Peace Conference on “Composite Heritage: A way towards Peace”

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The Peace Conference on "Composite Heritage: A way towards Peace" was held at Sarhad University Peshawar 29 Oct 2014 and supported by the Christian Study Center, a member of MPI's network.

Activity Date: 29-10-2014  Venue: Sarhad University Peshawar  District: Peshawar

Organizers: Mr. Maqsood Ahmad Salafi (Chairman Peace Foundation), Mr. Sajjad Ashraf (Program Manager).

Chief Guest: Sardar Suran Singh (Adviser to Chief Minister KPK), Guest of Honor: Dr. Saleem Ur Rehman (VC Sarhad University), Special Guests: Imran Munawwar (Program Specialist CSC), Qari Rooh Ullah Madani (GS World Religion Council Pakistan), Charan Jeet Singh (senior member Faith Friends) and Allama Fakhr-ul-Hassan Kararwi (senior member Faith Friends).

Participants:

Participants listening to speakers Participants listening to speakers

Participants listening to speakers

Activity Narrative Report

Objective of the activity: Peace Conference on Composite Heritage: A way towards Peace.

Key discussion points:

The conference was organized by Peace Foundation at Sarhad University where a large number of people participated. The participants belonged to different fields of life including civil society, govt. officials, faculty and students of Sarhad University, female social workers and religious scholars. The aim of the conference was to familiarize the participants with the concept of "Composite Heritage" and to aware them how it can be used as a tool to promote peace in our region.

Mr. Maqsood Ahmad Salafi, who is the Executive Director of Peace Foundation, formally started the conference with a brief introduction of Peace Foundation and its efforts in promoting peace in region. He further shared with the participants that Peace Foundation has been engaged with Christian Study Center for the past few years and the collective efforts of both organizations have resulted achieving great goals and objectives.
Coming towards the topic of today's conference, Mr. Maqsood Ahmad said that people and organizations involved in the social sector use different tools in promoting peace. Composite Heritage is also a tool which could be utilized for the same purpose but the beauty of this tool is that it works beyond the borders of languages, races and religions. It is the beauty of this concept that it unites people under one umbrella without caring about linguistics, races and religions and this is why the concept of Composite Heritage proves more fruitful in promoting peace. He said that the purpose of the concept of composite heritage is not to promote peace only in this region. The objective is to utilize the concept of composite heritage to promote peace throughout South Asia. He said that Peace Foundation has always been working for peace building as it is the main objective of the organization and it will continue its efforts in this regards. With these closing remarks he ended his speech.

Mr. Maqsood Ahmad Salafi addressing the participants during the conference.

Mr. Maqsood Ahmad Salafi addressing the participants during the conference.

Mr. Imran Munawwar was then requested to present his speech. He is the Program Specialist at Christian Study Center Rawalpindi and has been engaged in working closely with all the partner organizations throughout Pakistan. After a brief introduction of Christian Study Center, he shed lights on the concept of Composite heritage and shared that the concept was first introduced by late Mr. Khursheed Anwar who belonged to India. Mr. Khursheed Anwar was working very hard for promoting peace. His vision was to bring together all the countries of this region where they can live with peace and harmony. For this purpose he needed a tool which will engage and unite all these countries and its people under one umbrella. This was the reason that the concept of Composite Heritage was introduced by Mr. Khursheed Anwar. After that, Christian Study Center has been engaged with him in promoting peace through this tool. Late Mr. Mehboob Sada was leading Christian Study Center in this regard. After the demise of both Mr. Khursheed Anwar and Mehboob Sada, CSC continued their struggle and took forward the cause. Mr. Imran Munawwar further said that if we talk about composite heritage keeping Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in mind, then it is a fact that hospitality is a composite heritage of this region. He concluded his speech at the remarks that the concept is so broad that there are several days required for proper understanding but hoped that the efforts of Peace Foundation will prove fruitful and will be helpful in achieving the desired objectives.

Allama Fakhr-ul-Hassan Kararwi, a senior member of Faith Friends also shared his views on the topic and said that where had the times gone when we were all living together peacefully. He said that our forefathers left an environment of peace for us but we need to think what we are leaving behind for our young generation. He said that there were no conflicts on the basis of race or religion in our past but now we have reached such a level of violence that we cannot even tolerate different sects in one religion let alone other religions. He said that it is true that all religions preach peace but it is also a fact that we have failed to achieve peace through religion. He further said that composite heritage is a kind of tool where we can gather together and promote and achieve the goals of peace. He thanked all for being present and listened to his views and specially thanked Peace Foundation and CSC for organizing such an event.

Mr. Imran Munawwar  Allama Fakhr-ul-Hassan Kararwi

Mr. Imran Munawwar & Allama Fakhr-ul-Hassan Kararwi addressing the participants.

