Launch of “Punjab Interfaith Harmony Policy”

By Our Staff Reporter | 1/9/2020 12:00:00 AM

LAHORE: The government needs to fix a certain employment criterion for clerics serving mosques and seminaries situated in rural areas and introduce a law barring people from naming mosques af ter sects in order to create social harmony in the province.

These recommendations came in a pre-consultative session, organised jointly by the department and the Youth Development Foundation (YDF), to seek policy recommendations under the project titled `Harmonious, tolerant, and safe Punjab for everyone.

The session further recom-mended that the provincial government should also take steps to remove lacunae in the curriculum that stand in the way of interfaith harmony, make the heroic role of all Pakistanis irrespective of faith or belief part of the curriculum and invite lawyers and bureaucrats to join consultation sessions.

The project aims at formulation of a comprehensive policy document for the department with input from dif ferent stakeholders on how to promote feelings of equality, harmony, peace and tolerance in the province.

Addressing the session at minister`s block of the Civil Secretariat, Minister for Human Rights, Minorities Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Ejaz Alam Augustinesaid that it was government`s top priority to create `peace, harmony and acceptance` for all so that people could feel safe and contribute to collective national growth and well-being of the country with full dedication.

The pre-consultation session was the last of the four such sessions organised to identify problem areas, mull solutions and set direction of the project before its of ficial launch due this week. The project launching ceremony is planned for Jan 11.

YDF Executive Director Shahid Rehmat explained the project to the audience: `The Ministry of Interfaith Harmony was devolved to province in April 2019 but the Punjab has not yet come up withany concrete policy framework or guidelines to meet the devolution requirements. To help the government, draft recommendations based on consultations under the project will be presented to the members of the Multi Party Working Group (PWG) and Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights, Minorities Affairs and Interfaith Harmony.

The objective, Shahid said, was to build a stronger case for the ministry to advocate for its adoption by the Punjab government.

The sessions have been attended by religious scholars from different faiths and sects, representatives of civil society, youth, officials of Punjab human rights department and others, he said.


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