LAHORE – There is an urgent need to bring equal citizenship, uplift weak segments of society, respect all religions and faiths and uphold the sanctity of the Constitution to achieve peace in society.
These views were expressed by experts, politicians, religious scholars and civil society representatives here on Monday at the launch ceremony of the “Peace Charter” – a document formed by the think tank based in Islamabad, Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS), after consultation with all stakeholders.
Punjab Chief Minister’s Political Assistant Zain Ali Bhatti called on the occasion for equal citizenship and uplifting the weak segments of society, to bring them on par with those who are resourceful, to achieve peace in the country.
“We can’t ignore the weak segments if we really want to achieve the goal. He said it was necessary to review the shortcomings of existing laws to strengthen the idea of peace,” he added.
Religious scholar Maulana Ragheb Naeemi said they should give space to all religions whose followers live in Pakistan. He stressed the need to teach students the importance of the Constitution and its implementation.
He said and added that the Peace Charter was also in line with United Nations resolutions urging the role of civil society in building peace and countering violent extremism. The United Nations Security Council, in its resolution 2178 (2014), encourages Member States to involve local communities and relevant non-governmental actors in developing strategies to counter violent extremist discourse.
The Peace Charter was initiated by Peace, affirms the sanctity of the Constitution and demands the uniform application of the Constitution in all parts of Pakistan. He calls on the authorities to demonstrate unequivocally, by word and deed, that respect for human rights and the rule of law is the fundamental philosophy of the State.
At the end of the event, PIPS launched its research report, “Interfaith Relations in Pakistan; Punjab Youth Perspectives and Worldview” here at a ceremony presided over by the Prime Minister’s Special Representative for Religious Harmony Hafiz Tahir Mahmood Ashrafi.
Ashrafi, speaking on the occasion, said that violation of others’ rights and interference with others’ privacy causes discord and violence in society. He added that society needed to change its behavior.
A key recommendation of the study states that the educational curriculum can be purged of content that promotes ill will towards any religious belief in addition to introducing the concept of shared identity and citizenship into the curriculum at the secondary level to inculcate the acceptance of cultural diversity among students.