LAHORE    -   The fifth generation war and how the new generation could fight it in the prevailing situation was the subject of discussion at the Paigham-e-Pakistan (PEP) conference here on Thursday.

The Paigham-e-Pakistan Centre for Peace and Reconciliation Studies of the Islamic Research Institute (IR), International Islamic University (IIUI), has been striving since 2016 to eradicate religious extremism.

Professor Dr Zia ul Haq, director general, Islamic Research Institute, IIU; Professor Dr Riaz Mehmood, Islamic Studies Department, University of Gujrat; Professor Nazeer Hussain, adviser, University of Lahore and Mian Allah Bakhsh Tariq, provincial coordinator, Paigham-e-Pakistan, were among the speakers.

QAED Additional DG Ahmed Khawar Shahzad highlighted the importance of Paigham-e Pakistan’s message of peace and harmony. He sensitized the participants about the 5th generation war. He expressed his views about Islam that is a religion of peace, love and fraternity. “It is the role of the teachers to develop their students into responsible citizens of Pakistan. They have to mould them according to the teachings of Islam; they have to work as an army which never surrenders when it comes to protecting its nation and land. The teachers have to play their role in order to protect this generation, which is future of Pakistan, from 5th generation war.

Professor Dr Zia ul Haq, director general, Islamic Research Institute, IIU, Islamabad, who was the chief guest of the programme, talked about ‘Role of teachers in narrative building’. The Paigham-e-Pakistan narrative sponsored by Pakistan Movement has played an important role as the national counter-terrorism narrative in challenging the menace of terrorism and extremism as well as ensuring peace and stability in the society through national integration.

He highlighted that the 5th generation war is the war of narrative, it can be a narrative of the past as well as it can lead to the future. “Narrative is a leading path for the nations towards the development,” he said. He talked about the political divide and ethnic issues. “The nation has to stand united to fight against this divide and Paigham-e – Pakistan took a leading role in putting all the religious scholars and political figures to launch a national narrative on putting peace and harmony among different social and ethnic groups in Pakistan,” he said. He urged teachers to understand the difference between perception and reality. “Social media is playing a major role in changing perceptions of people. Teachers’ role in this narrative is vital. They have to lead their students towards reality; they have to guide them about perception and reality,” he said.

Professor Dr Riaz Mehmood talked about different political as well as religious key personalities who worked in bringing peace and harmony in the region not only during Pakistan Movement but also after the creation of Pakistan. He said The Paighjam-e-Pakistan narrative talks about national integration, which is achieved through a process of national cohesion, stability, prosperity, strength, and feeling of being united as a nation, an essential prerequisite for the survival of a country.

Professor Nazeer Hussain talked about truth decay. He said, “In our conversation and dialogue, the role of truth has decayed. There is no scientific evidence for our opinions, our perception and it has a great impact on us. We have to go back on empirical data and particularly on critical thinking. We have to get the students in critical thinking.”  He highlighted the leadership role of students in the development of a country. He talked about proxy war and its dangers. He talked about the hostile use of media and people’s attitude towards it. “Teachers need to inculcate 21st-century skills in their classrooms to make their students critical thinkers since the nature of work is being changed for them,” he said.