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Bilawal at his best

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There are not many institutes of higher education (IHEs) in Pakistan, especially in Islamabad, where you can talk about human rights, enforced disappearances, manipulated elections, and question the state narrative of controlled truths and outright lies.

Habib University in Karachi and LUMS in Lahore have tried a couple of times to encourage and present alternative stories but the notorious ‘unknown’ forces have intruded, and at times physically intervened to stop any discussion that raises a voice against the approved version of current affairs or even of history.

Among the IHEs in Pakistan, Szabist has emerged as a beacon of new hope where you can hear multiple voices, share diverse opinions, and raise concerns at the domination of one state narrative that tries to stifle all other dissenting explanations behind the miseries of this country.

The main campus of Szabist in Karachi has hosted numerous conferences and seminars where speakers such as Dr Mubarak Ali of history, Dr Tauseef Khan of mass communication, Dr Riaz Shaikh of social sciences, Dr Jaffar Ahmed of political science, Ghazi Salahuddin and Mazhar Abbas of journalism, and many others have expressed their views with clarity and compactness that the students of today’s Pakistan desperately need. In comparison, other IHEs confine themselves to so-called conferences and seminars on innocuous topics such as advertising, computers, marketing and sales. In Islamabad, the situation is even worse.

In this intellectual desert land, when the Shaheed Bhutto Foundation announced a seminar on International Human Rights Day on Dec 10 in collaboration with the Islamabad campus of Szabist, it was a breath of fresh air. With speakers such as Afrasiab Khattak, Bilawal Bhutto, Farhatullah Babar, Harris Khalique, Nafeesa Shah, Zafarullah Khan, and others it was a delight to be present there and listen to thought-provoking discourses. It is important to share with a wide readership the concerns raised........

© The News International