Towards tolerance – 22 Aug 2022

The Quaid’s vision of a modersecular democratic nation — where citizens are free to practise their religion and go to their places of worship, without fear and intimidation, irrespective of their caste or creed — has long been forgotten. Religious fanaticism and bigotry have taken its place. The reality is that religious intolerance and sectarian violence is prevalent and cases of forced conversions, vandalism of religious places of worship, and faith-based killings are on the rise. Discrimination at the workplace also remains a grave issue.

Countless incidents have surfaced where angry mobs have tried to raze Hindu temples and destroy idols. At times, these are done out of pure hatred or they are sponsored by powerful mafias who want to cause chaos or create distractions. The situation has urged pacifists and rights activists to take up the issue under the banner of interfaith harmony. It is highly encouraging that the acting Chief Justice of the Federal Shariat Court has expressed the dire need to promote religious harmony, brotherhood and peace.

Moreover, the federal government also plans on establishing interfaith harmony councils at the local, provincial and national level with an aim to place humanity at the forefront, instead of associating with or going against any one religion. While this will go a long way in strengthening the legal framework for these minorities, prudent measures will be necessary to undo decades of brainwashing and get rid of the prevalent mindset.

Heads of religious communities must put their differences aside and show they are in unison with one another. They must together aim to encourage interfaith harmony through awareness and education.

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