‘Banned outfits must not be allowed to operate’

June 20,2017

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Policy dialogue says action against outlawed organisations should not look ‘a cosmetic measure’

The participants of a policy dialogue recommended on Monday that banned organisations should not be allowed to operate and should strictly be monitored by the state.

They demanded that action against such organisations should not look like a cosmetic measure but the ban should be real.

The ‘First Policy Dialogue on the Charity for Goodness’ was organised at a hotel and hosted by Bargad, an organisation for youth development. It examined the pressing issue of safe charity and ways to delink charity from terror-financing.

The programme director at the Institute of Business Administration, Dr Huma Baqai, moderated the proceedings of the event, which was attended by representatives of the civil society, charity organisations, media and universities.

The policy dialogue is part of the project entitled “Charity for Goodness”, which also plans launching an awareness and dissemination campaign in selected markets of two districts of Karachi.

Renowned journalist Mubashir Zaidi emphasised the need to educate the public and make them aware about the significance of safe charity. He said that campaigns had to be launched to provide knowledge of the peace-loving religion so that people could give charity to right people.

“Such efforts should focus on behavioural and mindset changes and promote acceptance and tolerance of others in the society. We are generally a naïve people and easily believe what the religio-political outfits convey to us in the name of piety and charity.”

Zaidi was of the view that in order to make a large-scale impact, the youth should be involved in social media campaigns, attractive and creative slogans and key messages should be developed and publicised, and the messages should be locally relevant such as “charity for goodness, not for terrorists or beggars”.

Dr Amir Feroz Shamsi from the IoBM pointed out during the policy dialogue that there were three areas for mindset development: school, Masjid/madrasa and curriculum.

He mentioned that the government needed to make changes in the curriculum and purge hateful material against communities living in Pakistan.

Furthermore, Dr Shamsi advised that the government should make basic education about society, youth health and self-esteem part of the curriculum.

Youth activist Abdul Bari said that it was the responsibility of the government, the corporate sector and the civil society to support public awareness about what charity was. “This should especially focus on youth and launch awareness campaigns in educational institutions regarding safe charity. The government should institutionally engage schools in such campaigns.”

Another speaker, Muqtadar Ahmed, said that there was a compelling need to conduct research studies to find linkages between charity and terror-financing in the context of Pakistan.

“A culture of research, critical thinking and dialogue and debate, in general, should be promoted in every aspect of life, particularly in the education institutions. We have to find the main problem, the root of terror-financing through research.”

He also said orientation programmes on safe charity for teachers of schools, colleges and universities were a must. He also called upon the civil society to involve mosques in such efforts. “Sensitisation of the media is another significant area of intervention.”

One of the speakers, Uzma Noorani, said that transportation companies were important stakeholders of safe charity. She demanded that the government should ban all random charity collections within vehicles and trains.

The participants observed that there were practical questions that needed to be answered through research on how local donors would be motivated to give charity for goodness and what would work in this respect.

“Another research question can be to find out what the factors are that our youth are attracted to militant organisations and to look at the recruitment processes and ways to disengage them and mainstream into health activities.”

It was agreed during the policy dialogue that since this was the first year in a long time that people of Karachi would donate independently and freely, it was time to avail this opportunity and launch an awareness campaign on charity.


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