An independent think-tank

Dialogue must for inter-faith social harmony

To promote social harmony in Pakistan, it is essential to hold inter-faith and intra-faith dialogues at national and global levels. The world over, different faiths call for upholding humanity; what is needed is following on such messages.

These thoughts were shared in a one-day training workshop in Karachi organized by Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS), an Islamabad-based think-tank. The workshop was attended by over forty young scholars of different religions and sects. Speakers at the occasion included Dr. Qibla Ayaz, Romana Bashir, Khursheed Nadeem, Dr. Ijaz Ahmed Samdani, Maulana Ahmed Yusuf Banori, Muhammad Amir Rana, and Sabogh Syed.

Muhammad Ami Rana, Director PIPS, in his welcome address, emphasized that no society can claim to be an ideal society unless its people, with their different thoughts and faiths, live with patience and harmony with each other.

Romana Bashir, peace-building expert, lamented that even though minorities contributed significantly in the achieving the state of Pakistan, they are ignored. This reality, of their contribution, itself is not taught in the schools.

Dr. Qibla Ayaz, educationist, called for making a distinction between an entity and the people inside. The acts of Israel, the United States and Daish or Al-Qaeda, he said, cannot be equated with those of Jews, Christians, and Muslims. If people of all the faiths remove the extremists from within, social harmony will be a reality.

Dr. Ijaz Samdani said that while Islam gives rights to non-Muslims, but we don’t. He further said that the average jizyas collected from non-Muslims is far less than the zakat collected from Muslims. If we give rights to non-Muslims as asked in the Quran, he said, there will be no room for complains.

Taking part in the discussion, Khursheed Nadeem, a television anchor, said that there are certain gaps between the religious and political background. Without resolving this gap, social harmony is not possible.

Meanwhile, Maulana Ahmed Yusuf Banori, a young scholar in Karachi, said that when God asked us not to say ill about their gods, who are we to speak ill.

Winding up the debate, Sabogh Syed, journalist, said that we have to look at the realities of today’s world. If we keep on looking at the past, we all will be lost for ever, he warned.