An independent think-tank

PIPS launches its ‘Charter of Peace’

Political parties urged to agree on a minimum agenda to bring peace

Karachi – The lawmakers belonging to national and provincial assemblies urged that politicians would have to rise above party lines to develop consensus on a certain minimum agenda that can help attain sustainable peace in the country.

The legislators gave these views at the launching ceremony of “Charter of Peace” organized by Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS), an Islamabad-based advocacy and policy research think tank, here at a local hotel.

Lawmakers, members of political parties, academics, journalists, students, and representatives of civil society attended the event besides others.

“Charter of Peace” is a consensus document that lays down key recommendations for countering violent extremism and building sustainable solutions towards attaining peace in Pakistan. It basically focuses on softer and political approaches for countering terrorism and violent extremism.

The charter also conforms to the United Nations resolutions urging the role of civil society in building peace and countering violent extremism. “We, the people of Pakistan, believe in democracy, and peace; respect all religions and faiths; revere our ethno-linguistic diversity; and accede to equal citizenship,” reads one of the points of the charter. “We affirm the sanctity of the Constitution, and demand uniform application of the Constitution in all parts of Pakistan,” says another point.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) MNA Aftab Jehangir speaking in the ceremony emphasized on giving constitutional literacy to the people. He deplored that most of the people, especially lawmakers, had no knowledge about the basic Articles of the Constitution. He also urged reforming the country’s judicial system.

Former Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQMP) MNA Rehan Hashmi highlighted the role of political parties in bringing peace in the country and said that parties should come out of the mindset of victimizing one another after coming into power. “Before peacebuilding, conflict identification, and its resolution are necessary steps,” he said. He also said that laws were there but the issue was the absence of will to implement the same.

Parliamentary Leader of MQMP in Sindh Assembly Ms Rana Ansar endorsing the importance of “Charter of Peace ” said that political parties should take this document seriously, and discuss it. She underlined that political parties should either introduce new laws or propose amendments in the existing ones that could be instrumental in bringing peace. “A strong system is needed in which people should have awareness about their rights,” she said, adding that this would be a recipe for attaining peace.

Deputy Parliamentary Leader of MQMP in Sindh Assembly Ali Khurshidi was of the view that political parties themselves were not ready to take the responsibility. “Putting blame of all sins on establishment is unfair,” he said and added, “The establishment plays when we give some space to it.” He urged that the political parties should come out of the blame game and initiate a dialogue to agree on certain points that could be helpful in countering extremism and terrorism in the society.

PTI member of Sindh Assembly Ms Adeeba Hassan remarked that the people of Pakistan were the real force that could bring peace in the society. She urged the need to work for the people living in slums and to give them some role in the development of the country.

MQMP member of Sindh Assembly Muhammad Abbas Jaferi called for implementing the National Action Plan (NAP) to counter terrorism and extremism in the country. He talked about ensuring peace in Karachi and urged that everyone has to play his role in this connection. He also demanded that equal opportunities of education, and development should be provided to the people of the port city.

Earlier, Director PIPS Muhammad Amir Rana in his introductory remarks said that the document of “Charter of Peace” has been prepared after a long process of consultations with different stakeholders including lawmakers, politicians, academics, youth, and representatives of civil society etc. He said that its basic purpose was to redefine, and review the social contract within the society.