Pakistan: candle vigil in front of the pressclub in Faisalabad – international day of peace

By S.Sheeky, Faisalabad, Pakistan

“to promote peace and to strengthen the society” is what people wish for in Pakistan. Therefore, they came together for a peaceful protest in front of the pressclub in Faisalabad to demonstrate against escalating intolerance and violence in their country:

Peaceful protest against escalating intolerance and violence in Pakistan (Foto: S. Sheeky).

Peaceful protest against escalating intolerance and violence in Pakistan (Foto: S. Sheeky).

candle virgil to mark international day of peace

The Peace and Human Development (PHD), Association of Women for Awareness and Motivation (AWAM) in collaboration with the Adara Samaji Behbood (ASB), Kuknas and Awami Workers Party (AWP) organized a candle vigil to mark international day of peace and death anniversary of freedom fighter Rai Ahmed Khan Kharal. The participants hailing from different communities and different socio-economic background, gathered outside the press club in Faisalabad on 21 September 2014, and lit candles to honour the courageous martyr of 1857 for his struggle for freedom against British rule.

martyr Rai Ahmed Khan Kharal: freedom fighter

Speaking on the occasion, the director of the Kuknas, Tohid Ahmad paid rich tribute to martyr Rai Ahmed Khan Kharal, a greatest freedom fighter in the Punjab rebellion of 1857, who was shot dead in the battlefield of Okara district on 21 September 1857 while he was saying his afternoon prayers.

A general secretary of the Awami Workers Party, Arif Ayaz said that Martyr Rai Ahmed Khan Kharal was a man with courage and bravery, who led the rebellion of the local Muslims against the British authority, and refused to pay taxes to the British employees, and sacrificed his life for freedom.

intolerance and violence

candles for peace in Pakistan (Foto: Sheeky).

candles for peace in Pakistan (Foto: Sheeky).

The director of the AWAM, Nazia Sardar said, “Intolerance and violence are escalating in Pakistan, therefore young people of Pakistan having enormous potential to affect public attitude and perceptions, must be sensitized and educated in Peace-building, as they key instrument to mitigate conflicts, nurture peace and strengthen tolerance in society.”
wish for peace and political harmony

The director of the PHD Foundation, Suneel Malik said, “Peace and political harmony will come in Pakistan when everyone will first think of the country’s interests instead of thinking for themselves. Therefore, comprehensive electoral reforms must be introduced to put an end to the political crises in Pakistan, and prevent the rigging and enhance the quality of future elections. The new provinces including Hazara, Gilgit-Baltistan, South Punjab, FATA on administrative basis are imperative to deliver rights to the people at their doorstep.”

democracy, accountability and justice are necessary

A human rights activist, Naseem Anthony said, “Peace is possible in Pakistan unless true democracy, accountability, justice and equal distribution of economic resources are ensured. Therefore, the government must conduct credible and reliable population census on priority basis, and must hold local body elections to pass on power and resources to the people at the grass root level.”

social and religious harmony

For these people peace means also: democracy, tolerance, justice (Foto: S. Sheeky).

For these people peace means also: democracy, tolerance and justice (Foto: S. Sheeky).

A women rights activist, Shazia George said, “The federal and provincial governments must set up special police force with professional training to take pro-active stance to protect settlements and workshop places of non-Muslims from mob attacks.” “The government must release funds to district administration for the renovation and preservation of the composite heritage like historical religious buildings, to promote social and religious harmony Pakistan.”

reformation of educational curricula

A social activist, Irshad Parkash said, “The educational curricula should be purged of all kinds of literature inciting hatred toward a specific community, and must be made source to promote a culture of religious and social tolerance. The Christians and other groups had made significant strides in the fields of education and health and defense, which needs to be included in all Pakistan studies textbooks.”

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