Lahore: International Women’s Day was celebrated by National Commission for Interreligious Dialogue and Ecumenism (Catholic Bishops’ Conference Pakistan) on March 7, 2020 at St. Mary’s Gulberg, Lahore. His Grace Archbishop Sebastian Francis Shaw, the Chairman of NCIDE presided over this event while Ms. Ruhaina Qureshi Deputy Governor Rotary District Club was the chief guest. Human rights activist Ms. Naureen Akhtar was the key speaker of this event.
Rev. Fr. Francis Nadeem OMF Cap the Executive Secretary - NCIDE enlightened the role and objectives of NCIDE in his welcoming remarks. He said that the purpose of celebrating this day is to recognize the dignity of women and acknowledge their services in the society. He encouraged and invited women to continue their vital role in promoting peace and harmony in the society in their respective places.
The theme of the day was “Role of Women in Peace and Interreligious Harmony”. A good number of Christian and Muslim women participated in this event. Ms. Naureen Akhtar said that women’s role is central for sustainable peace. She stated that women being mothers must demonstrate love, acceptance, respect, equality, peace and justice within families which later travels in communities and the society. She specifics that women at all levels are peace builders possessing enormous potential in resolving domestic, social and religious conflicts and peace building. Pakistani women are contributing their essential role in social, political and economic peace building. To ensure sustainable peace, she prompted that women must be granted equal opportunities at all levels to amplify their voices in peace building and interfaith dialogue.
Maulana Muhammad Asim Makhdoom chariman Kul Maslik Ulma Borad, Lahore and Maulana Mufti Ashiq Hussain the principal of Bat-ul-Quran Lahore stressed women’s rights: right to education, right in inheritance, right to work granted by religion and the state.
Ms. Ruhaina Qureshi the chief guest emphasized gender equality and women’s engagement in all spheres of life in order to promote peace and harmony in the society. She said women participation in peace building efforts are only possible if women friendly spaces are provided.
His Grace Archbishop Sebastian Francis Shaw, the Chairman of NCIDE said that women must be accepted in the society as equal citizens as they are half of the population in the country. He restated the mission and vision of NCIDE for promoting interreligious peace and harmony while taking all the stakeholders of the society on board. He invited all women to play their vital role for a peaceful society and coexistence.
The executive members of NCIDE under the leadership of His Grace Archbishop Sebastian Francis Shaw presented flowers to all women in order to appreciate their role and services for the society. It was a gesture of solidarity and support to women by men.
At the end, a graceful cake cutting ceremony took place in order to mark the celebration of International women’s day.