In a bid to address the pressing global concern of terrorism and violent extremism, a session titled “Breaking Barriers: Empowering Communities against Terrorism and Violent Extremism” was convened at Lincoln Corner PACC.

According to a statement issued on Wednesday, hosted by the President of PUAN, Dr. Farhan Essa, the event welcomed esteemed guests and panelists, marking a crucial step towards fostering dialogue and solutions in the fight against extremism. Acknowledging the initiative undertaken by the US Department to combat terrorism and violent extremism through educational and exchange programs, Dr. Essa expressed gratitude for providing Pakistani youth and professionals with opportunities to engage with global policies.

The session featured three distinguished guest speakers who shared insights and perspectives on the multifaceted nature of extremism and terrorism.

Syed Javed Sadiq, former Director of Public Affairs ( Universal Nexus for Interfaith Trust) and Engagement (UNITE) underscored the global dimensions of extremism, delving into its underlying factors such as socio-economic disparities and individual attitudes.

Marvi Awan, human rights activist distinguished between extremism as a thought and terrorism as an action, emphasizing the crucial role of education and community engagement in fostering tolerance and acceptance of diversity among children. She advocated for the implementation of counseling programs at all educational levels to counter violent and extremist behaviors.

Shehla Qureshi, AIGP, emphasized the importance of community empowerment and individual vigilance in combating terrorism. Highlighting the challenges faced by law enforcement agencies, she stressed the need for community initiatives, neighborhood surveillance, and solidarity programs to mitigate the threat of terrorism and violent extremism.

Fareyha Fatima, Alumni Coordinator US Consulate Karachi, inspired guest speakers’ talk and appreciated Pak US Alumni Karachi Chapter’s efforts to eliminate/ reduce terrorism and violence in the society.

A panel discussion further explored various aspects of counterterrorism strategies and community resilience. Mr. Rana Asif, president Human Development Foundation highlighted the vulnerability of street children to terrorist indoctrination, attributing it to domestic violence and exploitation in Madrassah institutions.

Addressing the role of education in combating extremism, Mr. Veerji Kohli, special assistant to CM Sindh lamented the negative influences of certain syllabi and political agendas, advocating for progressive thinking to counter regressive ideologies.

Syed Hussain Haider emphasized the importance of a proactive approach towards counterterrorism, citing the example of Malaysia’s success in overcoming poverty through education and progressive thinking.

Dr. Qudsia, a clinical psychologist, shed light on the psychological factors contributing to extremism, advocating for psychological screening at all levels of education to identify and address early signs of radicalization.

Nisha, Pakistan’s first transgender lawyer, highlighted the marginalization and discrimination faced by the transgender community, stressing the need for equal access to education and healthcare services.

The session concluded with a call for concerted efforts from all stakeholders to address the root causes of terrorism and violent extremism, reaffirming the importance of education, community engagement, and proactive measures in building resilient communities.