Youths from diverse faiths, cultures learn leadership skills

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Zubair Qureshi

Islamabad—Representatives of different faiths and from different regions of Pakistan got together in one place sharing their culture and initiating lifelong relationships at a cultural night organized by Mehergarh during a training session.
Over 30 youth leaders from different parts of the country like Gilgit-Baltistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), FATA, Punjab and Sindh are attending the eight-day training organized by Mehergarh. The selected participants from Baluchistan could not make it because of the province wide transport strike.
Dr. Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, MNA PML-N while attending the cultural night expressed his pleasure at meeting a cross-section of individuals hailing from different provinces and belonging to different faiths.
The objective of this training was to instill the principles of democracy among these future leaders so that they can strengthen their country; a country where people of different faiths, rich and poor, weak and strong can exercise their rights as equal citizens. The participants learned leadership and activism as a tool to counter militancy and promoting acceptance for each other. The residential setting provided them an opportunity to connect with each other and learn how issues in other provinces are being dealt with.
Dr. Khadim Husain, Executive Director, Baacha Khan Educational Foundation shared his knowledge and experiences of militancy; how to recognize and counter it. Mr. Zafarullah Khan, who has recently been appointed as the Executive Director of Pakistan Institute of Parliamentary Services talked about Fundamental Rights of Citizens as given in the constitution of Pakistan. Amir Rana, security and political analyst and the Director of Pak Institute for Peace Studies talked about the impact of militancy on political processes of Pakistan. Dr. Kamran Ahmad talked about our pluralistic heritage and how to incorporate it back into our lives.
Owais Tauheed a very senior journalist gave out the certificates to all the participants at the end of the training. He told the young leaders to to be true to themselves, their professions and to their country. He also asked them to keep their eyes open, see what is happening around them, analyze and pay attention to the complexities of situations if they really want to do something about them.
The participants from FATA who were a little nervous at the beginning of the training, not sure what it would be like living with such a diverse group for a whole week, were hugging their newly formed Hindu friends from interior Sindh at the end of eight days. They taught them Pashto songs and learnt Sindhi songs in addition to attending extended sessions on serious topics like Principles of Democracy, Political Social and Religious Narratives that shape our society.
Participants included representatives from the feudal background as well as haaris (field workers) from interior Sindh; were grateful to Mehergarh for providing them this opportunity to get to know one another.

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