Faisalabad, Christians and Muslims united in defence of the environment
by Qaiser Felix
The Diocesan Commission promotes green policies open to believers of different religions. Muslim journalist call the initiative "a positive step." A Catholic priest reminds that care for nature is a task that God gives "to every man."

Faisalabad (AsiaNews) - Promoting an environmental awareness campaign involving believers of different religions. It is the initiative launched by the Diocesan Commission for Interreligious Dialogue of Faisalabad, on the occasion of the National Year for the Environment in 2009 called by the Pakistani government. The program was presented June 25 last, in the presence of about 100 priests, nuns, teachers and students.

Pakistan faces many challenges in the field of ecology. Father Aftab James Paukl, director of the Diocesan Commission for Interreligious Dialogue, points out that "a mismanagement of resources, poverty and illiteracy” are among the main causes of degradation. The priest adds that the main purpose of the initiative is to "create awareness about environmental issues, bringing together people of different faith."  

Khawar Javed Shafiq, a Muslim journalist, adds that "most people do not pay attention to the issue" and that the initiative promoted by Catholics "is an encouraging and positive step" in the right direction. The journalist, involved in many social issues, confirms that "environmental problems are very widespread” and it is not just the government’s job to address them. Even civil society, human rights organizations and the people "must play a leading role."

Faisalabad is an industrial city and pollution is a cause of disease among the people. Khawar Javed Shafiq is demanding that the government allocate "sufficient funds" and set up a “Ministry for the Environment”. The Muslim journalist's concerns are shared by Father Anjum Nazeer, who remembers "the love of God for nature” and the task “given to every man” to safeguard a healthy environment. The priest invites everyone to "keep their homes and roads clean," setting "good example" for others. "May this be – he concludes - a small first step, towards great change."