ICERM - AFFILIATION
National Council for Interfaith Peace and Harmony Pakistan (NCIPHP) launched ‘Living Together Movement’ at the start of the interfaith harmony week at the press club here on Monday February 01, 2021. Secretary General (NCIPHP) Mr. Javaid William, presented a resolution that said, “The Living Together Movement is a civic initiative designed to help prevent and resolve ethnic, racial and religious conflicts through dialogue, open-hearted discussions, compassionate and empathetic listening, and diversity celebration. “Organized in schools, colleges, universities, NGOs, government departments and communities across Pakistan, members of the Living Together Movement are individuals who recognise the same humanity in all people and are passionate about bridging the gap between different sects, religions and ethnicities,” the resolution said. This, the council members hoped, will reduce the likelihood of religiously and ethnically motivated violence in Pakistan.
Secretary General (NCIPHP) Mr. Javaid William briefed about the World Interfaith Harmony Week and Living together movement he said that Pakistanis also joined the World Interfaith Harmony Week, proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 2010, to support mutual understanding and interreligious dialogue to constitute important dimensions of a culture of peace and a way to promote harmony between all people regardless of their faith. World Interfaith Harmony Week is based on UNGA Resolution A/65/PV.34 for a worldwide week of interfaith harmony. It was proposed in 2010 by HM King Abdullah II and HRH Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad of Jordan. All around the world, organizations and individuals host events during the first week of February to help neighbors of different faiths get to know each other and build a foundation for more peaceful and friendly communities.
SOCIAL ACTION FOR CONFLICT RESOLUTION AND RADICALIZATION THROUGH RELIGIOUS INSTITUTIONS IN 36 DISTRICTS OF PUNJAB
In 2011, FACES Pakistan established the Peace and Harmony Network Pakistan (PHNP) bringing together like-minded religious institutions to develop a strong voice for peace.
In 2014, to amass more support and to widen the scope of the PHNP, a survey was conducted in 36 districts of Punjab and data was collected within a period of 6 months by the team of GIS surveyors of FACES Pakistan. Religious educational institutes run and patronized by different religious bodies/Boards were taken as the target group for this survey. The primary reason for selecting religious educational institutes for mapping lies in the fact that the education curriculum taught at Madrasahs/Seminaries produce students who share and agree with the sectarian worldview espoused by a particular board who it is affiliated with. These religious educational institutes are sectarian in nature.
Basing FACES Pakistan’s next intervention on the findings of the research and realizing the utmost need to address the issues of religious extremism and radicalization in Punjab, Social Action for Conflict Resolution and Radicalization through Religious Institutions was initiated in 36 Districts of Punjab.
Under this project, religious institutions (Madrasahs) were registered and mainstreamed and so far approximately 7871 like-minded religious institutions have been registered with FACES Pakistan. A total of 2774 religious institutions have been engaged through the signing of MoUs
These engagements include:
- Introduction of a curriculum based on value education, peace building, values of kindness, forgiveness, compassion and tolerance.
- Arranging Teachers’ Training sessions in which teachers are not only trained to tackle and resolve conflicts effectively but also to focus on similarities amongst different religions instead of the differences and encourage their students to do the same. So far, 132 Teacher Training Workshops have been conducted in which 6251 teachers have been trained
- FACES team also focused on mobilizing student of religious institutions and community children regarding peace building, harmony and conflict resolution within their educational institutes and communities
- A Provincial Youth Committee has also been formed in collaboration with Peace and Harmony Network Pakistan (PHNP), which aims at finding a viable solution to bridge sectarian and interfaith differences and overcome socio-political instability and anarchy in the state with dialogue and negotiations to reinstate the peace of the country.
