KARACHI: There is no harm in a single person having multiple identities, such as ethnic, religious, secritarian, and professional.
But when certain groups are excluded economically or politically, they can resort to singular identity, which can lead to identity politics and even conflict.
These thoughts came in two day-long discussions on “Coexistence with Multiple Identities”, organized by Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS), with a select group of experts, academics, lawyers, and social scientists from Balochistan and Sindh. PIPS Director Muhammad Amir Rana moderated the sessions.
Journalist Wusutullah Khan likened identity to the onion. The topmost layer is of personal identity, the next layers pertain to faith, ethnicity, the other national, then, global, and so on. “It is up to us which identities do we strengthen and which we ignore”, he said.
Renowned scholar Dr. Syed Jaffar Ahmed said that every individual has different identities, such as ethnic, religious, sectarian. These are not contradictory and can exist at the same time.
It is only when some people feel excluded economically that identity comes to the fore. Specifically, when a state does not bestow rights to some people, a feeling of discrimination will make way. In that case, a person from the excluded group will start wondering if he is excluded because of what his ethnicity, religion or mother language is. Only then are identities used to advance one’s goals, he said.
Participants shared how in different circumstances, their different identities come to the front. “Context is key”, the dialogues noted.
The dialogues noted the best way to overcome tensions is to accept multiple identities. This should be taught, in fact, rejoiced by all. Multiculturalism can even enrich an individual’s life.
Several participants complained that the state, in its attempt to enforce a particular brand of identity from the top ended up excluding local identities. Even now the state is seen as tilted to some groups at the cost of others. The dialogues note the role of the state should be to secure individuals irrespective of their statuses; in particular, weaker segments of the society should be protected.
The dialogues called for shaping social contract to the mutual benefit of all. While the Constitution grants a range of rights to all citizens, its enforcement has been questionable. Already, there are certain limitations in place.
They noted youth in different parts of the country have either accepted dichotomies or turned confused. In Balochistan, one participant noted, the youth feel insecure, physically as well as mentally. The dialogues noted that many youngsters are migrating abroad to seek better job opportunities or make themselves secure. A well-off segment of society is anxious in not expressing one’s opinions openly. They too are among the migrants.
Govt to focus on militancy hit areas in KP
PESHAWAR: Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mahmood Khan has said his government was going all-out to focus on the reconstruction and rehabilitation of militancy and terrorism hit areas throughout the province.
We would install a complete structure of public sector institutions, governance and delivery. He directed for the provision of resources to timely complete the Fast Track projects for the benefit of people. We have already evolved a just and uniform developmental strategy to give relief to the poor segment of the society and mitigate their sufferings, he added.
He was presiding over a high-level meeting at Chief Minister Secretariat Peshawar on Sunday, said a handout.
He also met a delegation and also interacted with provincial Ministers. The meeting was also attended by Provincial Ministers Ishtiaq Urmar, Taimur Saleem Jhagra, Shaukat Yousafzai, Akbar Ayub Khan, Dr. Amjad Ali, advisor to cm and spokesmen Ajmal Khan Wazir The meeting reviewed the overall resource allocation with a focus on completing the fast track projects both ongoing and new.
The meeting informed about the logical way out for the re appropriation focusing more on the completion of fast track projects and more beneficial projects for the benefit of the people.
Normally the process of re appropriation is carried out in the third quarter of the fiscal year in order to give maximum time to the departments to complete their projects within the fiscal year averting the throw forward burden ,the briefing added.
The meeting was further informed that this time the holy month of Ramadan will fall in May – June, therefore, it necessitated more to carry out the re appropriation process within the third quarter.
The meeting also briefed the participants about the overall role of P&D in evaluating and keeping a watchful eye on the status the schemes.
Addressing at these occasions the Chief Minister said his government was focusing on the infrastructure development both big and small through a three dimensional approach that included short, mid and long term strategy.
This is necessary because certain areas were totally affected by militancy and subsequent operations and some areas were partially affected. He said that his government would ensure that the interest of the helpless people was secured adding that the criticism and propaganda of the opponents have no ground.
They have either political interest or they are tools for others promoting anti people agenda he added.
Mahmood Khan wants against anti people politics adding that it is totally unfortunate that the misrules of the corrupt politicians cracked the very fabric of society causing enormous loss to the people.
