The establishment of the think-tank “Fikar” in Pakistan is a response to the rising issue of intolerance and extremism among the youth in the country, particularly in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) region. The initiative was undertaken by the Pakistan Development Foundation (PDF), a civil society organization based in KP. Led by Muhammad Bilal Sethi, PDF aims to address this pressing concern by promoting healthy discussions and engaging young people in constructive dialogues.
Think Tank “Fikar” to Drive Positive Change and Counter Extremism in Pakistan
The launch event took place at the Sheikh Zayed Research Center, located at the University of Peshawar, and was attended by prominent figures from academia and civil society. These individuals included Bilal Sethi, Chairman of PDF, and Prof Dr. Qibla Ayaz, Chairman of the Council of Islamic Ideology. The presence of key stakeholders in the field reflects the seriousness of the issue and the collective commitment to finding solutions.
The primary objective of “Fikar” is to enable young people to engage in healthy debates and discussions
The need for “Fikar” stems from recent incidents of violence and intolerance in the region. In particular, the think-tank was prompted by the violent protests on May 9 and a tragic case of lynching in Mardan. These events highlighted the urgency of addressing the underlying factors contributing to such acts and the imperative to promote tolerance and respect for differing opinions.
The primary objective of “Fikar” is to enable young people to engage in healthy debates and discussions, fostering an environment that encourages understanding, acceptance, and respect for diverse perspectives. By providing a platform for open expression and dialogue, the think-tank aims to counter extremism and prevent the recurrence of violent incidents.
During the launch event, the attendees emphasized the significance of educational institutions and think-tanks in nurturing an environment where questioning and critical thinking are encouraged. They also stressed the importance of involving expert opinions from think-tanks and consultants in addressing societal challenges faced by Pakistan.
The think-tank has garnered support from various stakeholders, including academia, civil society, and the Sheikh Zayed Research Center
The think-tank intends to organize regular monthly meetings, panel talks, and question-answer sessions, where young people will have the opportunity to express themselves freely and find answers to their queries. By revitalizing the culture of healthy debates in universities and libraries, “Fikar” aims to play a pivotal role in fostering positive change and promoting tolerance throughout society.
The formation of “Fikar” has been widely applauded, with recognition given to the PDF’s Board of Governors for taking this proactive step. The think-tank has garnered support from various stakeholders, including academia, civil society, and the Sheikh Zayed Research Center, which has offered its resources for organizing activities and promoting literary pursuits.
Overall, “Fikar” serves as a significant initiative in Pakistan’s ongoing efforts to counter intolerance and extremism, particularly among the youth. By providing a platform for dialogue, it aims to address the root causes of such issues and contribute to the creation of a more inclusive and harmonious society.