GUJRAT: Speakers at the conclusion of a two-day national conference on Thursday called for immediate steps to ensure social justice and fair distribution of socio-economic resources in order to promote an environment of forbearance, tolerance and co-existence in the society and eliminate the sense of insecurity and injustice among the religious minorities.
The conference titled ‘Challenges to Inter-Faith Harmony in Pakistan: Strategies and Solutions’ organized by the University Of Gujrat in collaboration with the Islamic Research Institute, International Islamic University Islamabad, and the Higher Education Commission, Islamabad, under the main theme of ‘Sayeban-e-Pakistan for Pragmatic Social Inclusion and Egalitarianism’ was attended by a large number of faculty members, researchers, scholars, lawyers, civil society members and students.
Special Assistant to Punjab Chief Minister Hanif Khan Pitafi was the chief guest on the occasion while University of Sahiwal Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Nasir Afzal delivered the keynote address. University of Gujrat Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Faheem Malik presided over the session while prominent among those who spoke on the occasion were Dr Riaz Mahmood, Assistant Professor, Department of Islamic Studies, University of Gujrat, Dr Arshad Munir Lagari, Chairperson, Department of Islamic Studies, University of Gujrat, and Prof Dr Zia ul Haq, Director General, Islamic Research Institute Islamabad. Addressing the participants, the speakers said that only a tolerant society based on the principles of interfaith harmony can ensure social inclusion by providing all citizens equal opportunities to grow irrespective of their religion or faith, adding that interfaith harmony is the way forward towards peace and prosperity in the society in line with the spirit of Paigham-e-Pakistan initiative of the government of Pakistan.
They said the terrorist activities and some other inhumane acts all over the globe have shaken the societies and under this situation, it is necessary to encourage tolerance, peace, patience and interfaith harmony in Pakistan. They said being a multi-religion country, it is need of the hour to deal with the followers of all religions justly and equally in Pakistan. They said lack of collective common sense, religious misconceptions, unfair and unjust election procedure for minorities, misinterpretation of jihad, partial and prejudiced religious discourse, migration of non-Muslims, especially Hindus, from Pakistan, insecurity of the holy sites of minorities, unjust distribution of socio-economic resources, absence of non-Muslim literature in national educational curriculum and misuse of blasphemy laws are some of the challenges to interfaith harmony in Pakistan, which need to be addressed in the light of basic Islamic principles and the teachings of Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him).
The speakers also highlighted the role media, universities, religious institutions, government, religious scholars, civil society, judiciary and legislature can play in addressing the challenges facing interfaith harmony in Pakistan.