Need stressed to promote teachings of Sufi saints to build peace in society

Speakers at a string of events have stressed the need to promote the teachings of Sufi saints in order to tackle the growing challenges of violence, extremism and terrorism and promote peace, harmony and brotherhood in the society.

The series of conferences and seminars held from Jan 28 to Jan 30 at different colleges and universities aimed at highlighting the Sufi message of peace, since the saints conveyed to the people the message of Holy Quran and Sunnah in very simple words.

In this connection, the first event titled ‘Message of Peace and Sufi Poetry’ was organized by the Government College University, Lahore, on Monday, in collaboration with University of Gujrat and Higher Education Commission, Islamabad. Faculty of Arts Dean Prof Dr Iqbal Shahid presided over the ceremony. Dr Hafiz Naeem, Prof Dr Arshad Munir Leghari and Prof Dr Amin Hussain Shah were prominent among those who spoke on the occasion.

Another seminar titled ‘Role of Women in Countering Violent Extremism and Promoting Peace in Pakistan’ was organized by the University of Lahore (UoL), also on Monday, in collaboration with the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) and International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI). UoL Chairman Dr Awais Rauf chaired the session. Punjab Minister for Women Development Ashifa Riaz Fatyana was chief guest on the occasion. CII Chairman Dr Qibla Ayaz, Dr Farkhanda Zia from IIUI, Dr Nomana Amjad, Farah Naz, Dr Usman Hotiana and Dr Shoaib Farooq from University of Engineering and Technology (UET), Lahore, spoke on the occasion.

Another seminar titled ‘Paigham-e-Pakistan and Message of Peace in Sufi Poetry’ was organised by the University of Management Technology (UMT), Lahore, on Tuesday. The event was organized by the UMT Department of Islamic Studies in collaboration with the Department of Islamic Studies, University of Gujrat, and the Higher Education Commission, Islamabad. UMT Department of Islamic Studies Chairperson Prof Dr Tahira Basharat chaired the ceremony. University of Gujrat Department of Islamic Studies Chairperson Dr Ashad Munir Leghari and Dr Tahir Mustafa addressed the ceremony.

A conference titled ‘Message of Peace in Sufi Poetry’ was held on Wednesday at Government Islamia College, Kasur, in collaboration with University of Gujrat, University of Lahore and Higher Education Commission. Government Islamia College Kasur principal chaired the event.

An interactive session titled ‘Peace Building and Role of Civil Society in Development of National Counter-Terrorism Narrative’ was held at the Pakistan Institute of Management, Lahore, in collaboration with Bashar, Aitcheson College Lahore and Islamic Research Institute (IRI) Islamabad.

A large number of politicians, faculty members and students from different universities of the country, intellectuals, academicians, lawyers and civil society members attended the events.

The speakers maintained that Pakistan was an outcome of the benefaction of Sufi saints, adding that the teachings of the saints should be followed to protect solidarity of the country. They said the social contract of Pakistan and its cultural foundations blended with the characteristics of Sufism tend to accommodate the dissenting thoughts and opposing beliefs, adding that the main strength of revered Sufis was their passion for interfaith harmony, readiness to engage in dialogue and hold followers of other religions in high esteem. Saints and Sufis have always propagated love and brotherhood and there is no place for terrorism, extremism, intolerance and narrow mindedness in Islam, they asserted.

On the role of women in peacebuilding, the speakers said women are not only one of the key drivers of change of mindsets but also act as agents of conflict prevention and peacemaking, adding that the contribution of women to the culture of peace is also important because they represent almost half of the global population. They stressed the need to adopt an inclusive approach to negate the narratives of extremism, hate and terrorism and promote peace, harmony and respect for others in the society.

On the role of civil society in peacebuilding, the speakers said civil society plays an important role in reducing violence and in facilitating the conditions necessary for building a sustainable peace. They said Pakistan has a vibrant civil society which can play a very effective role in promoting civil freedoms and democracy, human rights, rule of law, peace and reconciliation, stability and humanitarian relief and reconstruction.

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