Punjab University (PU) Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Asghar Zaidi has called upon the need to restore student unions and said that there was a need to initiate a great national dialogue to create harmony, eliminate polarization and sentiments of hatred from our society.

He was addressing a one-day symposium on “Grand National Dialogue on Pakistan’s Political and Governance Issues: Navigating for a Sustainable Future” organized by Punjab University Department of Political Science at Al Rsazi Hall. On this occasion, Chief Executive Officer PILDAT Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, former Governor Punjab Lt Gen (R) Khalid Maqbool, former Ambassador Shahid Malik, senior journalist Salman Ghani, Professor Emeritus Dr Hassan Askari Rizvi, Chairperson Department of Political Science Prof Dr Iram Khalid, faculty members and students were present.

In his address, Dr Zaidi said that we have to create an environment in our educational institutions where there is freedom of speech and this program was just a beginning. He said that it was our responsibility to highlight the intellectual thinking of the youth for a sustainable future. He said that our young students were very talented and to produce the best leadership to run the country, student organizations should be restored, which could help create leadership abilities among the young students.

He said that young students should be given due representation in the Syndicate and Senate of the universities as well so that they could raise their voice for their rights. He said that no nation could develop without promoting research culture and creation of new knowledge is the primary responsibility of universities. He said that everyone had to play a role to end chaos, conflict and hatred from the country.

Lt Gen (R) Khalid Maqbool said that every institution of Pakistan liked constructive criticism and moved forward by learning. He said that Pakistan was no less than a blessing for us where women, children, minorities and all the people from all school of thoughts were getting their rights. He said that Pakistan was not a failed state in anyway but we had progressed in many fields in the last 75 years. He said that the martyrs of the Pakistan Army controlled terrorism by sacrificing their lives.

Shahid Malik said that the failure of diplomacy depends on the country’s conditions. He said that the charter of governance and national dialogue was necessary to bring the country out of the economic crisis and create harmony. He said that to eliminate extremism from the country and speed up work on CPEC, further steps must be taken. He said that it was a good omen to organize such events for the governments to make better policies and promote a correct narrative.

Ahmed Bilal Mehboob said that the power of decisions in the country should be given to the elected members. He said that a lot of money was spent on elections, so it is the responsibility of the state institutions to ensure transparency in the polls. He said that the government must focus on human resource, trade and exports to strengthen the economy.

Dr Iram Khalid said that the purpose of organizing the symposium was to provide students with the knowledge about the political and historical background of Pakistan. She said that mobilizing the youth in politics was the guarantee of a strong Pakistan. Salman Ghani, Dr Hasan Askari Rizvi, Dr Shabbir Ahmed Khan and others also expressed their views in the event.

Related: PU SCS holds seminar on Socio-Political Empowerment

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Arsalan Haider is a reporter at Academia Mag and has worked with leading national dailies and news channels. He tweets @arsalanhaider14

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