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Bilawal Bhutto stresses for tolerance to fight extremist mindset

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KARACHI, May 26: Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has said that the extremist wants to divide us along the fault lines of religion and culture. “As we fight against an extremist mindset within and outside our borders, it is up to our teachers to imbue into their students the true ideals of tolerance,” PPP Chairman stated during inauguration of Senate Hall in Sindh Madressatul Islam University (SMIU) here Friday.

 

Quoting Nelson Mandela, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world,” Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that he was hard pressed to find a truer example of Mandela’s words than the Sindh Madrassatul Islam. “This is the institution that educated some of the most renowned soldiers, dedicated educationalists, fine jurists and visionary leaders who went on to change the course of history of this nation and its peoples. And not only that, but change the very map of the world. For the Quaid e Azam, Mohammad Ali Jinnah himself studied at this campus, in addition to other luminaries including Sir Abdullah Haroon, Sir Ghulam Hussain Hidayatullah, Khan Bahadur Mohammad Ayub Khuhro, and Shaikh Abdul Majid Sindhi, just to name a few.  Today as I stand here, at the threshold of one of the oldest institutions of modern knowledge in the Subcontinent, I am both humbled and filled with pride.”

 

“I take pride in the fact that I am a descendent of Khan Bahadur Hasanali Effendi, and Sir Shahnawaz Bhutto, the Founder of this illustrious institution and one of its finest students who dedicated his life to the fight for Pakistan. Seeing all these bright eyed young people who are currently pursuing their quest for quality higher education gives me renewed hope for a modern and prosperous Pakistan that can compete with bright minds anywhere in the world whilst simultaneously retaining pride in its own history and culture,” he added.

 

PPP Chairman applauded the efforts of the Vice Chancellor, Dr. Mohammad Ali Shaikh, for creating a learning environment conducive to the growth and development of its students, the teachers for providing an opportunity to share their knowledge and experiences with our future generations, and the students themselves dedicated to honing their minds and practical skills, which will serve to bring Pakistan at par with other developed and modern nations.

 

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari pointed out that today the role of the educator was more important than any other time in Pakistan’s history. We must ensure therefore, that our children stand undeterred in their quest for peaceful coexistence of all religions in Pakistan. For it is our diversity that gives strength; The strength to survive; The strength to progress; The strength to prosper, he added.

 

“History is witness to the pivotal role played by the youth in nation building. From Germany to Africa, China to Cuba, young people have striven to achieve their rights, political and religious freedoms, and fight against tyranny. Our very own independence is, in large part, attributed to irrepressible agitations by young people fighting for liberty. From the twelve disciples of Mandela to the Aligarh students, relentless struggle by the youth has changed the face of history.

 

“In these times when the entire world and our country in particular is going through a difficult time in the form of battling extremist elements, it is up to our youth to stand up to these forces and reclaim Pakistan as a progressive and peaceful nation. We must not confuse extremist ideology with religious beliefs. The fact of the matter is that Islam teaches peace, love and brotherhood, forgiveness, and patience, coexistence and tolerance and lauds “Jihad un Nafs,” battling one’s own evils, as the holiest of all endeavors.

 

“The young people of Pakistan, I feel, are particularly lucky. They have as the founder of their nation, a man who understood and appreciated their worth. “Pakistan is proud of her youth, particularly the students, who are nation-builders of tomorrow. They must fully equip themselves by discipline, education, and training for the arduous task lying ahead of them,” said the Quaid-e-Azam as he left the youth of Pakistan with a responsibility and gave them the means of fulfilling it.

 

“And the Pakistan People’s Party is entirely dedicated to providing you the means to fulfill your responsibility to your country. We remain committed to the education and development of Pakistan’s young people. The only way forward for our country is if we excel in every field, be it education, health, technology, or media. We have been striving to provide every child the opportunity to receive quality education in both rural and urban areas through an improved education sector and increased partnerships between private and public institutions. The establishment of SMI University in 2012 was in accordance with the Pakistan Peoples Party’s vision towards improved higher education opportunities for Pakistan’s youth through institutions that would open new doors for research based knowledge building, coupled with opportunities to practice their new found skills and knowledge before applying them to the real world.

 

“An educated nation is a progressive nation. And the Peoples government in Sindh is particularly cognizant of this. I understand therefore that the Sindh Government has made education its top most priority. In addition to considerably increasing its Education budget in 2017, it is now operating on a three-pronged strategy – (i) the improvement of the public sector schools through improvements in our existing systems; (ii) the outsourcing of public sector schools to reputable private organizations (EMOs) under PPP mode through a fair and competitive process. (iii) and finally, (as public sector schools are not sufficient in number to cover the whole population), supporting private sector schools through Sindh Education Foundation, especially in remote areas.

 

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that the basic difference between a good school and a mediocre or below par institution lies in the teachers and how they choose to impart knowledge to the younger generation. If teachers insist on rote learning instead of informed analysis and do not encourage their students to increase their scope of knowledge and learning through impartial and varied research, we will be deprived of a generation of thinkers and innovators, people who break glass ceilings and create new norms to aspire to.

“Inequalities in the education sector exist because of a dearth of motivated teachers who are part of the profession because it is their passion to watch children and young people learn and progress. We need such teachers who wake up every morning imbued with a sense of purpose and knowledge that they are part of building this nation’s future. Inadequacy of resources will always be present in all social sectors, and is given as an excuse for the differences in teaching and learning opportunities in the public and private sector. However, it is my firm belief that dedicated, motivated and enlightened teachers can make all the difference, however meager the resources and however difficult the circumstances. The best curriculum designed by leading educators, highest quality learning materials and grand buildings will fall short without good teachers.

 

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari further said that the students of this nation cannot falter in their mission to take their nation to new heights of glory. “We must be a nation of participants, not simply observers. To make Pakistan a sustainable democracy; to make the world recognize us as a force to reckon with, socially, economically, and technologically; that should be the goal you all leave this exalted institution with,” he added.

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