ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry on Wednesday said Pakistan was once trapped in an irregular and prolonged conflict in the neighborhood during the 1980s but has eventually flourished the scourge of terrorism and extremism.
Addressing the closing ceremony of a two-day workshop on “Strategic Communication and Media Engagement in Crisis Situation”, he said Pakistan was a resilient nation which rendered monumental sacrifices against terrorism and extremism to successfully overcome the menace.
The minister said that Islam was spread through Sufism in the subcontinent and not through the sword which was itself a manifestation of the fact that there was no concept of extremism and terrorism. “The history of endurance and tolerance of the people of the sub-continent, especially the Indus Valley Civilisation, was very old,” he remarked.
He said that today the entire world was facing a serious challenge of extremism and Pakistan also remained its victim. In India, extremism did increase after Modi government came to power while various other communities of the world have also suffered from extremism in some way, he added.
He said the implementation of rules was the responsibility of the state and Imran Khan’s government was fully committed to ensuring the enforcement of law from the first day and no one will be allowed to promote hatred in the country.
Fawad said the government has largely overcome the hate speech on formal media, thanks to the cooperation of media houses and now steps were being taken to check hate content on social media.
He said that recently some arrests were made for promoting hate speech against the national institutions on social media and added crackdown would be carried out to control the extremist narrative on social media in days ahead.
He said that the government was set to constitute Pakistan Media Regulatory Authority (PMRA) to tackle the issues of both formal and social media under one-roof including hate speech and spread of extremist narrative.
He said that extremism only breeds the terrorism, and dialogue and discussion can solve problems. Freedom of expression was a fundamental right but not without restrictions under the law of the land, he added.
Fawad appreciated the Pakistan Institute of Parliamentary Studies (PPC) for organising the workshop on extremism which was currently a global problem. Earlier, PPC Chief Executive Officer Shabbir Anwar shed light on the objectives of the workshop.
PPC Executive Director Barristar Zafrullah Khan also spoke on the occasion. The workshop was attended by members of Senate, National Assembly, four provincial assemblies and legislative assemblies of Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan.