09/23/2020, 13.51
PAKISTAN
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Pakistani Christians promote peace in the country and the world

by Shafique Khokhar

The National Commission for Justice and Peace of the Archdiocese of Karachi yesterday held a rally for Peace and a seminar dedicated to this year’s International Day of Peace. For Fr Saleh Diego, Pakistani society needs “tolerance and courage” to achieve peace.

Karachi (AsiaNews) – Monday was International Day of Peace, a UN-sponsored celebration held every year around the world to strengthen the idea of peace.

In Pakistan, the National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) of the Archdiocese of Karachi held a peace rally and a seminar yesterday to mark the occasion, celebrate a day of peace, speak out for peace, and pray for peace in the world and in Pakistan.

Various humanitarian groups, students, lawyers and religious congregations took an active part in the events, aware that it is thanks to peace that our world can become heaven on earth.

The aim was also to raise awareness among participants about the role and duties Pakistanis have to bring peace to their society and country.

Fr Saleh Diego, NCJP director and vicar general of the archdiocese of Karachi, said in his speech that every religion and all prophets bring a message of peace.

Jesus Christ himself gives two commandments: “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind,” and “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.”

“Now, if we take into account each other and love each other, if we think about the improvement and prosperity of others, and if we use our energy, our society will prosper and grow.”

“We must teach our children from the beginning, in schools and madrassas, that they must love each other and create space in their hearts for the religion of others and love humanity. Let us hope that all of us can live in peace; for this reason, we must promote peace and love for our country.”

Zahid Farooq, a Christian committed to the defence of human rights, works at the Urban Resource Centre. In his speech, he said our first responsibility is to think about our communities and their well-being. This is certainly a great blessing.

“Our people have suffered a lot from COVID-19, heavy rains and heat waves, but the great thing was that we all stood by each other for our safety. We must become the voice of one another. We must build relationships with each other and always think about peace in our families and in society.”

Saleem Michael, a Christian lawyer at the Sindh High Court, cited Gandhi, saying that “If we act on the basis of the beatitudes of the Bible, there will be peace not only in India and Pakistan, but also throughout the world.”

“Educating human beings starts from in the home and the main role falls on women who teach their children. For this reason, we must pay attention to them and work for women’s rights.” Sadly, “In Pakistan, our girls are not safe; they are married and forcibly converted and this is increasing every day. We contributed to the creation of Pakistan, but we are not treated as equal citizens. We pray though and work for Pakistan’s development.”

Ms Mehnaz Apa, of the Aurat Foundation, spoke to the audience, saying that at the time of the world wars, women took a stand and said they did not want war but peace.

“Women understand and know the value of peace; they fight and work for peace not only in their families but also in the world. Peace is not only the responsibility of the United Nations and our country's leaders; it is also our responsibility as well.”

Also yesterday, in the Diocese of Faisalabad, the NCJP-Faisalabad office held a seminar chaired by Bishop Indrias Rehmat. Organised by the diocesan director Fr. Khalid Rashid, it attracted people from different walks of life, including teachers, students and lawyers, as well as community, religious and political leaders.

Participants in the peace seminar pledged to play a role in promoting peace and tolerance in society. A peace candle was lit, a dove was released, and trees were planted as gestures of peace and special prayers were offered for peace in the world.

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