Participants of a peace conference exhorted the need for tolerance, compassion, equality and justice for individuals and states. The conference was organised by Sufi Peace Forum (SPF) at a local hotel on Tuesday, said a press release.
Through a declaration, issued after the conference, the participants pleaded for peace, solidarity and fraternity among all nations, communities and individuals and respect to all the people of the world.
Azad Kashmir’s former speaker and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) secretary-general Shah Ghulam Qadir presided over the Sufi Peace Conference which was addressed by SPF Chairman Pir Syed Ali Raza Bukhari, Balochistan Assembly Deputy Speaker Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo, Prof. Maqsood Jafri and others.
“While we recognise the differences between faiths, cultures and communities and also acknowledge that all people gain happiness and identity from what they consider to be unique and sublime, we declare that all humans possess immutable rights and values that transcend all political boundaries, philosophies and are inherent in all religious faiths and creeds,” the declaration said.
While unequivocally rejecting terrorism in all forms and manifestations, they said at the heart of all religions is a belief for the sanctity of the lives of the innocent. “The indiscriminate nature of terrorism, which has, in recent years killed thousands of civilians and other non-combatants, is tragic.”
It said the acts of terrorism are not supported by any religion. All world religions strictly prohibit inhuman acts. “Such heinous deeds are surely incompatible with the teachings of all faiths. We condemn all forms of terrorism regardless of any religious and political intentions.”
The declaration said, “We diametrically reject all spurious assertions made by both Muslims and non-Muslims that the world is currently locked in an inexorable struggle between Islam and the West. We commit ourselves, through positive and mutually respectful engagements and dialogue, to oppose all claims of clashes of civilisations or the incompatibility of the values in various regions, states and communities.
It called for the promotion of human rights, fundamental freedom, equality between men and women, reconciliation, tolerance, fraternity and universality.
The participants urged the Pakistan government to establish a body for interfaith peace and harmony. They called on all governments to protect minorities against intimidation and violence, increase efforts for the alleviation of poverty, illiteracy and put an end to the proliferation of weapons and threats to environment.
The participants of the conference paid tribute to the martyrs of war on terrorism in which the soldiers of armed forces laid down their lives.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in his message which was read at the conference, said “Peace, interreligious and interfaith harmony is the need of the time.
“Peace, interfaith harmony, minorities’ rights are pre-requisite for a stable Pakistan. The need for the promotion of peace and tranquility among the followers of various religions and sects in society cannot be overemphasised.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 28th, 2013.
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