Islamabad-Speakers at a one-day workshop here on Wednesday stressed the need for immediate steps to rein in growing tendency of extreme behaviours among the vulnerable younger generation in the country. The workshop titled “School Faculty Training for Peace Building” held at the House of Light School in Bara Kahu was organized to identify the growing tendencies of extreme behaviours in younger generation of lower middle and lower class as well as help the faculty of schools to take steps required to manage deviant behaviours and the drivers of extremism through different techniques, including the anger management.

Islamic Research Institute (IRI) Director Dr Aftab and Sabahat and Prof Qaiser from the Quaid-e-Azam University spoke on the occasion. While addressing the ceremony, they said the violent extremism is not caused by any single factor or grievance but it grows out of an intolerant world view in which violence is the primary medium of exchange and society is a means to an end. They said there are several ‘push’ and ‘pull’ factors operating within fragile, oppressive or conflict-affected environments that help explain this phenomenon. “Marginalization, grievances and experiences of injustice or corruption also push individuals towards violent behaviours,” they said.

The speakers said that the faculty of schools can hugely contribute towards nation building and making Pakistan a place where wisdom, peace and harmony prevails. They said the teachers as agents of peace can address the legacy of violent behaviours in contexts where religion, sect and ethnicity have mitigated against the promotion of social cohesion in the society. “School and classroom need to be used to engage students for bringing about a mindset change. Students need to be taught about tolerance and how they can live and co-exist with other people from other faiths and from other cultures,” they said.

“Violent extremism seeks to destroy the foundation of humanity. ‘Hard power’ is not enough to counter a threat that draws on exclusive visions of the world and builds on false interpretations of faith, hatred and intolerance. We need ‘soft power’ to win this battle.

We need to educate a new generation of peace fighters with the skills and knowledge they need to respond to those who distort history, culture and religion,” they said, and added that teachers can play a vital role in achieving this objective. The speakers also threw light on the ‘Paigham-e-Pakistan’ initiative of the government of Pakistan which they said was the best tool to deal with growing extremism and intolerance in the society. They said the basic objective of the initiative was to promote peace, harmony and friendly relations among various segments of the society and stressed the need for a concerted effort to disseminate the message of Paigham-e-Pakistan initiative among all segments of the society across the country.