- To enhance the scope and outreach of the project, a rally titled Caravan-e-Aman was arranged by FACES Pakistan and PHNP which started from Lahore and visited different districts in Punjab to promote peace, harmony and coexistence among different communities. An Interfaith Consultative Conference was arranged by FACES Pakistan and PHNP. The agenda of the conference was the need for introducing value education in schools, Madaris and other religious institution and the signing of a Charter of Peace. The “Charter of Peace” is an exceptional milestone signed by the PHNP network led by the religious leaders, civil society organizations and government representatives for endorsing and promoting the initiatives to promote coexistence and harmony along with bridging the gaps among various segments of society. Former Governor of the Punjab, Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar also endorsed the “Charter of Peace” and appreciated the efforts of FACES Pakistan and PHNP.
- FACES Pakistan in its efforts of peace building and strengthening inter and intra-faith harmony has formed 37 apex bodies consisting of 20 members each having varied religious backgrounds, extensive experience and keen knowledge of religious and sectarian issues. Out of these 37 apex bodies, one is formed on the provincial level while the rest are formed on district levels. Similarly, 37 youth committees have also been formed comprising of selected students of Madrassas who have been trained on various skills including conflict resolution and peace building. These selected students have further mobilized and spread awareness regarding peace and conflict resolution to 485959 young men and women from various educational institutions across Punjab.
- The actions done under this project have been endorsed and appreciated by the Federal Government and the Provincial Minister of Human Rights and Minority Affairs as well as the Governor of Punjab.
- All these efforts of FACES Pakistan and PHNP have resulted in bringing various religious sects together, providing them a shared platform where they can work in unison for bridging the religious and sectarian gaps, thus curbing the menace of religious extremism, bigotry and dispel the misunderstanding found among the various religious groups against each other.
- This intervention brought the concerned religious institutions under government’s check thereby, contributing to the Government of Pakistan’s national plan and policy on fighting extremism.
PROMOTION OF INTERFAITH PEACE AND HARMONY IN PAKISTAN THROUGH INTRANATIONAL PARTNERSHIPS BY INTERFAITH PEACE NETWORKS
FACES Pakistan through International Partnerships among Interfaith Peace Networks has designed and initiated a network with other like-minded religious institutions and organizations to promote interfaith dialogue that will lead to a deeper understanding of and respect for the other's faith. The network partners are formed by:
- National Council for Interfaith Peace and Harmony Pakistan (NCIPHP), a network recognized by the Government of Punjab that consists of religious organization from all the existing religions and sects in Pakistan.
- Youth Council for Interfaith Peace and Harmony Pakistan, a subsidiary body of NCIPHP that consists of youth from different religions and sects in Pakistan with the 950 members and 3000 volunteers.
SANJAH Pakistan, an independent coalition of civil society organizations dedicated towards working for Equal Citizenship rights for religious minorities in Pakistan.
NEIGHBORS FOR PEACE
FACES Pakistan initiated a youth program ‘Building Bridges over Religious and Cultural Divides’ in 2009. It initially involved University/College students from Pakistan, India and Afghanistan to promote peace, harmony, tolerance and co-existence in South Asia. FACES Pakistan was able to widen its ambit by involving students from Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. In 2014, the project has entered into the next phase titled as “Neighbors for Peace”.
The program developed a pool of students, motivated them through trainings and strengthened their capacity to carry out peace building activities in their countries. These students are now working as peace makers in their educational institutions and spreading the values of the program among other youth. Following is the list of workshops and training sessions organized under Neighbors for Peace:
- Workshop on Values of peace building and conflict resolution organized in Bangladesh in which 98 young boys and girls from three universities participated. The youth was given an orientation on peace building, significance of result-driven dialogue over debate, peace storytelling and drawings
- Youth Peace Sessions were organized in India in which students from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and India participated. These sessions aimed at bringing young people from South Asian countries together and providing them a platform to join hands and work together for the establishment of sustainable peace in the region. The sessions also focused on imparting knowledge and skills through which the youth can overcome challenges to peace and resolve conflicts effectively
- Peace sessions were conducted engaging 284 students from different universities from Southern Punjab, Pakistan. The focus of these sessions was on volunteerism, community solidarity, interfaith harmony and coexistence.