The vision of IPSS is the same as Jinnah’s address to Pakistan’s first Constituent Assembly on 11 September, 1947;
‘You are free, you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the State.
………. and you will find that in course of time Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the State’
Institute for Peace and Secular Studies was created with an aim to promote the principles of civic freedom and equality for all citizens irrespective of their religion or creed. With its continuous struggle, IPSS has struggled to uphold humanistic values that are undermined and disrespected by the negative indoctrinations in the society. We believe policies adopted by the state should reflect wisdom and a pragmatic approach to resolve our internal, social, economic and political conflicts as a means to eliminate regressive forces in the society. Though our journey has been a long but for us it is not impossible to accomplish our collective goal for human development. IPSS believes in elimination of extremism through promoting values of peaceful coexistence and human progressiveness. For this, IPSS focuses in mediation with the decision makers and the observers for the adoption of policies that are in the best interest of the citizens of Pakistan.
We believe that there is an urgent need to disown the negative connotations attached with secularism, as propagated by the religious parties here. The meaning of secularism has been misconstrued so much that it is associated with being “ladeeniat” or “irreligiosity”, making it almost a taboo word to utter. To remove the misunderstanding, we believe secularism should be advocated as freedom for all to practice their religions without the state interfering in the personal rights of an individual, for as long as no life or property is infringed upon or violated. This can only take place if voices of reason are allowed to keep in check the state’s performance and its accountability of its actions.
Promotion of peace and pluralism:
• To strive for the preservation of the cultural values of peace, resilience and justice as propagated by Sufi and Bhagti traditions in our region.
• IPSS believes that regional literature and languages should be protected as our national heritage so that we can reckon with the rich history of diversity and pluralism in the region.
• IPSS firmly advocates for restoration of human dignity by taking initiatives to lobby with the state to protect and ensure equal rights for all the minorities and the vulnerable groups irrespective of their religion or lifestyles.
• IPSS believes in expression and action against the negative use of religion for political, economic and social power as it corrupts the religious message of peace, tolerance and justice and creates an existential conflict among people.
Freedom of thought and expression:
• IPSS strives for freedom of thought and expression for the sake of encouraging diversity of ideas, introspection, critique and appreciation of different philosophies and ideals.
• While freedom of expression should be considered a basic human right of an individual, however, IPSS believes that speech or literature inciting bigotry and violence against another individual or vulnerable groups should be countered and eradicated.
• Believing in the power of the press, IPSS stresses that media (print, TV, radio and electronic) should be completely free from vested interests and undue influences that affect the objectivity of the news.
• IPSS also advocates for media ethics and avoidance of media sensationalism to eliminate biases.
Rights of women and sexual minorities:
• Rights of women for IPSS is a primary focus for ensuring gender balance in the society where female population has a share of more than 48% in Pakistan.
• IPSS promotes equal opportunities and elimination of discrimination against sexual minorities as integral part of its struggle for the human rights and dignity.
Strengthening democratic process:
• IPSS advocates for the constitutional amendments and policy reforms to do away with laws that are humiliating and derogatory to human rights and are easily misused by the powerful to victimize the vulnerable.
• Amidst the great concern over lack of constitutional rights of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan, FATA, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, IPSS strives to raise awareness about the need for their proper representation of the people to reduce their resentment.
• IPSS calls for emboldening local bodies to improve decision making at grassroots level so people can take more participatory and meaningful roles in the democratic process.
• For better administration and development prospects as suited to the regional dynamics and needs of the people, IPSS calls for the full autonomy of all provincial governments in its true spirit.
• In its attempt to de-radicalize the youth, IPSS strives for cleaning all the curriculums from extremist and Jihadi indoctrination, gender prejudices and xenophobia.
• IPSS also calls for inclusion of reason, logic and thought into our education system with proper training of teachers for healthy environment for the youth to progress.
• IPSS believes in signing of a security treaty among all SAARC countries to thwart imperialistic designs and complete elimination of weapons of mass destruction (nuclear arsenal)
• IPSS believes in promoting trade, tourism and cultural exchange among SAARC countries for economic progress and benefits for Pakistan.