“Peaceful co-existence will bring prosperity to Pakistan,” said Archbishop of Lahore Sebastian Francis Shaw on Wednesday.
He was speaking at the Interfaith Consultative Conference by the Peace and Harmony Network.
Addressing the participants, Shaw said he was happy to see representatives from various religions on one table.
He said everyone should teach their children not to hate or discriminate against people on the basis of their religion, caste or colour.
He said after the blast at a church in Peshawar, Muslim neighbours had covered bodies of burning Christians with their own shawls.
“Pakistanis share the tendency to love deeply.
This tendency should be harnessed into better education on interfaith harmony,” he said.
Chairman Interfaith Harmony Committee Tariq Gill said by protecting others, Pakistanis would ensure protection of their own society.
Pandit Haroon Sarab Diyal from Peshawar said, “This conference is a step towards ensuring peace in the country.
I left my son at the ICU to come and show my solidarity for the cause.”
He said some Muslims were quite sympathetic to Hindus.
He said a Hindu delegation had reached Rohtas for a yatra (pilgrimage) but the government authorities did not let them enter their holy place.
He said some Muslim residents of the area let them stay at a local seminary. He said it was a good example of religious harmony.
“Being a Hindu, I do feel insecure sometimes. My forefathers opted to stay in Pakistan at the time of partition considering it their homeland,” he said.
He said Holi was coming up in a few weeks but it was tragic that the place in Multan where the festival started, had been demolished.
He said Hindus were not hostile towards Pakistan, Islam or Muslims and should be given equal right to a peaceful life.
He said Hindus were given religious liberty in the Constitution but not in practice.
Syed Kazim Raza Naqvi said Islam was the religion of peace.
He said like other religious minorities, Shiites had also been a target of terrorism.
“We should struggle for peace in the country,” he said.
Allama Pir Muhammad Zubair Abid, chairman of Ulema Mushaikh Council, said Islam taught love for humankind.
He said he who did not have passion to love mankind, had a fault in his character.
Sikhs representatives were also among the participants.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 13th, 2014.
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