Tolerant Pakistan
Dr Tabassum Khan, Stefano Pontecorvo, Italy’s Ambassador to Pakistan and Najia Ashar, broadcast journalist at the panel discussion to launch the Tolerant Pakistan campaign in Karachi. Image Credit:

Dubai: Inspired by the success of the UAE’s Year of Tolerance 2019, a Dubai-based business group has launched a unique campaign ‘Tolerant Pakistan’ in a bid to unite the diverse population in the country.

The campaign will spread the message of peace and tolerance among various segments of Pakistani society which comprises of different sectarian, religions groups and cast system in addition to divide based on language across the country. Many of these groups often show intolerance towards one another leading to clashes and hatred in general. StratGurus Group of Companies in Dubai announced the campaign by holding a panel discussion at a hotel in Karachi early this month.

Unique campaign

“Tolerant Pakistan is a unique campaign being initiated to help Pakistan in its journey of tolerance and inclusion of all communities,” said Dr Tabassum Khan, Chairman of the StartGurus Group. He added: “We launched the campaign with notable experts on this topic, giving us their points of view and guidance towards achieving the objectives.”.

He said that the initiative has set the ball rolling as traditional and social media have welcomed the campaign as much needed in the current environment. “We look forward to the participation of opinion leaders, social influencers and others to encourage and actively participate in our future programmes in 2020,” he added.

How it started

The Group’s contribution to the UAE’s Year of Tolerance  last year was the starting point for ‘Tolerant Pakistan’. The StratGurus Group last year worked with the UAE’s Ministry of Tolerance for the Year of Tolerance in 2019 and contributed a music video titled “The Place To Be Is The UAE”.

Dr Khan noted that tolerance is critical in ever-changing world as communities are being polarised leading to bigotry, radicalisation and dissent. “Our campaign aims to start a social dialogue and create a platform to develop an implementable programme to promote tolerance within Pakistan,” he said.

The inclusive campaign welcomes organisations and communities to participate, thereby contributing to the national effort in its journey from a tolerant to a progressive Pakistan.

The panel discussion

A panel discussion held in Karachi featured prominent personalities of the nation’s foreign services, media, academia and diplomatic corps. It marked the start of this nationwide campaign and set the tone for activities to promote tolerance and inclusivity that will be implemented this year.

The nationwide campaign is being implemented in association with Positive Media Communications, a member of the StratGurus Group of Companies.

The panelists featured Najmuddin Sheikh, Former Foreign Secretary of the Republic of Pakistan; Sarmad Ali, All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) Secretary General; Najia Ashar, broadcast journalist and former Knight Fellow at Stanford University and Stefano Pontecorvo, Ambassador of Italy to Pakistan.

Tolerant Pakistan’s idea was conceived by Dr Khan, who is a Pakistani national. As an expatriate living in the UAE, he is committed to helping enhance communities worldwide.

Next step

The next step is to host similar panel discussions in Lahore and Islamabad. The panel discussions are important as they provide a platform for experts to express their points of view and the way forward.

To engage the masses, a nationwide photography contest under the theme of ‘Tolerant Pakistan’ will be held in Pakistan. Also underway is the announcement of a talent contest to encourage local musicians to come forward and demonstrate through their personal and original compositions on the theme. The target audience is the diverse population of Pakistan who are the end beneficiaries of this campaign.

Tolerant pakistan
Organising members of the campaign including Hasan Badr (from left), Reza Kalamadeen, Dr. Tabassum Khan, and Ashar Khan. Image Credit:

What is the campaign

The philosophy behind the ‘Tolerant Pakistan’ campaign is three-fold. First of all, it highlights the efforts being undertaken by the government and the private sector to uphold tolerance and inclusivity in the country, which in turn will have a positive effect on the national economy in terms of tourism and direct foreign investments.

Secondly, it will also help push Pakistan’s narrative across the world as a peace-loving, progressive and responsible nation.

Thirdly, the campaign, in its small but impactful way, will by example, pave the way for leadership across the world to invest in promoting global harmony and peace through tolerance.