LAHORE: The World Council of Religions (WCR) on Friday organised a peace conference to mark the National Minorities’ Day to express solidarity with the minorities in Pakistan.
Participants of the peace conference highlighted the need for removing discrimination based on religion and called on all stakeholders to ensure the protection of minorities’ rights in Pakistan as a shared responsibility.
Different local and international dignitaries attended the session and expressed their thoughts.
They also passed a unanimous resolution which stated that “protecting the rights of minorities is our shared responsibility and terrorism in the name of religion is not acceptable.”
“Militant activities against the state, its government, army and other security agencies are against the teachings of religion and totally forbidden”, the resolution adds.
Supporting the military operations including Operation Zarb-e-Azb and Radd-ul-Fasaad, the resolution highlights that all Muslim and non-Muslim scholars among restive segments of the society are behind the state and its armed forces.
Addressing the conference, Punjab Minister for Minorities Affairs and Human Rights Tahir Khalil Sandhu said that terrorism in the name of religion was continuing in Pakistan, despite the fact that all faiths preach peace to their followers.
Sandhu stressed the need of dispensing justice at all levels and bringing long term peace in the world.
Enumerating the Punjab government’s efforts to ensure the protection of minorities’ rights, the minister said that provision of free loans to minorities by Punjab CM Shehbaz Sharif was an exemplary initiative.“This scheme will be beneficial for the unemployed and common man,” he added.
WCR Executive Director Muhammad Nouman said that Pakistan had been created, in fact, to protect the rights of minorities. “Unsafe minorities mean we are not following the aims set to achieve Pakistan,” he said in his address at the conference.
“We need to review our education policy to promote peace, justice and social equality, besides removing discriminations based on religion,” he added.
Mohammad Yasin Zafar, while expressing his views, said: “WCR is a representative organisation of all religions of Pakistan.”
“People from all religions and sects are gathered at the platform of this organisation (WCR), which will be able to realise its aim of eradicating extremism if government and media come to support it,” he shared. “No Muslim can usurp the rights of minorities,” he added.
Renowned journalist Mujeeb-ur-Rehman Shami, on the occasion, said that the Constitution guarantees equality regardless of race, colour or religion. He also stressed the need of raising and enforcing job quota for minorities in Pakistan.
Other notables including MPA Waheed Gul, Maulana Ashiq Hussain, Sultan Ahmad Ali and Bishop of Lahore Francis Sha among others, also addressed the conference.