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January 12, 2019

The government is trying to mobilize graduates across the country to improve literacy ratio from 58 % to 70 % and working to create national curriculum to remove the disparity in education system as the present education system in based on injustice. Shafqat Mahmood Federal Minister for Education and National Heritage remarked while opening the third edition of Information Technology University (ITU) Centre for Governance and Policy’s AfkareTazaThinkFesttwo-days Conference here today.
The Minister said that education provided frame of reference and perception while we practice different streams of educational institutes including madrasas, government and private schools, which created different minds and classes, which never helped in the making of a nation. Our society had decided that only English medium would go forward, he added.
He further stated that improving quality of education has been taken as a challenge by broadening the pool and to resolve serious economic issues.
In his welcome address the acting Vice Chancellor Dr. Niaz Ahmad Akhtar underlined the objectives of the conference initiated in 2016 and said that it provided creation of newer spaces and opportunities for the flourishing of new thoughts and ideas, to bridge the gap between academia and society, providing academic discourse in an accessible yet robust manner and to engage with leading scholars from around the world. His address was read over by the Registrar ITU ZaheerSarwar.
Discussing the ‘Future of Democracy in Pakistan’ Aqil Shah from Oklahoma University USA said that democracy ensured freedom of expression, enables to peacefully accommodate constitutional amendment to make normal prosperous Pakistan while boggy of corruption and in the absence of freedom of expression resulted in the rise of social movements.
Deliberating on the ‘Types of Populism Nationalism, Demography and Authoritarianism’ Dr Christophe Jaffrelot from Paris said that parliaments have lost their powers and role of media was the only space for free media. Hussain Nadim from Sydney discussed the Economists Democracy Index, which revealed that only 19 countries considered democratic, 57 with flawed democracy including US, 39 Hybrid regimes and 52 autorotation regimes.
NajamSethi the Chairman of the organizing committee of the conference highlighted the areas of interest including history, politics, international relations and said that Lahore is fertile with ideas. Through such activities bipartisanship could flourish, remarked Dr. Yaqoob Khan Bangash.
On Sunday the second day of the ThinkFest will have Federal Minister for Information &BroadcastinFawad Chaudhary and Punjab’s Finance Minister HashimJawanBakht, which will start with a riveting discussion on the Manto film controversy by acclaimed scholar Ayesha Jalal in conversation with Raza Rumi. Professor Cemil Aydin will launch his book, ‘The idea of the Muslim World’ in conversation with Dr Tahir Kamran from GCU. Also launching her book on the Samadhi of Maharaja Ranjit Singh will be DrNadhra Khan from LUMS with renowned Punjab scholar Jean-Marie Lafont from France. Dr Tariq Rahman will also launch his book on Jihad in South Asia. Other talks will cover topics like Afghanistan, urban planning in Lahore, fog and the environment, nuclear non-proliferation issues, and the Metoo phenomenon.
The Afkar-e-TazaThinkFest will also feature three other special plenary speakers, where Professor GauriViswanathan from Columbia University will speak on ‘Post colonialism and Globalisation,’ Professor AkeelBilgrami, also from Columbia, will discuss his latest work on ‘Secularism and Identity,’ and Sir Richard Evans, a distinguished scholar of European history, will speak on ‘Conspiracy and Democracy.’