DAILY TIMES – CIVIL SOCIETY SPREADS MESSAGE OF PEACE AND LOVE
Published: Daily Times – September 22, 2013
By Haider Ali
LAHORE: The International Peace Day was observed on Saturday across the city to spread the message of peace, love, humanity and brotherhood among the masses.
Non-government organisations (NGOs), students and teachers from various schools organised a candle light vigil.
They held awareness walks in different areas of the city. The participants, who were holding placards, distributed pamphlets and chanted slogans in favour of peace.
The Institute for Peace and Secular Studies (IPSS), Seeds of Peace Pakistan (SoP), Pakistan Christian National Party, Centre for Legal Aid Class, Rotary International, Channan Development Association, The Trust School, SOS Village and Beacon House School System participated in various events.
The United Nation (UN) this year has declared the theme of the International Peace Day, ‘Education for Peace’.
The UN secretary general in his message has said: “On this International Day of Peace, let us pledge to teach our children the value of tolerance and mutual respect. Let us invest in the schools and teachers that will build a fair and inclusive world that embraces diversity. Let us fight for peace and defend it with all our might.”
The Institute for Peace and Secular Studies (IPSS) organised a candle light vigil at Liberty Roundabout.
IPSS Chairperson Saeeda Deep said militant groups were easily acquitted by courts and allowed to roam free across Pakistan. She said they were responsible for the death of about 40,000 innocent civilians and army personnel.
Saeeda said: “It is a well-known fact that in light of the proxy wars being fought in Pakistan, in the name of Jihad, genocide is being strategically committed against the Shias of Pakistan, especially the Hazara Shias.”
The IPSS called on the government to review its resolve of unconditional surrender to the known militant outfits in the FATA, who were not only responsible for creating Shia-Sunni rifts between peaceful tribes but also providing safe havens to global Jihadists there, she added.
The Channan Development Association (CDA) in collaboration with United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF), United States Agency For International Development (USAID), Youth Peer Education Network (Y-PEER) and Karachi Youth Initiative (KYI) organised a press conference in connection with the ‘4th National Youth Peace Festival 2013’ at the Lahore Press Club.
CDA’s Executive Director Shahzad Khan informed the participants that the CDA would organise the peace festival from September 26 to 28, which is expected to draw over 600 delegates from all over Pakistan. He said the festival was going to be held with the theme ‘One nation, One Agenda: Democracy and Peace!’.
Shahzad said their objectives were to provide the youth of Pakistan with a platform to discuss national challenges towards meaningful participation in decision-making and to take their recommendations for promotion of peace in Pakistan. Shahzad said the youth would experience an intercultural and interfaith dialogue at a national scale, celebrate the vast diversity and culture in terms of demographics that exist in Pakistan and draft recommendations for the “National Peace Policy” from their prespective.
The Seeds of Peace (SOP) Pakistan organised a peace walk. A number of volunteers and students participated in the walk which started from Hussain Chowk and ended at Liberty Roundabout where candles were lit in the memory of all those who lost their lives striving to attain peace.
The Pakistan Christian National Party and Centre for Legal Aid Class held a peace walk from GPO Chowk to Charing Cross under the leadership of Bishop Joseph France. The walk ended with prayers for all those who devoted their lives for peace in the world.