Parliamentarians, scholars unanimous on promoting culture of tolerance, acceptance of other religions

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ISLAMABAD, Oct 24 (APP):Representatives of various religions including Parliamentarians, educationalists, scholars and noted personalities Tuesday unanimously agreed promoting culture of tolerance, forbearance and acceptance of other religions in the society as pluralism is the key for a vibrant society.
Speaking in a Conference on Social Cohesion and Integration of non-Muslim citizen of Pakistan titled “United for Promoting Peace and Interfaith Harmony”, they said hatred was the common enemy of the society.
Education policy must be revisited as hate material is galore in the existing curriculum polluting the minds of innocent students. The conference was co organized by Bahria University, Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony, BARGAD and others. Chief guest was Ilyas Khan, Sr Joint Secretary Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony and others. The speakers said only continuity of democracy, democratic values guarantee religious freedom, pluralism in a society. The speakers were agreed that the education policy should be revised by removing hatred material from it as a country cannot progress sans granting equal rights to minorities.
They said change of behavior is not possible sans educating prayer leaders to respect other religions. Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) guaranteed practicing religious freedom to non-Muslims in Misaq-e-Madinah. Sr joint secretary Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Ilyas Khan, MNAs Asiya Nasir, Robina Khursheed Alam, Asfanyar Bhandara and Tara Singh, Ibrar-ul-Haq, Mehar Dad, Sabiha Shaheen, ED PIPS Zaarullah and others spoke on the occasion.
MNA Shehryar Afridi read out 21 point joint declaration saying that the word “Minority” should be encouraged to promote inter faith harmony through performing cultural activities, arts, seminars, workshops, conferences and documentaries.
The religious sentiments of all the communities are important and reciprocal for each other. Such social and religious reciprocity requires mutual respect and tolerance in the subjectivity of faith.
All citizens, irrespective of their faith shall have the protection of right to property, education, family, faith, right to profess and practice their religion and right to employment sans discrimination.
Religion based hate speeches must be discouraged and shall be penalized under anti terrorism act 1997 by considering them crimes against state.
Heads of local governments should be given “ Justice of Peace” powers to mitigate interfaith segregations and polarizations.
All institutions of State shall discourage faith based discrimination and persecution.None should be allowed to defame Pakistan and its ideological norms on the basis of differences of faith.