September 21st, the International Peace Day, provided an exceptional opportunity for the civil society in Faisalabad District to vow to continue their peace initiatives and upholding the rights of religious minorities in Pakistan at the press conference and a rally with 100 protesters. Following the press conference on September 20th, Rights Focus Pakistan (HRFP), along with civil society members in close cooperation with Global Human Rights Defence (GHRD) and Coalition for Rights of Minorities Pakistan (CRMP), conducted a protest on September 21st.
Both events aimed to awaken the Faisalabad District and the Pakistani society to active pursue the promotion of initiatives for peace and minority rights . Both activities focused on the United Nations’ (UN) theme of this year’s International Peace Day: “Partnerships for Peace – Dignity for All.”
At the event, peace was considered a cornerstone for the promoting of human rights, democracy, tolerance, and a non-violent environment. Unfortunately, the concepts of peace, acceptance, and tolerance lack resonance and the recognition of value due to terrorism, anarchy, intolerance, and lawlessness in Pakistan. However, the long journey towards a peaceful environment created by the event’s atmosphere started with full zeal and enthusiasm.
Based on their vision and hope for a peaceful Pakistan, representatives of civil society organisations and other important stakeholders participated in both event activities. The press conference directed print and electronic media’s attention to the government’s reluctance in promoting peace. The speakers additionally underlined the Pakistani government’s failure to comply with the decision of the Supreme Court of Pakistan’s of June 19th, which safeguards religious minorities’ fundamental rights.
The press conference raised awareness about the trigger factors of human rights violations in the country. The participants emphasised the vital importance of collaboration between the government, informal civil society, the private sector, faith-based groups, and other non-governmental organisations, to promote the true ideals of peace and to achieve the goals associated with its attainment. The key recommendations for the promotion of peace included: adopting tolerant practices in daily life, expanding the message of peace on a local level, creating greater awareness about human rights, introducing peace- and tolerance-oriented textbooks in schools, and denouncing the attitudes and behaviors that promote extremism in the society. Implementing these recommendations is of urgent importance. As a conclusion, the press conference stressed the importance of public awareness and active participation in promoting of peace in Pakistan.