February 15, 2013, 4:57 AM
As the UN General Assembly unanimously passed a resoulation to observe the World Interfaith Harmony Week annually during the first week of February. During the 1st week of February 2013 the world celebrated 3rd world interfaith harmony week throughout the world. With the strong motivation of Ms. Monica Willard URI Representative at UN and The Religious Committee of NGOs at UN, Pakistan Council for Social Welfare & Human Rights (PCSW&HR) also actively participated to celebrate the world interfaith harmony week. To celebrate this week PCSW&HR organized various awareness activities in which seminar at Sialkot on the topic “Peace through Interfaith Harmony & Dialogue” on 6thFebruary 2013 was main activity. In the seminar hundreds of believer (both male & female) of different faiths in which Muslims, Christians, Hindus etc participated.
The main focus of seminar was to campaigning for the importance of harmonious life among believers of different faiths and seeks their commitment to promote and ensure the interfaith cooperation, understanding and dialogue at this crucial time when a wave of terrorism in Pakistan. Member Provincial Assembly & Chairman Standing Committee for Health Govt. of Punjab Mr. Tahir Mehmood Hundli Advocate was chief guest at Seminar, whereas Mr. Muhammad Ijaz Noori Chairman Pakistan Council for Social Welfare & Human Rights presided over the seminar. Hundreds of men and women belonging from different faiths participated in the seminar. In his welcoming address Mr. Mansoor Ahmed Executive Director PCSW&HR welcomed the all participants of seminar and highlighted the perspective of celebration of world interfaith harmony week throughout the world in detail.
He said that in his point of view in the present scenario terrorism is burning issue of the world and we can only tackle terrorism with the promoting of inter-faith harmony, mutual understanding, religious tolerance and inter religious dialogue. He further said that goal of the interfaith week is to recognize the crucial need for dialogue among different faiths and religions in enhancing mutual understanding harmony and cooperation among people. We should learn to live together in mutual trust and peace. While addressing during the seminar Mr. Noori said that he has been emphasizing at all forums we should promote the educational programmes on interfaith harmony & peace in schools, colleges, universities and among the general public as well as among the religious leaders. He said that programmes to enhance conflict resolution skills should be introduced in order to effectively resolve regional and national conflicts. He added that it is good opportunity for us when we are observing the world interfaith harmony week with international community to aware the general public regarding the importance of inter religious & intercultural harmony and dialogues. Islam and all other religions give the message of peace, mutual respect, understanding, protection of fundamental human rights and as part of a globalization of culture, these truths of all religions should be highlighted and put into a wider and more existing social context. He further added that Islam and Christianity share several teachings which are enough for a harmonious co-existence and Peace can only
prevail where people from different communities and cultures live together without harming each other. He also said that the recent wave of terrorism in Pakistan is part of well-planned conspiracy to destabilize Pakistan and in the present scenario promotion of interfaith harmony is the only tool that could end sectarian and ethnic strife in the country. Mr. Noori also said that All religions teach peace, brotherhood, protection of others’ rights and promote tolerance. There should be dialogue, understanding, cooperation, harmony to remove misunderstanding among different faiths.
He also briefed the participants about the PCSW&HR’s initiatives as cooperation circle of United Religion Initiative for the promotion of interfaith & intercultural harmony, conflict resolution mutual respect, peace and justice etc at grass root level.
While addressing during the seminar Chief Guest Mr. Tahir Mehmood Hundli Advocate Member Provincial Assembly and Chairman standing committee health Govt. of Punjab appreciated the efforts of PCSW&HR to celebrate the world interfaith harmony week since 2011 and organizing a wonderful seminar to aware the people regarding the importance of interfaith & intercultural harmony. He further said that it is also moral obligation of religious & political leaders and government officials to play their role to end prejudice and stop religious violence in their individual and collective capacity. Religious and intercultural harmony and dialogues is need of hour, no doubt dialogue can bring us mutual improvement and help us overcome prejudices passed on to us by previous generations.
He lauded the efforts and commitment of Pakistan Council for Social Welfare & Human Rights to produce a culture of harmony among peoples of various religious faiths, civilizations and cultural backgrounds as well as promotion of intercultural and inter-civilisational understanding and mutual respect for diversity in Pakistan. On behalf of Government she assured his full support and cooperation to Pakistan Council for Social Welfare & Human Rights to initiate the steps for inter-religious & intercultural harmony, dialogues, understanding etc. He said that Christian are living in a huge numbers and through the platform of Pakistan Council for Social Welfare & Human Rights we are jointly trying for the promotion of interfaith & intercultural harmony and protection of minorities rights since long time and due to sincere efforts of PCSW&HR there is no concept of majority or minorities in Sialkot area, religious & cultural relations between Muslims & Christian are growing deeper and deeper which is unique example of interfaith & intercultural harmony. We will also try our best to create such kind of religious & intercultural harmony in the other parts of Pakistan where Christian and others minorities are living. Speakers from all religions also urged for inter-religious harmony & dialogues. All participants of seminar also pledged that they will play their role in their individual as well as collective capacity to create a inter- religious and intercultural harmony and peace and will support the PCSWHR’s efforts for peace.