Mr. Charanjeet Singh, senior member Faith Friends was requested to come onto the stage and share his views. He started his speech with an interesting fact and said that he would first want to inform all the people that Sikhs are normally considered to have migrated from India during 1947 but it is not true. He said that Sikhs are basically living in these parts of the world for a very long time. He further said that they were residing in the tribal belts of Pakistan before the independence and decided that they will remain here after independence. He said that they chose Pakistan to be their country and they are ready to give every kind of sacrifice for it. He requested with a smile that people in Pakistan should not consider them outsiders. Coming towards the topic, he first thanked Peace Foundation for providing him with the opportunity to be present at such a meaningful gathering. He then said that no religion in the world promotes hatred. All the religions, whether Islam, Sikhism, Hinduism or Christianity emphasizes on peace. He put a question mark that if this is true then why are we moving towards a violent future. He praised the struggle of Peace Foundation and CSC in this regard and said that the composite heritage is the key towards peaceful living. He concluded his speech by saying that we should utilize this tool as much as we can in order to restore an environment of peace.

Mr. Charanjeet Singh sharing his views during the conference.  Guests taking keen interest in the conference.

Mr. Charanjeet Singh sharing his views during the conference. Guests taking keen interest in the conference.

Qari Rooh Ullah Madani was invited onto the stage to share his precious views. He is the general secretary of World Religion Council Pakistan. He also said that no religion in world motivates violence. Every religion gives us a message of peace. He said that the unique nature of the concept of composite heritage gives us a platform where we can gather under one umbrella for the sake of peace. He ended his speech with the remarks that today's conference is a sign that our people are peaceful.

Mr. Saleem-ur-Rehman, Vice Chancellor Sarhad University came onto the stage to share his views. He started his speech with the words that he will not be able to say much about composite heritage however he is thankful to CSC and Peace Foundation due to whom he is able to gain knowledge about this concept. He put a question mark for all the religious leaders and said that why it is that all the religions of the world promote peace but in today's world we are very intolerant and very violent towards each other. He said that composite heritage is a platform where we can achieve the objective of peace.

Qari Rooh Ullah Madani  Prof Dr. Saleem Ur Rehman

Qari Rooh Ullah Madani and Prof Dr. Saleem Ur Rehman sharing their views during the conference.

Chief guest Mr. Sardar Suran Singh was invited onto the stage. He said that it is an honor for him to be invited as a chief guest at such a wonderful event. He thanked Peace Foundation, CSC, all the guests and participants. He said that our region has been a violent region for a very long time. We have lost thousands of precious lives due to this reason. He emphasized that we need to be united as a nation and for that we have to be tolerant to each other. He further said that we also have to correct our history and make it violence free. He was of the view that the subjects which motivate violence should be erased from our curriculum and instead of violence we should preach peace through our curriculum. He said that there are many reasons for the demise of a peaceful culture but forgetting our heritage is one key reason. He said that we have forgotten our culture of Hujra which is one reason of our demise. He further said that a Hujra was not only a sitting place for guests, it was an institute where young ones were trained how to respect, how to tolerate others. He said that a Hujra was a place where people sat together not taking into consideration their social status, their wealth, their religion or their race. It was the Hujra which taught us tolerance and peaceful living. He said that if we revive our hujra culture today, we will be able to overcome many of our problems including violence. He ended his speech with praising the efforts of Peace Foundation and CSC and emphasized that our youth should utilize the concept of composite heritage for the promotion of peace.

 Mr. Sardar Suran Singh sharing his views during the conference.

Mr. Sardar Suran Singh sharing his views during the conference.

Award presentation:

At the end of the conference, shields were presented.

The first award was presented to Mr. Maqsood Ahmad Salafi for his contribution towards peace. The award was provided by Sarhad University and was presented by chief guest Mr. Sardar Suran Singh.

The second award was presented to Mr. Imran Munawwar recognizing the efforts of CSC for the promotion of peace. The award was provided by Peace Foundation and was presented by chief guest Mr. Sardar Suran Singh.

Award presented to Mr. Maqsood Ahmad Salafi

Award presented to Mr. Imran Munawwar

Another award was presented to Qari Rooh Ullah Madani for recognizing the efforts of World Religion Council Pakistan’s efforts towards peace promotion.

Award presented to Qari Rooh Ullah Madani

In the end a award was presented to chief guest Sardar Suran Singh. The award was provided by Peace Foundation and was presented by Prof Dr. Saleem Ur Rehman.

Award presented to chief guest Sardar Suran Singh

Media was also involved in the conference. they gave full coverage to the conference. Interviews were conducted in the end with Prof. Dr. Saleem Ur Rehman and Mr. Maqsood Ahmad Salafi.

Interview with Prof. Dr. Saleem Ur Rehman

Interview with Mr. Maqsood Ahmad Salafi

Group Photo of guests at the conference.

Group Photo of guests at the conference.

Prof Dr. Saleem Ur Rehman, Vice Chancellor Sarhad University invited all the guests to his office and had a detail discussion about the work of all these guests.

Prof Dr. Saleem Ur Rehman, Vice Chancellor Sarhad University invited all the guests to his office and had a detail discussion about the work of all these guests. 


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