ISLAMABAD, Aug 28: The religious leaders have a very important role in eliminating all sorts of discrimination against minorities and promoting religious harmony in the country.
Today, as a nation we are facing numerous challenges including hatred and prejudices spread by a myopic mindset.
This was stated by speakers at a seminar “The issues of class based, religious, ethnic as well as gender discrimination in Pakistan and solutions” held at Pak Institute of Peace Studies (PIPS) on Tuesday.
Besides others, Maulana Tahir Ashrafi, Maulana Abdul Qadeer Khamosh, Dr Hamayun Abbas, Amarnaath Randhawa and Roma Basher expressed their views on the topic.
The speakers stressed upon the urgent need of promoting the ideals of peace and tolerance in the society.
They urged the government as well as religious scholars to come forward to end discrimination towards religious minorities and other weaker segments of society in the light of the guiding principles of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah. The speakers in the second session including Maulana Noorul Haq Qadri, Dr Syed Mohammad Najfi, Sahibzada Mahmood Qasmi and social activist Aniq Zafar informed the audience about the various facets and forms of discrimination that are prevailing in Pakistani society.
The speakers underlined the need to go to the masses with a message of peaceful coexistence and respect for diverse viewpoints in the society.
The third and final session of the seminar was dedicated to gender based discrimination and the role of religious scholars to redress the issue. The speakers on the occasion including Prof Dr Ziaul Haq, Allama Zamir Ahmad Sajid, Maulana Tanvir Alivi, Dr Sameeha Raheel Qazi and Marvi Sirmad highlighted various religious as well cultural dimensions of the issues and emphasised that anti-women social customs and laws need to be examined thoroughly.
The speakers said that the social behaviour towards women in general also needs to be improved through awareness and education.
Meanwhile, a protest was held by the Christian society of the federal capital in which around 200 persons including women and children participated.
They demanded the release of a juvenile arrested on blasphemy charges.
Protesters also demanded from the administration to provide them protection because they fear that extremists might try to harm them.
Meanwhile, Child Right Movement (CRM), a coalition of likeminded national and international child focused organisations urged the government to arrange the release of the juvenile Christian girl who was taken into custody from the outskirts of Islamabad on charges of blasphemy on August 16, 2012 and sent to Adiala jail in Rawalpindi on a 14-day remand.
The incidence sparked acts of violence and resulted in displacement of Christian families from the area.
CRM through a statement issued on Tuesday urged protection for the minor child who is suffering from Down’s syndrome.
The use of the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Ordinance for her protection should be ordered and the girl should be permitted to meet her lawyers for her defense and civil society representatives to provide psycho-social trauma counseling and help.
CRM also requests the government to take immediate steps to protect the life and property of all Christians of Islamabad who are currently under severe threat, press release says.