islamabad - To root out extremism, state players, civil society and religious stakeholders should hold multi-pronged dialogues on critical philosophical issues of the state and society producing ‘National Charter of Peace’. The document will greatly curb extremist ideologies in the country.

These thoughts were suggested by a working group discussing ‘National Dialogue and Social Contract’. This was the 3rd dialogue in a series conducted by Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS), an Islamabad-based think tank, on countering extremism in the country.

The group suggested that three separate dialogue forums should be constituted, one each for the state, civil society, and religious stakeholders. These different forums should debate the critical philosophical tensions in the country. Some of the themes these forums may discuss are about relation between state and religion, state and society, state and citizen, and so on.

The ultimate objective, it was suggested, should be to produce the ‘National Charter of Peace’, which lays down the mechanism for achieving peace and harmony in the country and diagnosing the wrongs committed in the past.

The working group argued that any dialogue convened should uphold the constitution of Pakistan.

Some of them argued that the constitution requires certain fundamental changes, and those changes should be brought about through the mechanism enriched in the constitution.

The outcomes of such dialogue forums should be disseminated widely, engaging a broad range of stakeholders such as media, schoolteachers, lawyers, and even religious hardliners.

Meanwhile, several other stakeholders may be engaged in their own dialogues too. A group member called for an urgent dialogue on reforming curriculum, to rid it of the content that can radicalize the students.

Members of the group included Afrasiab Khattak, former senator, Dr Qibla Ayaz, former vice chancellor, Peshawar University, Dr Raghib Naeemi from Jamia Naeemia, Rashad Bukhari, Dr A H Nayyar, Dr Ejaz Ahmed Samdani from Darul Uloom Karachi, Niaz Hussain Naqvi, Romana Bashir, Farzana Bari, Yasir Pirzada, Harris Khalique, Rahat Malik, Dr Zia-ul-Haq, Director General Islamic Research Institute, International Islamic University, Islamabad, Khusheed Nadeem, and Muhammad Amir Rana, director, PIPS.