“India should take advantage of its superior tertiary education and use it as an instrument for spreading goodwill in the South Asian region,” Ashraf told IANS in an email interview.
“Education unites people and creates a shared purpose in life. I aspire for the day when Indians and Pakistanis would compete in a civilized and healthy manner in the realm of creative human endeavours, instead of wasting energies in destructive fields,” he said.
Ashraf will be speaking at One Globe 2014, the third edition of the annual multi-disciplinary conference focused on building a 21st century knowledge economy in India and South Asia, to be held here Feb 7-8.
He said it is time to reclaim the rich educational heritage of the Indian subcontinent.
“It is time to go back to our roots and rediscover premium to knowledge in the Indian subcontinent enshrined in Texila in Pakistan and Nalanda in India – the world’s oldest seats of learning,” he said.
Ashraf’s comments come after the launch of the memoirs of Malala Yousafzai, an icon for girls’ education, had to be cancelled in her home province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan.
Yousafzai, who belongs to Mingora in the Swat district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, a Taliban stronghold, came to prominence in 2009 at the age of 11 by writing a diary for BBC Urdu about life under the Taliban. She was shot in the head for her campaign for girl’s education, but recovered from her injuries.
The diplomat said there is no better way to share peace and development than collaborating in education.
“With education and knowledge, you build futures. There cannot be a better way to shared peace and development in South Asia except through collaboration in growth of education and knowledge community,” he said.
Ashraf served as the high commissioner of Pakistan to Singapore from late July 2004 to December 2008.