The role of education is vital for the unity, peace and progress of Pakistan and educational institutions must perform their due role for the promotion of peace and elimination of extremism and intolerance from society.

This was stated by Major General Tahir Hameed Shah, the general officer commanding of Pannu Aqil, at the inauguration of a four-day National Sufi Folk Festival jointly organised by Thespianz Theatre, Karachi, and Shah Abdul Latif University (Salu), Khairpur, at the university on Thursday. The GOC was the chief guest on the occasion.

He said Pakistani nation had also rendered marvellous services along with the armed forces and law enforcement agencies in the restoration of peace in the disturbed areas of the country. He said wars had been successful with the joint efforts of people and the armed forces.

With the support of the nation “we remained successful”, he said.

“Our students are our future. The grooming and redirection lies with the faculty members, their role is vital in their character building and personality development,” he said, adding that some elements in Pakistani society were judgmental and it was because of their approach that there was intolerance. He said it was high time that “we must strive for interfaith harmony so that the enemy could not exploit the situation in his favour. Unity is an essential element for our success and development. Our future is secure because our youth is proactive and dynamic”.

He thanked Salu Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Parveen Shah and Faisal Malik, president of Thespianz Theatre, for holding the event.

Prof Shah welcomed the chief guest, speakers and participants of the peace festival.

She remarked that Sufism had always been very important in all times and in every area. In recent times, its importance and need was felt even more; there was no denying that there was no distinction of caste, creed, colour or belief in Sufism.

Dr Shah said its language was love and peace on the basis of humanity. Sufism was not a belief, but devotion and commitment towards humanity, she said. The land of Sindh was fertile in this respect, she said, adding that the teaching and philosophy of Hazrat Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, Hazrat Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai, Sachal Sarmast and other prominent Sufi saints were for humanity.

Dr Shah said the university had introduced a subject of History and Teachings of Sufi Saints of Sindh in BS programme in the Institute of Islamic Studies. She also appreciated the role of Thespianz Theatre for their efforts in organising the festival.

Allama Iqbal Open University, Islamabad, Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Zia-ul-Qayoom said the role of Sufis was very crucial and essential. Islam placed greater emphasis on the rights of humans, he said, adding that Sindh was the land of Sufis and love. He said peace in Pakistan returned with the help of people and the armed forces since both were on one page.

Mr Malik thanked the participants, distinguished guests, hosts and the artists.

Present on the occasion were high officials of Sindh police, vice chancellors of different universities, professors of Salu and other employees and students of the university.

The guests were presented shields and traditional ajraks.

Originally published in Dawn, September 20th, 2019

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