LONDON: The government announcement to hold dialogue with Taliban is a positive step forward as biggest problems round the globe were resolved through dialogue, said Taha Qureshi, Chairman Forum for International Relations FIRD. He was addressing a seminar organized at London College of Business Management and Information Technology. British Peer and renowned community leader Lord Nazir Ahmed was also present in the seminar besides many other personalities.
The seminar hosted by Umar Mahmood was kicked off with a warm welcome followed by an introduction by FIRD Chairman and LCBMIT CEO Toaha Qureshi MBE. He briefed the audience and Lord Ahmed on the work being carried out in the fields of education, de-radicalisation and employability. He gave practical examples of the work that had been carried out including the highly successful SEED programme, executed by Stockwell Green Community Services (the charity partner for FIRD and LCBMIT) carried out in partnership with the Home Office and other partners – the programme was independently evaluated by Middlesex University and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. Mr Qureshi went on to elaborate on the educational support being given to students, both local and international, through scholarship schemes. Interestingly, the scholarships are provided through retained profit rather than any funding streams illustrating immense commitment as more well over 1000 scholarships have been issued to date since the scheme started in 2010. Mr Qureshi spoke on working with the four provinces of Pakistan – Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan and KPK – to provide deserving students with the opportunity to study and be mentored through signing MoU’s with the representatives of the respective provinces including Rana Mashood Khan, Muhammad Atif Khan, Governor Eng Shaukatullah, Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik, Nisar Khoro and others. Advertisements for the scholarships have already been made and nominations for the students have also been received.
The foreign investors have high hopes with present government and at this stage Pakistan could not afford any terrorist activities so it is a patriotic decision to hold dialogue with Taliban to resolve issue, Taha Qureshi said, adding Government of Pakistan should take some serious steps to make dialogue process a success besides provide better facilities and security to investors. He said present Government of Pakistan is not only facing the crushing problem of terrorism, it is facing many such problems. Besides law and order situation, Pakistan is facing economic crisis, unemployment, poverty and lack of proper facilities in education, health and other sectors, he said.
Chairman Forum for International Relations many years back pleaded before the stake holders to enter into dialogue to resolve this biggest problem of Pakistan, Qureshi said, adding it is a reality that all the problems were resolve through dialogue. He said Pakistan is passing through a crucial period and all the decisions should be made keeping in view the security, stability and sovereignty of country. Taha Qureshi urged the government to ensure that people, who took arms due to double standards of world powers or due to some other issue, should be brought into mainstream with complete sincerity.
Addressing the seminar British Peer Lord Nazir Ahmed said students coming from Pakistan for education are facing various problems in Britain and he has raised these problems at every platform to help resolve these problems of young generation of Pakistan. He urged the students to keep their focus on education for which they came far away from their loved ones and leave with honor and dignity to serve their people in Pakistan.
Umar Mahmood later introduced two students that had taken part in the scholarship programme and benefited from the various programmes implemented by FIRD and SGCS. Abdulkadir Ali and Qasim Abbasi spoke about their time going through the programme and “life changing” experiences including gaining skills like confidence, speaking ability, organisation and overall employability skills. Lord Ahmed, congratulating both students on their efforts to better themselves said that at their age he could not have given a speech like that – a tribute to the efforts of those who are really trying.