Students can do more against terrorism

Under the slogan “Terror-free Pakistan,” the government has established a country-wide Volunteer Student Task Force to increase the capacity to help victims of violent extremists.

Sanm Malik

2009-12-05

LAHORE — On November 27, under the slogan “Terror-free Pakistan” an Interior Ministry spokesman in Islamabad said the government established a country-wide Volunteer Student Task Force (VSTF) to increase the capacity to help victims of violent extremists.

Membership in the VSTF includes a three-day orientation and basic training course that is organized and taught in schools and colleges. Interested student can register their names at local police stations. The training course has been designed by academics, and security experts. Students of schools around the country have expressed interest in becoming involved in this endeavour.

“The course will provide information to students about terrorism and counterterrorism strategies,” said Parvez Rathore a senior police officer in Lahore. “It will prepare students to identify potential threats and keep an eye on suspicious behaviour and people.”

“It is high time we sit down and reach an understanding of the root causes of violent extremism so that we can work to control and reduce the menace if not eliminate it,” Rathore added. “We need to inculcate tolerance towards others in all respects, raise awareness among youth about violent extremism, and motivate them to reject both extremism and religious intolerance.”

“Every citizen has a role to play in safeguarding the interests of the population and protecting the country. Students must also fight against the scourge of terrorism with unity and not abandon their studies,” said Khuram, a student of Government College University in Lahore.

“Violent extremists want to keep students away from studies so that the country will not progress. Educated youth must become involved so that they fail to achieve that objective,” he said. “The government is playing its role to counter violent extremism, and civil society and the educational system should join them.”

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