Lahore: June 24, 2010. (By Fr. Bernard Inayat) To discuss current situation of the country and communities responsibilities for the promotion of peace, the leaders of different faiths gathered here in city of Lahore.
“ I do not agree with the comments of the scholars who emotionally talk against Europe and America and accuse them to be the promoters of terrorism in Pakistan”. Mother General Elizabeth Suriaya of the Franciscan Tertiary’s of Lahore (FTL) was talking after the one day conference held at St. Mary’s parish hall in Gulberg, Lahore on the 19th of June, 2010.
Conference began with the recitation from the Holy Bile and Holy Quran.
Auxiliary Bishop of Lahore Sebastian F. Shaw, OFM while presiding the conference attended by 200 people from different walks of life said that recently a rickshaw driver committed suicide because of the high prices of things and he could not cope with the current situation. He said that the rich are becoming rich everyday and the poor ones are becoming poor every day. He said that peace is the result of tolerance, justice and brotherhood. If these things are missing then there can not be peace in the county and the world. He said that we condemned the cartoons of the prophet Muhammad by which all human beings will brightened the future of Pakistan.
The head of Bilal Markaz Pir Shafat Rasool aid that the terrorism in Pakistan is the result on international terrorism. He said in a loud voice that if USA and Hindu interference is thrown out of Pakistan then we can be at peace. He said that along with the Christians lot of Muslims have also become the victim of the terrorism and many have died and their sacrifices should be mentioned as well as the cruelty on Christian. He said for peace the respect of the religions and the prophets of religions is a guarantee of peace. Every human being has to respect and do not dare to draw cartoons of the prophets.
Ghazala Kasur from Wazirabad, another town of Punjab said that we are living the life of hypocrisy and when in the company of the Christians we say we are brothers and sisters but we look down upon them at times and this attitude has to be changed and considered all Pakistanis to be as our brothers and sisters. This attitude, she said, will bring peace in the country.
Syed Ashiq Husaain, Muslim religious head said that the 80% of the world population wants peace while the other 20% can be diminished if the majority works hard for peace. He said that each person should respect the religions of the others which is the guarantee of peace in our world.
Adnan Kamal from Gujranwala said that in our pluralistic society all citizens of the country are supposed to be treated equally and the government should make sure to implement on the constitution to safe guard the mutual respect which will ensure the existence of peace and people will live and let live all in the country.
Khalid Mattu, an animator of Caritas Pakistan Lahore said that we have wish and wisdom and we human beings have to use our wisdom for the betterment and development of all human beings in Pakistan. The wisdom has to be seen in practical life.
Ayub Nathaniel Bhatrti, a businessman working in Dubai said that the constitutional amendment is very important regarding the discriminatory laws. He stressed on the religious leaders to promote peace on the grass root level.
DR. Kanwal Feroze referred to the attacks on Christians of Gojra, Bahamanianwala and Jetheke that the people working against peace burnt the houses and killed Christians. This hatred has to give way to tolerance and respect. He said that the recent attack on the Ahmedi place of worship was a clear example of non acceptance of the other faiths. He said it is a duty of every Pakistani to promote peace in his own locality, the streets and neighborhood.
Syed Waseem Samad, the chairman of the government’s interreligious dialogue committee and the chief guest from Islamabad said that the majority and minority is considered in the population wise and there is no difference on the part of the government. He stressed that the Members of parliament should do their best to suggest amendments in the constitution and they can enjoy all the basic human rights. He said that when Gojra was attacked, he had gone there and conducted seminar to bring about reconciliation among the Christians and Muslims. He said that Islam is the religion of peace and Muslims are peace loving people. It is a small number who has spoiled the image of Pakistan. He wished the National Council for Inter-faith Dialogue (NCID) to continue its efforts to unite different denominations and sects on one platform to work in unity for peace in Pakistan.
Fr. Inayat Bernard, spokes person of NCID, welcomed the participants and said that the NCID has been conducting seminars, press conferences, peace walks, rallies, speech completions, poetry sessions, music programs for promotion of peace, participation in the religious events of Muslims, Hindus and Sikhas and Christians by different branches of NCID.
The national coordinator of the NCID, Fr. Francis Nadeem OFM Cap thanked the speakers and audience to show their concern for the peace promotion in the country and he stressed that the Muslim scholars should not use the worked Isaai but Masihi to Christians.
The resolution was read out by Yoel Bhatti, board member of the United Religions Initiative (URI) which was passed by all participants. It included the following:
We condemn the cartoons of the prophet of Islam and demand from the international community to show their respect for all prophets.
All agree to work together to promote peace in all parts of the country.
Hate speeches will be discouraged and all talents will be used for betterment of all.
Media was appealed to write dramas on the topic of peace and tolerance among religions and articles maybe written.
UN is asked to interfere and stop the cartoons of prophet of Islam.
In the Pakistan syllabus, the introduction of religions in Pakistan should be included.