Peaceful Pakistan our collective dream: Sharmila

Karachi: Joint efforts are needed to give Pakistan peace, unity and love. Peace building efforts are a must to improve the national image of our country, said advisor to Sindh chief minister Sharmila Faruqi here on Wednesday.

Addressing as chief guest at the concluding ceremony of Primary Training of Journalists and Editors on Peace Building under the theme of Promotion of Dialogue for Peace Building through media and youth mobilization in Pakistan arranged by Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) in collaboration with Search for Common Ground and DANIDA at local hotel, she said we all should have to work for the ‘original Pakistan’, as dreamt by Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. She said a peaceful Pakistan is our collective dream. She said Pakistan was established to promote ‘Pakistanism’ and not for advancing sectarian hatred and divide. She said we should search common grounds for the betterment, progress and prosperity of the country. She said journalists also have to work for peace and national image building as they are major opinion makers.

She lauded PPF for arranging training and capacity building workshops for journalists, adding other institutions should also follow suit. She said Pakistani journalists have a lot of talent and potential, but they need proper professional training. She said the journalists working in conflict areas face a lot of problems in discharging their duties. She said they should unearth the truth bravely and work for peace. She said with a positive, objective and result-oriented media approach could play a pivotal role in peace building efforts. She said not only issues should be raised but also their workable solutions floated.

Faruqi said it is true that Pakistan presently witnesses a lot of problems. There are many issues of governance but also there are many positive developments that should also be considered by the media. She said approval of NFC Award, passing of 18th constitutional amendment, devolution of power to the provinces, improving security situation in Swat and once again hoisting the national flag there are some of the major successes that should not be overlooked. She said Pakistan has witnesses a prolonged period of military dictatorships during which all national institutions went destroyed, adding now in many sectors things are improving swiftly and there is a hope of a better future.

She said the journalists should be unbiased and objective in their reporting. “The journalists should not be the judges. Let the task of judgment be left for the masses.” She said though journalists have to work as per the policies of their institutions, but still they could go for objectivity and truth, as grossly negative and biased reporting is tarnishing our national image at international forums.

PPF Secretary General Owais Aslam Ali said Pakistan is passing through a critical phase and many important developments are expected after the withdrawal of foreign forces from neighbouring Afghanistan next year. He said Pakistani journalists should be readied for understanding these changing ground realities.

He said though the situation is quite serious, but still there are many positive indicators. He said many countries of the world went destroyed during global wars and conflicts,; however, the Pakistani society is resilient enough to ensure decade long wars and global conflicts. He said we should also think about the positive values and strengths that have helped to sustain Pakistani society despite long wars and conflicts. He said media plays a main role in changing perceptions, adding journalists should highlight the issues, unearth dangers but also show the ways and means for brining a change.

Rashad Bukhari of Peace and Education Foundation, senior journalist Humair Ishtiaq and Lala Hassan also spoke.

Later, Sharmila Faruqi distributed certificates amongst the participants belonging to all four provinces of Pakistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir.