LAHORE - Around 250 young activists from all over Pakistan gathered at Ali Institute on Khudi’s second Annual Festival of Ideas. The second day of the festival focused on ‘Conflict resolution: Hopes and Fears’.

Former KPK minister Mian Ifthikhar Hussain delivered a keynote speech on how to counter militancy and Talibanization. In a moving address, he was critical of the policy of dialogue. Speaking of PTI’s strategy he said, “Imran Khan has not taken any step for dialogue so far and did not approach any of the 53 factions of Taliban that are believed to exist.” He continued, “If a political worker like himself could point out offices of the Taliban, how come current governments were not able to do that.” He further said, “If a paradigm shift in our strategy towards militancy and extremism is not brought about, the sacrifices of more than 800 of ANP workers will go in vain.”

In another panel discussion, Haider Farooq Maududi, the son of founder of Jamaat-e-Islami Maulana Abu al Ala Moududi said, “The misuse of religion has made Pakistan a hell”. He said “Pakistan was not result of a religious conflict but that of a political one.” He also explained why there was a need to separate religion from state matters. The other speakers including Tanveer Jahan, Tahir Wadood Malik and Sulaiman Mandran agreed.

Earlier, a panel discussion titled ‘democratic transition: hopes and fears’, which consisted of Tahir Mehdi, Fahd Husain and Dr Taimur Rehman stressed that democracy was not only a form of governance but it’s a code and a way of life.

“To bring a true democratic change, the democratic culture has to be established at all levels including homes and workplaces,” they were of the view.

Towards the end the audience was divided into four committees to discuss various regional and international conflicts that Pakistan faces. The committees discussed in detail civil-military, Pak-India, and Pak-US relations, along with issue of militancy.

Afterwards, cultural and musical performances were held which gave participants a chance to experience and appreciate cultural diversity. Pakistan’s famous musical band Mekaal Hassan also performed at the occasion.

The festival will end on Sunday (today). Prominent speakers of Sunday’s sessions include Ayaz Amir, Murtaza Solangi, Wajahat Masood, Saroop Ijaz, Dr Daanish Mustafa and Yasser Latif Hamdani.