Lahore: May 20, 2018. (PCP) “In the 1965 and 1971 Pakistan India wars we were united as one nation and now we have to reflect to be united”. Archbishop Sebastian Francis Shaw OFM of Lahore was talking to the Muslim, Christian and Sikh participants of the conference held at St. Anthony’s High School Hall on the topic of Stability of Pakistan on 14th May 2018. It was organized by the National Commission for Inter-religious Dialogue and Ecumenism (NCIDE).
Being the chairman of NCIDE, Archbishop Sebastian Francis Shaw OFM continued that the world is making progress because the people think and work for the interests of the country. We have to think and be patriotic and go beyond our selfishness. He said that in last six months we are experiencing that the respect of humanity is lessening. The corruption and mixing of things for personal gains are growing. We need to be national centered and not self centered. It is very essential for the stability of our country.
Archbishop ended by saying that for stability of the country we have to save our country and this planet by plating more trees and especially olive which is the tree of peace. We have not only to tolerate other citizens of the country but respect and accept. We pray for our army and security forces who make it possible for us to live in a peaceful manner and make our country more strong.
Chief guest Maulana Abdul Khabir Azad; the imam of the royal mosque of Lahore said that Pakistan is the gift of God for all of us. We have got this country liberated and we have to work for its stability in a united way. He commented that 30 years ago we were not able to sit together like this. With NCIDE let us work for the common good of our country. We have to continue to reflect to work for its stability. We are determined to make Pakistan a place of peace in the world.
Another chief guest Head of Law department of South Asia University Lahore; Professor Dr. Pervez Hyder Nonari said that we are living in a house of glass and it is fragile and it is our responsibility to save it. He said that we have to be on one platform to work for its stability. Be human and save humanity, he ended.
Sardar Kalyan Sigh; a Sikh representative of the conference made it a point that the minority and majority have to work together for the stability of the country. He said that as we saw in the 6 minutes documentary on multi media that the Chairman NCIDE has been to the gurduwaras, masjids, markiz and midrisas to plant olive trees which shows the concern to make our country strong. Due to this Philosophy to come out of our shells we are coming close by meeting on different forums to express our views. He ended by saying that today’s Pakistan is better than 20 years ago and we say long live Pakistan.
Dean of Lahore Cathedral Rev. Shahid Mairaj pointed out the historical fact that the founder of the country Muhammad Ali Jinnah said in his 11th August 1947 speech to the first Constituent Assembly that all citizens are equal in the eyes of the county. He said that the founder was grateful to the minority members of parliament when Christian political leader and speaker of united Punjab Assembly S.P.Singha said that we will sacrifice our lives to make Pakistan in response to the Sikh leader Master Tara Sing at the stairs of the Punjab Assembly. Rev. Shahid said that Pakistan is not the country for one religion but for all.
Maulana Ayub Khan made a loud and vibrant speech that Pakistan is made and now we have to move forward to save it and make it stable through our united efforts. He appreciated the efforts of the NCIDE and said that unless we talk about common things, we can’t move ahead. He prayed that this country will make the progress only if we work together.
Hafiz Noman said that we have gained this country with a great struggle and now it is the responsibility of each one to maintain it.It is on our shoulders now to work for its stability. He said that Pakistan is a beautiful country and it is the need of the hour to think that we are not alone and weak but strong and can make our country stable through our common efforts. The interior minister and the foreign ministers are not safe and even the former PM was served with a shoe. In this context it is a dire need to work tirelessly for the stability of the country. Let us continue to play our positive role.
Tanvir Hussain Muhammad said that we are made form mud and we are born in the motherland of Pakistan. We will save our motherland united and respect our motherland Pakistan.
Pir Shafat Rasool said that from many years we are working together to save Pakistan. Most of the human beings are being killed in Africa, Middle East and our homeland. The enemy of humanity has to be identified. While appreciating the efforts of NCIDE, he said that the stability will not come by words but practical steps as we all are doing. He said not to criticize the religions of others but keep to each one in a strong manner.
He ended by saying that our common enemy is terrorism and we have to be united to deal with this enemy. We have to develop national thinking and not provincial one. The youth has to be watched to which direction they are going. He said that the political and religious leaders have to work together for the stability of the country.
Sahibzada Makhdom Asim said that those who are working with NCIDE are few but more and more people have to join for this good cause of inter-faith dialogue. The difference of I and YOU has to give way to the common positive thinking for the sake of real stability of the country. We will grow on this common point in the years to come.
Fr. Inayat Bernard, 2nd secretary of NCIDE said in the introductory remarks that the NCIDE continues to make efforts for peace and social harmony through seminars, conferences, press releases, peace walks and press conference by the interfaith leaders, women, youth and children. He welcomed all the guests coming from different denominations and religions and expected that through these efforts our county will become the home of peace.
Fr. Francis Nadeem OFM Cap; Executive Secretary of the NCIDE thanked all the guests and the principal of St. Anthony High School Mr. Shahid Ambrose for facilitating the stability conference. He appreciated the view points of the interfaith speakers. He said that for stability the harmony has to be there between words and actions. He ended by saying that if we want to see the stable Pakistan then we have to show respect to each and every citizen of the country and become active promoters of peace.
Mufti Ashiq Hussain was the stage secretary while opening prayer was said by Fr. Samson Dilawar and closing prayer by Rev. Emmanuel Khokhar. Lahore Archdiocesan Director of NCIDE facilitated the video presentation on multi media.