04/05/2017, 19.54
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After tolerance caravan leaves Lahore, census officials come under attack

by Shafique Khokhar

The caravan, set to travel to various cities across Pakistan, is the initiative of the Rwadari Tehreek Movement and activists of various religious confessions. Its goal is to achieve peace by promoting respect for diversity. Four police officers are killed in attack against officials.

Lahore (AsiaNews) – The Rwadari Tehreek Movement (Movement for tolerance and pluralism) launched a "caravan for tolerance" yesterday in Lahore (Punjab) that will travel to various Pakistani cities to promote peace over the coming days.

The Rwadari Caravan set off at the Lahore Press Club in the presence of Sheikh Iftikhar Rasool Rwadari Tehreek Punjab information secretary, and Riffat Saud, Rwadari Tehreek general secretary in Lahore.

Activists from various religions came from the provinces of Sindh, Punjab, Baluchistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa – all with the goal of promoting religious tolerance and harmony.

Sadly, this effort was marred today by a suicide bomber who killed six people, including four police officers, in an attack against census officials who were conducting the survey for the first time in 19 years.

Now the caravan will travel to various cities and places of interest, like Faisalabad, Multan, Bahawalpur, Rahim Yar Khan, Sukkur, the Sachal Sarmast temple, and the Qalandhar Lal Shahbaz temple in Sehwan Sharif. It will then move on to Hyderabad before it finally reaches Karachi for the Rwadari Festival on Saturday.

"Our future is closely linked to peaceful co-existence,” said caravan chairman Samson Salamat. This “is not possible unless we adopt and spread a culture of religious tolerance and respect for the religions and differences in our society."

The activist noted that Pakistan is going through a period of "suffering because of various forms of violence, perpetrated mainly in the name of religion. That’s enough. We must make every effort to get this situation under control. To live in a peaceful environment is our right."

For Saadia Sohail, a Member of the Provincial Assembly, "It is truly regrettable that two years after the approval of the National Action Plan (against terrorism), the leaders and members of terrorist groups banned by the government still organise events, meetings and other activities in broad daylight, threatening the lives of people and making hateful speeches.

Prominent writer Salman Abid believes that "such efforts need to be implemented at this time of need. This is a message for everyone in Pakistan. We can bring peace to society through religious tolerance and respect for diversity."

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