Published Date: Jan 26, 2019
Tolerance in society must to ensure social inclusion of all: moot
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, according to speakers at a seminar on ‘Saiban-e-Pakistan for Social Inclusion’ organized by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) and Paigham-e-Pakistan here.
Speaking on the occasion, Romina Khursheed Alam, member of the National Assembly, said that Paigham-e-Pakistan provides an umbrella (Saiban) to protect the country and the nation from all forms of extremism, hatred and violence against the fellow countrymen. “Paigham-e-Pakistan rules out any form of terrorism and self-proclaimed acts of violent extremism in the name of religion. We are proud of Pakistan which presents a bouquet in the shape of Pakistani nation while its beautiful flowers are its people hailing from different religions and beliefs,” she said.
Dr Shafqat Munir, SDPI research fellow and head of resilient development programme, said social inclusion is about co-existence that means ‘live and let live’, and it leads to interfaith harmony and builds a tolerant society. He said interfaith harmony is the way forward towards peace and prosperity in line with the spirit of Paigham-e-Pakistan. “Interfaith harmony is a conceivable condition, signifying peaceful co-existence among practitioners of various religious beliefs, aimed at eliminating the possibility of discord, both violent or non-violent,” he added
Fahmeeda Saleem from the Christian Studies Centre said the growing awareness on interfaith harmony and the urge for its realization exhibit the resolve at the national level to get rid of hate and discrimination at all levels of society by giving a confidence to religious minorities to claim to be equal citizens of Pakistan. “Interfaith harmony contributing to peace and prosperity would continue to remain a desirable objective,” she said.
Khursheed Nadeem, a noted Muslim Scholar, said to achieve a peaceful and tolerant society, interfaith dialogue is the most viable option. “The dynamics of interfaith dialogue are bound to be complex and difficult, but still doable,” he said, adding that interfaith dialogue provides an opportunity to the people belonging to different religions or to different groups of the same religion to behave warmly, discuss and debate the common matters and cooperate with each other without trying to impose their thoughts and beliefs upon others.
Talking about challenges confronting the interfaith harmony in Pakistan, Professor Mehardad from Bihai community said the interfaith harmony cannot be achieved in Pakistan until some structural problems such as interpretation of religion, relationship between religion and politics, legitimacy/illegitimacy of violence, secured and friendly social inclusion are addressed “Peace and harmony in society cannot be restored unless we change and prepare ourselves for peace. We need to change our behavior and attitude to restore peace and harmony,” he said.
Mehga Arora, representative of the Hindu community, said Pakistan belongs to all those who are living in it, including the minorities. “In the past, religion was used as a tool to discriminate and commit violence against minorities in Pakistan. Multiple misperceptions exist among followers of different religions about one another which should be removed by enhancing interaction and dialogue among religious communities. There is a need to celebrate commonalities among different religions,” he added.