Asset 1

Global Go To Think Tank Index (GGTTI) 2020 launched                    111,75 Think Tanks across the world ranked in different categories.                SDPI is ranked 90th among “Top Think Tanks Worldwide (non-US)”.           SDPI stands 11th among Top Think Tanks in South & South East Asia & the Pacific (excluding India).            SDPI notches 33rd position in “Best New Idea or Paradigm Developed by A Think Tank” category.                SDPI remains 42nd in “Best Quality Assurance and Integrity Policies and Procedure” category.              SDPI stands 49th in “Think Tank to Watch in 2020”.            SDPI gets 52nd position among “Best Independent Think Tanks”.                           SDPI becomes 63rd in “Best Advocacy Campaign” category.                   SDPI secures 60th position in “Best Institutional Collaboration Involving Two or More Think Tanks” category.                       SDPI obtains 64th position in “Best Use of Media (Print & Electronic)” category.               SDPI gains 66th position in “Top Environment Policy Tink Tanks” category.                SDPI achieves 76th position in “Think Tanks With Best External Relations/Public Engagement Program” category.                    SDPI notches 99th position in “Top Social Policy Think Tanks”.            SDPI wins 140th position among “Top Domestic Economic Policy Think Tanks”.               SDPI is placed among special non-ranked category of Think Tanks – “Best Policy and Institutional Response to COVID-19”.                                            Owing to COVID-19 outbreak, SDPI staff is working from home from 9am to 5pm five days a week. All our staff members are available on phone, email and/or any other digital/electronic modes of communication during our usual official hours. You can also find all our work related to COVID-19 in orange entries in our publications section below.    The Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) is pleased to announce its Twenty-third Sustainable Development Conference (SDC) from 14 – 17 December 2020 in Islamabad, Pakistan. The overarching theme of this year’s Conference is Sustainable Development in the Times of COVID-19. Read more…       FOOD SECIRITY DASHBOARD: On 4th Nov, SDPI has shared the first prototype of Food Security Dashboard with Dr Moeed Yousaf, the Special Assistant to Prime Minister on  National Security and Economic Outreach in the presence of stakeholders, including Ministry of National Food Security and Research. Provincial and district authorities attended the event in person or through zoom. The dashboard will help the government monitor and regulate the supply chain of essential food commodities.

Pakistan in the grips of fanaticism
By: Dr. Abid Qaiyum Suleri
The recently launched Pakistan Human Development Report 2018 indicates that almost half the young people surveyed did not feel it was okay to have friendly relations with people from other religions. Many more felt that people of other religions should not be allowed to establish places of worship (a right guaranteed to them in our Constitution) and should not be allowed to preach their religion. This is the state of inter-faith harmony in this country.
Studies undertake by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute also reveal an equally bleak state of affairs. Anyone can question another’s’ faith, make allegations of some wrongdoing and that is all that is needed to raise a charged mob ready to eliminate the ‘infidel’. Forget about any enquiry into the accusation.
In fact, religious extremism and intolerance has spread widely in our society and especially among our youth. This continues, despite the fact that we have a National Action Plan’s (NAP) to combat extremism. The sad reality is that a sizeable percentage of the population is neither willing to accept pluralism, nor believes in inter-faith harmony. All of this makes the chances of NAP’s success rather bleak.
Easily available firearms and unregulated social media where bigots and demagogues are free to malign anyone are all that is needed to throw a country into chaos. The attack on Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal in his home constituency by a 21 year old man who admitted to being inspired by inflammatory content and hate speech was not just an attempted assassination, it was the result of deliberate attempts to spread anarchy.
Luckily, the minister survived the attack. However, I fear that this will not be a one off incident. Because of mainstream and social media, we know that a few other members of the cabinet are also on the Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan’s (TLP) hit list.
The attack on Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal by a 21-year-old man who was inspired by inflammatory content and hate speech was not just an attempted assassination it was a result of deliberate attempts to spread anarchy
Intolerance in general and religious intolerance in particular is not confined to any particular group or segment of society. You can find intolerant elements among all political forces, be they are on treasury or opposition benches (we all know who incited the masses and who showed solidarity with TLP on the floor of parliament). You may find them among our civil and military establishments, among academia, among media persons, and in our society at large.
Mashal Khan’s lynching in a University is a recent example of where unfettered religious bigotry can lead us. I had once written that Salmaan Taseer could have been alive, had prompt action been taken against the religious leader who incited the Gojra carnage. He could have been alive if there was public condemnation by all political parties of the attack on Ahmadis in Lahore. He could have been alive had the government initiated an action against the person who announced a cash reward for killing Aasia Bibi. He would have been alive had our media promoted the cause of respecting religious diversity.
Things have gone from bad to worse. It seems like any fringe group can hold the federal capital hostage for weeks. The state seems to have lost its authority over anyone using religion as a slogan. This is happening because there is no unity among the state, the political class, and the society on the issue of religious extremism. Scared of political backlash and the personal security of its members, the government has been unable to take any action against those blackmailing the country in the name of religion.
During the 2013 general elections, the PPP and ANP were vulnerable to extremist attacks and could not run their campaign. This time it is the PML-N which is in the extremist forces’ crosshairs. It is quite clear that the buck will not stop here. If political forces do not unite to combat religious intolerance and extremism, then the next government too, will have to surrender to extremist groups and face similar vulnerabilities.
This state of affairs is painful for every sensible Pakistani who knows that getting rid of extremism is key to eliminating terrorism. However, silently bearing this pain will not help any of us. Extremist forces are trying to mute every voice of reason. We need to say enough is enough and support the state to stand and rise against fanaticism in order to secure this country for our future generations.

Source: https://dailytimes.com.pk/237963/pakistan-in-the-grips-of-fanaticism/

This article was originally published at:

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint or stance of SDPI.