To mark Quaid Day, Sir Syed University of Engineering & Technology (SSUET) invited the former senator, iconic scholar, prolific writer, and noted politician Javed Jabbar to give a lecture on “The Promise of a New Morning”.

Addressing the students, Javed Jabbar said that Sir Syed University is a truly exceptional institute in Pakistan. SSUET has acquired a prestigious name in the academic sector of higher education focusing on qualitative education. Each one of you must be aware of the fact that sustaining something is more difficult than gaining something.

He pointed out that the key to success is merit and we need to promote a culture of merit in our society. The secret of China’s commendable growth is merit, which is one of the fundamental principles of Islam.

Touching on the history of the subcontinent, he said that the decline of Muslim power in India became complete with the abolition of the sovereignty of the Mughals after the 1857 Mutiny. In the succeeding years, the British were hostile to Muslims and pushed them into miserable economic and political conditions.  However, during that period industrial revolution was coming up. The whole pattern of life, education, and culture was changing to create a totally new world, but Muslims were reluctant to part with their age-old customs, nor were they willing to acquire modern education.

Sir Syed Ahmed Khan was the first person in the subcontinent who identified the true reasons behind the decline in the status of Muslims as a community. He recognized the critical moment for Muslims and advocated for modernity.

Islam is about modernity. Kaaba was a house of idols and a place of idol worship. The holy prophet Muhammad (SWW) did not destroy the Kaaba, but the content of the Kaaba was changed. Therefore, instead of changing nature, it is better to change the direction or purpose. Former senator Javed Jabbar said, “A new morning is like a double edge sword that may become adverse if you moved wrong.

Pakistan is a phenomenal story of success. We have a rich cultural and traditional legacy. Argentine has defaulted 6 times. However, we are resilient and have the capacity to recover. We have the ability to survive and sustain. One of the major issues of Pakistan is uncontrolled population and 2 crore children are deprived of education. They do not go to school. This is the greatest catastrophe of Pakistan.”

Commenting on the present political structure of Pakistan Javed Jabbar said, “Our democracy must be representative.  Time demands to work on major electoral reforms, citizens’ participation in politics, and reforms in political parties. Casting of vote must be compulsory by law. It is better if we introduce the concept of collective leadership like in Switzerland.  Change has to begin with us. Politics is clean but it is dirty for dirty people. The brighter side of Pakistan is that the country is among the top 5 in geek economy.”

Earlier, welcoming the guest speaker, Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Vali Uddin said that Sir Syed University is emphasizing on imparting education, creating knowledge. Sir Syed University is a complete university with Bachelor, Master, and PhD programs. The current strength of the university is 7000 students. We have 23000 alumni, showing their potential and skills all over the world. Registrar Syed Sarfraz Ali presented the vote of thanks.

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Arshad Yousafzai is a Karachi-based journalist covering Education and Human Rights. He can be reached on Twitter @Arshadyousafzay

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