KARACHI: Karachi has everything – all it needs from its residents is love, friendship, compassion and tolerance.
At least, that is what journalist Ghazi Salahuddin said while explaining the vision encapsulated within the Charter for Compassionate Karachi in a charter declaration ceremony at the Mazar-e-Quaid on Sunday. The campaign is part of a collaboration between I Am Karachi and Charter for Compassion Pakistan, aiming to make Karachi one of the first Pakistani cities to join the global compassionate cities network.
The event, starting late amid tight security measures that made it difficult for participants to reach the venue, hosted crowds of students from schools across the metropolis.
“The most important vision in the charter is tolerance: treat others the same way you want to be treated,” remarked Salahuddin, before five students stepped onto the stage to discuss their visions for the city.
“Karachi needs equal implementation of the law for everyone, regardless of whether they are part of the government or mere civilians,” insisted one of them, Basit. Hasan, another student, emphasised the need to allow pedestrians and daily wage workers to step out of their homes without any fear. “Unless they can do this, all efforts for peace will be in vain.”
City commissioner Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui, who was the chief guest at the event, praised the launch of the Compassionate Karachi campaign as a historic moment for the metropolis. “Seventy-five years after the momentous Lahore Resolution, intellectuals, students and members of civil society have gathered in Karachi to contribute to Pakistan’s solidarity,” he claimed, adding that the city government, Rangers and police fully supported the efforts to establish peace in Karachi.
“Up to 400,000 of the visions for the Charter for Compassion Pakistan have been sent to us by students and organisations,” said Amin Hashwani, the president of Charter for Compassion Pakistan and a member of the I Am Karachi consortium. “It is now up to the youth and the students to carry forward the future of the city.”
Published in The Express Tribune, March 23rd, 2015.