Citizen Roundtable: Charting Pathways for Pluralism
Start date: 1st April 2018
End date: 30th May 2018
Team: Mr. Saleem Khilji , Mr. Shakeel Ramay , Mr. Irfan Ahmad Chatha ,Ms. Maleeha Naveed ,Mr. Waqar Ahmed
Interfaith harmony and pluralism foster religious, cultural, and social integrity and help develop a diverse society wherein people of different beliefs and thoughts can live together in peace and enjoy their basic human rights. In other words, it is a state of action, which implies peaceful co-existence among the followers of different religions and beliefs with the clear-cut objective of zero tolerance against incitement of hate, extremism, and violence. Such a model proposes understanding of all religions and respecting everyone’s beliefs and differences. In a society that embraces pluralism, differences are not seen as threatening. They present opportunities to learn from one another, and enrich our lives and communities with new perspectives and ideas. In a pluralistic society, membership is determined by institutions and practices, not by one’s appearance, beliefs or place of birth. Every person is free to express the different identities that contribute to their uniqueness. Cooperation, not confrontation, is the way forward.
The very basis of Pakistan’s foundation lies in peaceful co-existence. The address of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah on August 11, 1947 clearly manifests his commitment to the rights of minorities and promotion of interfaith harmony.
Articles 20, 21, 25, 26, 27, 28, and 36 of the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan provide full protection and equal rights to all citizens, including minorities without any discrimination of colour, creed, cult, language or gender to freely profess and practice their religions and culture respectively.
Our National Action Plan (point 5, 9, 15 & 18) clearly indicates action against promoting intolerance, sectarianism and extremism. Rather it ensures end to religious extremism and protection of minorities. It says there will be no room left for extremism in any part of the country.
Pakistan is a home to over 207 million people belonging to different religions and sects. With about 96 per cent Muslim majority, the country also has minorities belonging to Christians, Hindus, Parsis, Sikhs, Ahmadis, etc.
According to the Census 2017, there are 96.28 per cent Muslims, 1.60 per cent Hindus, 1.59 per cent Christians, 0.22 per cent Ahmadis, 0.25 per cent scheduled casts, and 0.07 per cent others in Pakistan.
This diversity seeks to develop an interfaith harmony and religious pluralism in the society so that people from diverse range of beliefs might live in peace leading towards sustainable development as well as an inclusive society.
The EU delegation to Pakistan decided to explore the possibilities to align Pakistan to international movements on FoRB that aim at commitments to strengthen interfaith harmony, such as the initiatives “Faith4Rights and the Beirut Declaration”. This high level initiative was personally launched and is strongly sponsored by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and by coordinated by the OHCHR. The line is to build shared space between Human Rights and religions. Other initiatives, such as the “Marrakesh Declaration on the rights of religious minorities living in Muslim majority countries” should also be a central part of this program. In line with this, the EU plans to facilitate two roundtable events in 2018 and 2019.
The first launching event will take place in Pakistan, Islamabad. A second smaller event will be organized Bologna in collaboration with the Fondazione per le Scienze Religiose and the “European Acadamey of Religion”. The second event will be part of another contractual agreement.
The overall objective of this contract is the provision of appropriate logistic support for the organization of the event in order to facilitate a multi stakeholder discussion on equal citizenship.
- Identifying and inviting all the national and international stakeholders (30-35) for the roundtable. The stakeholders will be selected from diverse range of people, including faith leaders, academia, human rights activists, civil society, business leaders, religious scholars, parliamentarians and non-Muslim leaders from all over Pakistan.
- EU to provide a list of international participants, comprising 10-12.
- Making logistic arrangements for the participants.
- Developing dissemination material in the light o Marrakesh and Beirut Declarations
- Preparing a three-day agenda of debate for the roundtable, including opening plenary, closing plenary, and focus group discussions. For the focus group discussions, the participants will be divided into four groups to share their views which will be culminated on the last leg of the event.
- Making arrangements for video recordings/live-streaming of the opening/closing plenary sessions.
- Imparting training to SDPI researchers for the rapporteuring of the event to prepare a detailed report at the end.
- Making venue arrangements for the Roundtable.
- Engaging Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) in drafting the Joint Declaration or Communique.
- Inviting media to share with them the objectives of the roundtable besides preparing the press release.
- Taking down a Positon Paper/Policy Paper after the Roundtable.
- Preparing a website portal of the Roundtable on the SDPI website to disseminate day-to-day information of the roundtable.
- The citizens’ roundtable
- Joint declaration
- Formation of an advisory group
- Position paper
Project Status: Closed
Project Web Link: https://crpfp.org/