The Chief Minister said that the base of politics of the opponents have no relevance to the ground reality . The opponents have distorted worldview because they have their own political interest, he added.
He said his government would not allow emotional economic and political exploitation of the people. We have multiple challenges and we have a matching commitment to overcome them. We are going with a focus approach for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of militancy and terrorism hit areas and giving relief to the affectees, he added. We would follow our manifesto to work harder for the poor.
Mahmood Khan said that mega projects were launched for the benefit of the whole of the province and the whole of the province would be the end beneficiary of these mega projects.
Chief Minister said that he will turn a deaf ear to the anti people propaganda of the anti people politicians and their stooges because we cannot deviate from the public welfare, he added.
He said that the Caravan of justice, merit reconstruction and development would continue moving forward with speed adding that the past rulers had self centric politics but PTI promoted the culture of politics for the powerless people.
Pakistan warns against Islamophobia
UNITED NATIONS: The deadly terrorist attack on two mosques in New Zealand was “another grim reminder” of the Islamophobia sweeping the world, a senior Pakistani diplomat told delegates attending the UN Commission on the Status of Women – a global gathering of women activists at which Pakistan played an active role.
Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi, permanent representative of Pakistan to the UN, was speaking at a side-event on “Breaking Stereotypes: Muslim Women as agents of change”, one of the four organized by her that made an impact on what is also called the “women activists’ summit.”
The Pakistani envoy linked the attack to stereotyping, which she argued can be seriously consequential as it can lead to misperceptions, demonization and even violence.
“It’s a slippery slope when Muslims are stereotyped and mischaracterized, sometimes deliberately by those who also engage in hate speech,” Ambassador Lodhi said.
She distinguished between culture and religion in asserting that for Muslim women Islam is an enabling agent, not an impediment as is often presumed in Western narratives. The barriers are patriarchal social structures and an overall lack of education in societies.
The annual meeting of the Commission, which dates back to 1947, brought to the UN more than 9,000 representatives from civil society organizations. It will conclude on March 22.
Pakistan’s single person delegation was led by Khawar Mumtaz, who delivered her national statement on Friday.
The event on ‘Breaking Stereotypes’, a brainchild of Ambassador Lodhi, attracted a large audience with people prepared to stand throughout the hour and half event.
About her own professional journey as a Muslim woman, she said this involved facing obstacles, overcoming fears but always dreaming dreams. “My professional path”, Ambassador Lodhi said, “constantly entailed challenging, defying and overcoming stereotypes.”
“This almost becomes a lifetime occupational hazard for women, and not just in the Muslim world. “The important thing is never to allow this to distract or diminish us.
Women, she said, have two choices when confronted with attitudes shaped by stereotypes or when facing barriers: either seethe with resentment or press ahead vigorously to make a difference. Anger, she said, is not a strategy.
Other speakers from Indonesia, Turkey Qatar and Iran echoed the view that for Muslim women, faith was no barrier; indeed throughout Islamic history, women have played prominent public roles. A correct reading of religion showed that Islam was an enabling factor for women to pursue professional roles
A lively question-answer segment followed presentations by the panel of speakers. The session was ably moderated by Pakistani American Professor Ameena Zia.
Participating in the side-events were Parliamentarians who were here to attend the meeting of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) hearings. They included Munazza Hassan, MNA, Ehsanullah Tiwana, Sassui Palijo and Shahla Raza.
Pakistan’s presence during CSW’s first week was also visible in the standees that were displayed across UN HQ depicting women who had made and changed history in Pakistan. The colorful standees included Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah, Benazir Bhutto, Asma Jahangir, Sharmeen Obaid, and Malala Yusufzai among others.
China’s National People’s Congress concludes annual session
BEIJING: The 13th National People’s Congress, China top legislature concluded its meeting of the second annual session at the Great Hall of the People here on Friday morning.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang and other leaders attended the closing meeting. The legislators adopted China’s first unified foreign investment law during the meeting. They adopted the draft resolutions on the government work report, and the work reports of the 13th NPC StandingCommittee, the Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate.
In addition, lawmakers also passed the draft resolutions on the reports of the national economic and social development plan as well as the central and local budgets. Thousands of national lawmakers and political advisers gathered in the capital for the 10-day annual “Two Sessions,” a key event on China’s political calendar.