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Youth urged to shed social, ethnic bias

By Bureau report
January 23, 2021

PESHAWAR: A group of university students were urged at a workshop on Friday to shed social, ethnic and political biases and fight against all forms of prejudice.

It was discussed that despite the youth bulge, there had been no workable youth policy to channelise their energies. Blaming the education system, the participants said that it had largely been unable to equip the young minds with necessary social skills to work for the establishment of a peaceful and cohesive society.

In this backdrop, a series of countrywide workshops is being organised for university students on the theme of ‘youth for interfaith harmony.’The workshops were aimed at engaging university students in discussions on questions of interfaith relations, constitution, fundamental rights, positive thinking, and career counseling.

While speaking with workshop participants from ex-FATA in Peshawar, renowned investigative journalist, Azaz Syed, said that the society and the education system in Pakistan drilled biases into the minds of young people.

These biases may relate to social situations or other ethnic and religious groups and may shape social behaviours among young people. He urged workshop participants to learn to recognise what their biases were.

According to Syed, biases sometimes gave birth to intolerance or even hatred on the bases of ethnicity or faith. Therefore, the youth needed to learn acknowledging their social and religious biases towards others.

The workshop participants were also provided an opportunity to interact with successful women professionals such as KP lawmaker, Shagufta Malik, and young woman journalist, Anmol Shiraz.

The women speakers said young women should pursue their dreams like men. The society in Pakistan is largely conservative, and it puts up many challenges to aspiring women, Shagufta Malik said, adding that women should not be intimidated by such social roadblocks.

During the workshop, the participants were also shown a video documentary on the recent destruction of the Hindu Samadhi in Karak, KP.

The documentary was filmed by famous journalist, Sabookh Syed, in the immediate aftermath of the incident. The documentary show was followed by an intense debate on interfaith relations in Pakistan in which the participants expressed their views both on the Karak incident and the overall interfaith situation in Pakistan.

It was promising that most of the university students were found tolerant towards other faiths. The ‘youth for interfaith harmony’ drive is organized by the Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS) – an Islamabad-based research and advocacy think-tank.