National Youth Conference on countering violent extremism on campuses starts

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ISLAMABAD,July 11 (APP) :National Youth Conference started here Wednesday with an objective to engage students and faculty members from prominent universities and madaris for devising a pakistan specific national strategy for countering on-campus religious extremism.

National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) has arranged the two-day Conference entitled ‘Countering Violent Extremism on Campuses’ which will be vital for strategizing a coordination framework within which universities, Higher Education Commission (HEC), and civil society may work in tandem to eradicate extremism on university campuses through programmes that promote exclusivity and peaceful coexistence.

At an inaugural session, National Coordinator NACTA, Dr. Muhammad Suleman Khan said the Authority has already launched a Youth Engagement Programme (YEP) and adopted much more vigorous approach to prevent youth from falling to violent extremism.

He said the central and core principle of youth engagement strategy of NACTA revolves around preventing violent extremism.

The Authority also planned short and long-term strategy and in first phase of short-term programme, 46 universities both public and private across the country have been identified.

Dr. Suleman said Pakistan’s youth, who in number are 62 per cent of total population will have to come forward against the ongoing war on terror by engaging themselves in positive activities, eliminating hate and extremist culture from society, especially from amongst students of universities and madaris.

He said the Conference will be followed by deliberations with relevant stakeholders and experts for formulating policy recommendations and devising practical action plans for their implementation.

The first day of the Conference ended upon disbursing of participants into ten Thematic Group Discussions to compile recommendations on Day second for final suggestions and guidelines to devise a comprehensive policy against violent extremism in our educational institutions.

Around 200 participants from all over Pakistan are attending the Conference, amongst them are Vice Chancellors, Faculty Members, Students Senior Office holders of various educational and vocational institutes including some of prominent Madaris students and faculty members of more than 25 universities.

Dr. Suleman Khan also condemned terror attack at Peshawar where innocent civilians were exercising their basic right of choosing democratic government of their own choice.

“It was a coward act of a fistful extremist personsfilled with hatred and vicious agenda, it is that evil mindsetagainst which we all have gathered here today,” he said.

APP/Zub