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Aga Khan advocates pluralism

December 06, 2006

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LAHORE, Dec 5: Aga Khan Development Network will continue to support development of different sectors in Pakistan, especially education and health.

This was stated by Prince Karim Aga Khan while speaking at a briefing given to him by Punjab Chief Secretary Salman Siddique at the Governor’s House here on Tuesday.

Governor Khalid Maqbool, Planning and Development chairman Suleman Ghani, Planning and Development secretary Sohail Ahmad and AKDN officials were also present on the occasion.

The prince said: “We believe that these development steps should have a measurable impact on the lives of people.”

He said environment in Pakistan was now conducive for the working of the organisations endeavouring for the development of different sectors in society.

Talking about poverty in developing countries, he said problems of the pockets of the poor population should be tackled on a priority basis.

Stressing the need for the promotion of pluralism of Islamic civilisation, the prince said the spirit of the knowledge society was the spirit of pluralism — a readiness to accept the other, indeed to learn from him, to see difference as an opportunity rather than a threat.

He said AKDN had set up an institute in London which was teaching an MA course in Islamic civilisation. He said Ummah also needed to move into the knowledge society.

He said AKDN was planning to set up a network of schools in 14 to 16 countries of Asia and Africa, adding these educational institutions would provide world-class education. These schools would ultimately be linked to the university system, he said.

The prince suggested that there should be a continuous interaction between the officials of the network and the Punjab government to work out plans for cooperation in the fields of education, health and urban development.

Aga Khan said the management of education and health sectors was important, adding the Aga Khan Development Network could set up two management schools in Pakistan, one for under-graduate courses and the other for higher education.

Governor Khalid Maqbool said AKDN had been playing an important role in the promotion of health and education sectors in Pakistan, besides empowering the disadvantaged groups of society.