Islamabad : Federal Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal said on Thursday that conflicts hinder progress, while extremism and intolerance lead to the path of destruction.
He was addressing the concluding ceremony of a two-day International Islamic Conference on Peace jointly organized by the International Islamic Institute for Peace and Islamic Research Institute (IRI) of the International Islamic University (IIU). The minister said the world faced the menace of intolerance, extremism, and radicalisation, while negative elements took advantage of it to cause unrest in societies.
"Peaceful coexistence should be our first priority," he said. The minister said the solution to differences of opinion was not violence but dialogue. "The path to peace cannot be found without mutual tolerance and forbearance," he said.
The minister also said knowledge, research, and curiosity were the attributes that guaranteed one’s success. He said Muslims should seriously address their weaknesses with self-accountability. "The Muslim world must work to make the societies peaceful, prudent, and knowledgeable. We [Muslims] had a legacy of knowledge but are currently left behind in the field of knowledge. We have to ensure the return of that glory," he said.
The minister said every Pakistani believed in the supremacy of law and knows that the Constitution has sanctity. "We must meaningfully implement the Constitution." The minister said the development and stability of the country depended on youth. He said Pakistani youth had the potential to make the country a place of peace, prosperity, and tolerance.
“Let’s discourage polarization and keep our youth away from narrow-mindedness and prejudice,” he said. Ahsan Iqbal said scholars and researchers can work together with policymakers to come up with the best solution to curb extremism and conflicts. He said the mandate of this Islamic Conference for Peace was also to promote peace through research and scholars. The minister also lauded the leadership of the IIU and the efforts of the IRI in promoting peace.
IIU Rector Dr. Masoom Yasinzai said it was the time for universities to come forward to play their role and involve students in constructive activities. He said the universities had to come up with solutions to the problems by adapting themselves to the needs of society. "Researchers and scholars from all over Pakistan participated in the conference which is a positive development," he said. IRI DG Dr. Zia-ul-Haq said the conference was held to serve the cause of defeating hatred and establishing peace.