Intolerance hindering socio-economic uplift, moot told

KARACHI: Faculty of Art Dean, Dr Moonis Ahmar in a one-day conference on ‘The Role of Tolerance in a Multicultural Society’ in Karachi University said that intolerance has gripped the roots of our multicultural society and has caused immense effects on socio-economy and national harmony.
Dr Moonis Ahmar said that every state had their cultural conflicts in the world but those states that gave respect to opponents’ view, appeared successful along with national harmony.
Pakistan Studies Director Syed Jaffar Ahmed said that of all the challenges being faced by Pakistan today, the menace of intolerance is much more dangerous for national integration and development of the country.
“The causes behind intolerance are manifold, rooted both in our past socio-political history as well as a number of policy decisions taken at the state-level in contemporary times,” expressed Syed Jaffar Ahmed. The conference was organised in collaboration with Higher Education of Pakistan and the Faculty of Art, Karachi University.
VM Institute for Education Dean, Dr Bernadette said, “We live in an era of unprecedented intolerance.” She strongly condemned the structure of education systems that promoted inequity in educational opportunity for rich, poor, urban and rural. She also revealed that different curriculum; textbooks and examinations results reduce opportunity for social mobility, increasing social justice leading to intolerance, sectarianism and extremism.
Department of Sociology Representative, Dr Fateh Muhammad Burfat shared his views with a large number of students that Sindh which had so far been a peaceful part of Pakistan for Hindus, Christians, Ahmedis, and other religious minorities, is now slowly falling into the hands of exclusivists, adding that Sindh was once the land of Sufis and saints, but now it seems to be becoming a land of bigotry and intolerance. 
Lahore University of Management Sciences guest speaker, Dr Mohammed Waseem read his paper on meeting the challenges to national harmony in Pakistan. He said that during the last six decades, the ideological framework of Pakistan had moved from a tangible position of de-conflation between religion and politics to an intangible position of conflation between the two. He boldly expressed, “State must not allow the use of religion for political purposes and thus uphold Jinnah’s ideology of de-conflation between religion and politics.” While addressing the conference, the eminent journalist Babar Ayaz expressed that the exploitation of religion had created sectarian intolerance and bred violence. He surfaced that political intolerance and fear of the majority was deeply ingrained within society that used religion to achieve political objectives by the ruling classes of this country.
Department of IR Assistant Professor, Dr Farhan Hanif Saiddiqi expressed that Pakistan’s ethno-political history was littered with non-dominant ethnic groups protesting, often violently, the centralised-authoritarian nature of the country’s political system.
Karachi University Department of Visual Studies Incharge, Durriya Qazi shared her views in context of tolerance in Art. She expressed that art could play a vital role in addressing the ever-growing ratio of intolerance in our society. She said that the state needed to devise such policies that would directly affect at grass root level. Faculty of Islamic Studies Dean, Dr Shakeel Auj said, “The intolerance in our society resulted after the dissemination of religious teaching in their own interest.” He exampled the Holy Prophet (PBUH) as a role model of the teachings of Islamic ideology.

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