Interfaith conference held in Lahore


LAHORE: An interfaith conference – Religious extremism: causes, impact and way-out – was held in the city on Thursday under the auspices of International Human Rights Commission in collaboration with Centre for Human Rights Education-Pakistan and South Asian Communalist Council.
People from different walks of life attended the event.
Ayaz Latif Paleejo (president Awami Tehrik), Dr Shahid Amin Khan (chairman International Human Rights Commission), Rt Rev Bishop Munawar Rumal Shah (former Bishop of Peshawar), Farooq Tariq (general secretary – Awami Workers Party), Irfan Mufti (deputy director – South Asia Partnership), Saeeda Diep (chairperson – Institute for Peace and Secular Studies),  Samson Salamat (director – Centre for Human Rights Education), Shakair  Qurashi (president – Caravan-i-Fiker UK) and Abdullah Malik (president Civil Society Network-Pakistan) spoke on this occasion.
Ayaza Latif said that “its time to unite irrespective of any belongings for peaceful Pakistan. This is our country and no one has the right and authority to force us to accept their desired governing system and belief. We want a country where all citizens should be qual, peaceful and could practice their religious beliefs”.
Dr Shahid Amin Khan said that “we are suffering due to growing religious extremism which disturb the whole country. Therefore, now let us give chance to peace by our collective effects”.
Farooq Tariq expressed that Talbanisation is very strong in Pakistan which is a huge threat for the country and peace talks with the Taliban is just a drama. 
“Pakistan is a sovereign state while Taliban are just a group and why is our government scared form Taliban?”
Samson Salamat and Abdullah Malik strongly condemned religious extremism, intolerance and recent threats of Taliban to Kalash community and Shia community. They said that “if we want a better and peaceful Pakistan, we strongly need to adopt the culture of tolerance and respect of all human beings without any discrimination”. 
It is the duty of the state institution, government and the political parties to adopt the ways and means which can lead Pakistan towards a peaceful and tolerant society, they said.
The speakers emphasised that increasing religious extremism and intolerance is a threat for “our multi-cultural and multi religious society which is destroying the peaceful environment”. 
Sectarianism, discriminatory laws and policies, killings in the name of religion, intolerance and hate towards different faith believers has made Pakistan an insecure state for every citizen especially for the religious minorities and other marginalised communities, they said.
The speakers expressed that the state of Pakistan has its own identity and has a constitution but an extremist group Taliban and their allies are not ready to accept the constitution and want to impose their own governing system which is not acceptable to the citizens of Pakistan. 

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