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Raizul Haq

The Express Tribune

Published Date: Feb 11, 2015

Shared destiny: Call to move beyond war, destruction

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Afghanistan are united by identical political, territorial and cultural bonds and the two neighbours must strive to tackle issues of human security and access to education.  

This was stressed by speakers at a conference, “Education and human security framework in Afghanistan and Pakistan” held here on Tuesday. They urged civil society and governments of the two countries to realise that it was time to move beyond war and destruction.

The speakers argued in favour of ensuring inclusive and hatred-free societies by introducing necessary reforms, especially in educational curricula.

Security analyst Dr Riffat Hussain contended that now war and conflict in the region was a discourse that prevailed over all other discussions, saying that problems in South Asia were multi-pronged.

“Territorial boundaries in South Asia have become walls instead of bridges. There is no direct flight, if one wanted to go to any capital in the region,” Hussain remarked.

He urged for more funding for health and education sectors instead of a defence buildup.

Massouda Jalal, former minister of women’s affairs spoke about war in the country and its effects on common people.

She suggested reconstructing mindsets that did not promote violence.

Khadim Hussain from Bacha Khan Trust said that peace was not possible in societies where invaders were glorified and the phenomenon of martyrdom was sensationalised in textbooks.

He urged cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan in public policy and governance.

National Commission for Status of Women Chairperson Khawar Mumtaz said that the women had been the main victim in every conflict.

She also urged the two governments to make changes in educational curricula.

Abid Suleri of the Sustainable Development Policy Institute questioned Hussain’s suggestion regarding promoting intelligence sharing between Afghanistan and Pakistan as a useless phrase while accusations, counter accusations on both sides existed.

After detailed discussions, the forum agreed on 15 recommendations which included making efforts for inclusion of contents such as respect for human rights, peaceful coexistence, tolerance, social justice, social and interfaith harmony, in textbooks of both countries.

The speakers also urged focusing on cultural exchange programmes between the two countries.

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