Islamabad - To counter the discourse sympathetic to extremism, there is a need for an alternative discourse built on informed debate, research and ground realities of the present day.

These were some of the common points discussed by leading national experts at launch of two studies of Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS), an Islamabad-based think-tank.

One of the two studies “Reconstruction of the National Narratives and Counter-Violent Extremism Model in Pakistan’ shared findings on reconstructing national narratives along with tabling Counter-Violent Extremism (CVE) model in the country. The narratives and model were evolved after extensive discussions among scholars and experts led by PIPS.

Sharing the findings, PIPS’s Director Muhammad Amir Rana called for holding structured dialogue among scholars and society. He called for holding debates among religious scholars for integrating the National Action Plan in the country’s Counter-Violent Extremism model. “Any discussion on CVE would be useless unless NAP is plugged inside,” he reasoned.

The launch was chaired by Barrister Zafarullah, state minister for law and justice. Commenting on the CVE study, the chair reasoned that the worldview of the religious thinkers is too outdated. That thinking doesn’t resonate with the contemporary order, resulting into violence. Participants also called for creating space for alternative discourses, because of which traditional clergy claims own themselves the interpretation of religion.

The other study ‘Role of Post-Noon Engagements of Madrassa Students in Radical Orientation’ was designed to assess the day-to-day activities of the students after their study hours. It found several tendencies among madrassa students that set them distinct from students of universities, while several of the choices of the madrassa students are similar to those of the university students.

The study’s lead researcher, Dr Qibla Ayaz, former vice chancellor Peshawar University, shared that seminary students use social media like Facebook – as other students do too. Anchor Nadeem argued that the madrassa study reiterate that they are not much different than the general society. Therefore, madrassas along with other educational institutions should be approach afresh.

Other discussants included Dr Ishtiaq Ahmed, Quaid-e-Azam University; General (Retd) Talat Masood, security expert; Zafarullah Khan, parliamentary affairs expert.

This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 21-Jul-2016 here.