By Asmat Shah Garwaki

I got inspiration to write this article after witnessing various posts of youth especially students on social media platforms where they were seemed calling for unity, peace, tolerance and optimism in one way or the other. These posts were so attractive that one couldn’t simply overlook and switch to other posts.

What I perceived from these posts was that the youth tried hard to express their strong desire for peace, education and rejected guns and wars by showing image of a pen portraying more strong then a gun and similar.

The question arises as to why the youth and especially students are yearning for peace and using social media as a platform to express their sentiments and what they feel? A simple answer to the question could be that they were fed of the law and order situation in the region and decades’ long wars in the country and pushed them to raise voice for their future and rights?

The youth as a whole want positive change, progress and development in the society; but unfortunately they don’t see a bright future ahead in current economically and socially challenging situation.  A few days back a student sitting next to me in a passenger van told that he wanted to become a doctor but then he murmured “if….. I could stay alive.” The desperation and disappointment were reflecting from his face, “I am not hopeful… any positive could happen in this country.”

I, in a bid to console him, asked to see things positively, he replied, things cannot change until we start showing tolerance for others, having good relations with neighbours and friends and respecting others’ views and believes instead of undue criticism. We always thrive on conspiracies and try to find out negative things even out of positive. Assuming and blaming someone of something without any research or evidence seems something very normal to us and all such evils are destroying the very fabric of our society besides tarnishing our image as a nation.”

We discussed several other issues of the country and reached on a conclusion that a culture of peace could be promoted in the society through an understanding and appreciation of equality, diversity, identity and inclusion of all. The other most important thing we agreed upon was need to go far beyond just tolerating or putting up with others and celebrate, acknowledge and respect each other irrespective of religious, linguistic, cast, color diversity and value humanity.

Each of us has a unique perspective of the world because each of us grows in different environment and situation so we deliver what we learn. Without understanding and valuing the variety of life we will lose the ability to achieve the kind of change needed to make this world a place of equality and social justice to everyone.

Being a Muslim we must have the largest human relations and human rights as our religion Islam stresses for it. In government, our responsibility is not to maintain the status quo. It is to discover the needs of the population being served. Responding to the needs of society is an honourable position and must be approached in a specific way.

All segment of society endorsed that peace is a most fundamental asset to community building, to personal growth, and to the very survival of our planet. At the heart of many faiths, practices, and cultures, advancing peaceful co-existence is essential to ensuring productive, meaningful lives and sustainable societies.

Interfaith harmony is a feasible condition, which suggests pacific co-existence among followers of various religious beliefs, with an objective to abolish violence.

In Pakistan, many communities are living and it is part of our constitution that though Pakistan is an Islamic state, yet it gives all basic human rights and freedom to minorities in Pakistan. Flag of Pakistan is not complete without these minorities as the white part presents the existence of minorities in the country.

The Muslims are spread across the world so every human should be treated equally. There is well known saying of Pashto that, “if you don’t say anything wrong to ugly mother of a person he would not abuse your good mother”. Islam stresses on respecting human life and decrees killing of an innocent person tantamount to killing the whole humanity.

Accepting and respecting the diversity in the society would surely promote peace, unity, interfaith harmony and tolerance and this is inevitable for the best future of an individual.

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