KARACHI: Oxford University Press (OUP) launched its latest publication Conflict Management and Vision for a Secular Pakistan: A Comparative Study by Moonis Ahmar.
This book aims to examine the vision for the state of Pakistan as perceived by the founders of the country. It argues that conflicts, particularly those at sectarian and communal levels, can be effectively managed by following a secular approach. The author points out that this would require the adoption of a secular ‘toolkit’ primarily composed of tolerance, neutrality in religious matters, religious freedom, good governance, and the rule of law. This study argues that the issue of religious militancy and violence can be successfully dealt with by introducing a secular order. It aims to develop a secular approach and mindset that will unshackle the process of conflict management in Pakistan, based on the experience of European, Turkish, Indian, and Indonesian experiments with secularism.
Dr Moonis Ahmar is Professor of International Relations at the University of Karachi and the Director of the Programme on Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution. His field of specialization is conflict and security studies focusing on the South and Central Asian regions. Dr Ahmar has 29 years of experience as an academic in Pakistan, and in different foreign universities and research think tanks. He is the author of two books, four monographs, and has edited fifteen books on different themes of International Relations.
The speakers at the launch included Babar Ayaz, author and senior journalist, and I.A. Rehman, Secretary General, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. Both of them underscored Moonis Ahmar’s stance that instead of taking up arms one should learn the art of managing a conflict and strive to resolve it in a peaceful manner.
In her welcome address, Ameena Saiyid, Managing Director, Oxford University Press Pakistan, said that she was delighted to launch a book as relevant to today’s Pakistan as Dr Moonis Ahmar’s Conflict Management and Vision for a Secular Pakistan. “However, it is time we all put our heads together and carefully evaluate solutions for stabilizing one of the most volatile periods in our history.” she further added. Moonis Ahmar gave his concluding remarks in which he highlighted that a secular approach does not imply anti-religious thought or practice, rather a neutral and unbiased way of understanding that can be perceived as just and fair.