers. “Research in various fields of social sciences has been conducted, and the centre of excellence can use this research to launch training programmes in educational institutions.”

Dr Hussain Shaheed Suhrawardy, chairman of UoP’s international relations department, said the thinking of university students had matured and it was rather difficult to change their thinking, whereas at the primary, middle, and high school levels, it was easier to change the thinking and put the students in a positive direction.

He asked the centre to place a greater emphasis on these levels.

Dr Anoosh Khan, chairperson of department of gender studies, proposed experts from relevant fields should be included in the committees of the centre to inculcate their opinions in decision making.

On this occasion, the center’s director general Dr Mohammad Qasim said adequate opportunities had been provided to utilise the input provided by experts in the relevant fields in formation of centre’s rules.

He said a Memorandum of Understanding would be signed between the centre and UoP to benefit from the research work of students and faculty.

Principal of Khyber Law College Prof Inayat Khan offered technical assistance in drafting rules and preparing other legal documents for the centre of excellence.

Published in Dawn, May 28th, 2023

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