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Karachi

September 13, 2017

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‘Karachi University to set up counselling centre to counter radicalisation’

‘Karachi University to set up counselling centre to counter radicalisation’

To battle on-campus radicalisation and other psychological issues, the University of Karachi on Tuesday decided establishing a Community Counselling Centre at the varsity’s Department of Psychology, for its students and faculty of staff.

The step was taken after some students and faculty members of the university were reportedly found involved in acts of terrorism and promoting intolerance in the city. As per an official of the university, now was the right time to deal with growing radicalisation before it affects a greater number of students, faculty and other staff of the varsity.

With over 1,600 students enrolled at the university in both morning and evening shifts, there are hundreds of faculty and non-faculty members that interact with the students daily. According to claims of law enforcing agencies, proscribed organisations had established sleeper cells in higher education institutes and were recruiting workforce from these institutes without any interruption.

“On our recommendation, KU Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Ajmal Khan has approved the establishment of a Community Counselling Center (CCC),” Department of Psychology Chairperson Dr Farah Iqbal told The News.

She clarified that the centre will not be providing clinical services in the first phase and that the plan is to counsel frustrated students, faculty members and staff to help them deal with their mental stresses and to keep them from ‘falling into wrong hands’.

“Despite growing frustration, nobody is willing to listen to these youngsters and so they become members of organisations which use them for their own purposes and nefarious designs. If given proper attention and counselling, these youngsters can be prevented from working for such anti-social elements,” Dr Farah claimed. Being a trained and qualified psychological counsellor, Dr Farah said the department has at least 40 qualified counsellors who can give quality mental healthcare to people at the campus.

She claimed that KU administration had given them a go-ahead and that the VC has even suggested naming it after late Prof Dr Haider Rizvi - one of the finest psychologists the department has produced; he passed away a few years ago. However, Dr Farah shared that they were currently dealing with logistics to make the centrr functional within the next few weeks.

Finances required

Considering the poor financial condition of the varsity, KU was unable to provide monetary support to the department and has asked the faculty to raise funds through philanthropists and former students, Dr Farah revealed.

“It is not that the university does not support the idea, but it is at the moment facing extreme financial crisis and is unable to arrange for salaries of the staff,” she said.

Terming it a national cause, she appealed to philanthropists to provide funds for establishing the counselling centre.

“I also request the industrial sector, especially pharmaceuticals to help the varsity set up the counselling centre so that we can help the society get rid of radicalisation, extremism and religious intolerance,” Dr Farah observed.

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