KARACHI: For peace to be brought back to Karachi, political leaders have to make themselves role models of tolerance. This view was echoed by politicians and members of the civil society at the ‘Civil Society Peace Conference’ organised on Thursday by an NGO called Bardasht.
There were group discussions among the participants and an open house session was held in which political leaders and representatives of the civil society were asked questions on peace, tolerance and women’s issues.
The chairperson of Bardasht, Nilofar Bakhtiar, said that her organisation struggles for the underprivileged class and believes in humanity regardless of colour, ethnicity and religious differences. “Today, Karachi, the city of lights, has been captured by the darkness of lawlessness,” said Bakhtiar.
Information minister Sharjeel Inam Memon was the chief guest for the first session of the conference. He said that dictators who disrupted democracy in the country are responsible for the lack of peace.
He said that criminals have joined political parties and are continuing their illegal activities under their cover. Memon added that “the police and Rangers arrest target killers, but the Judiciary releases them within months. If they give punishments to the criminals, the law enforcers will be encouraged to do more.”
The Awami National Party’s Sindh general secretary, Bashir Jan, said that his party is ready to accept every suggestion that can bring peace in the city. “There are many reasons behind the target killings and all we ever do is point fingers at each other. We won’t find a solution to the problem unless we sit down and discuss the issue,” he said.
Jan added that the increase in the city’s population because of the huge influx of people from other cities and rural areas is another factor which gives rise to lawlessness. “The villages and cities from which they migrate should be developed so that they have plenty of employment opportunities.”
The provincial minister for women’s development, Tauqeer Fatima Bhutto, who was the chief guest of the conference’s second session, spoke about tolerance. “Family matters that we used solve at home are now being taken to courts and we register FIRS for simple domestic problems,” she said.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 29th, 2012.