Pakistan calls for joint peace efforts at Abu Dhabi interfaith forum

Pakistan’s Religious Affairs Minister Noor ul Haq Qadri addresses the sixth assembly of the Forum for the Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies in Abu Dhabi on Dec. 9, 2019. (Photo courtesy: Ministry of Religious Affairs)
Short Url
Updated 09 December 2019

Pakistan calls for joint peace efforts at Abu Dhabi interfaith forum

  • Minister cited the Kartarpur corridor as one Pakistan's efforts for interfaith harmony
  • Says the Pakistani government is taking practical steps to revitalize Buddhist heritage sites

ISLAMABAD: The Muslim community should join hands to spread the message of tolerance, Religious Affairs Minister Noor ul Haq Qadri told participants of an interfaith forum in Abu Dhabi, UAE, on Monday.
“Pakistan has taken a number of practical steps for interfaith harmony, including the establishment of the Kartarpur corridor for the Sikh community living across the globe, which is a perfect example of promotion of peace and tolerance,” Qadri said while addressing the Forum for the Promoting Peace (FPP) in Muslim Societies.
Titled “The Role of Religions in Promoting Tolerance: From Possibility to Necessity,” the three-day assembly was opened by UAE Minister for Tolerance Shaikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al-Nahyan. It is attended by 45 religious leaders from across the world, scholars, politicians, and civil society representatives from more than 100 countries.
“We are striving hard to show Pakistan as a symbol of interfaith harmony in the community of nations,” Qadri told Arab News on the phone, adding that the Kartarpur corridor is a perfect example through which Pakistan has sent a message of peace and tolerance to the whole world.




Attendees listen as Pakistan’s Religious Affairs Minister Noor ul Haq Qadri addresses the sixth assembly of the Forum for the Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies in Abu Dhabi on Dec. 9, 2019. (Supplied)

The minister said the Pakistani government is taking practical steps to revitalize Buddhist heritage sites, which will also improve religious tourism in Pakistan.
“Pakistan is going to celebrate Gandhara week to spread the message that it’s a safe and welcoming place to religious minorities. We have taken on board leaders of all religious sects in Pakistan and have gained their support in this regard,” Qadri said, adding that the government is promoting interfaith and intrafaith harmony not only for foreigners, but also for members of minorities in Pakistan.
On the occasion of 2019 being the "Year of Tolerance" in UAE, the FPP's sixth assembly launched a dialogue between Islamic and Western narratives of tolerance.
Shaykh Abdallah bin Bayyah, chairman of the UAE Fatwa Council and president of the FFP, during his welcoming remarks called for worldwide tolerance that transcends coexistence and encompasses the act of getting to know one another.
“It is important to move beyond simply acknowledging our differences to getting to know one another and acknowledging our shared destiny,” he said.
The forum was established in 2014 to provide a platform to advance the core concepts of peace around the world. It is held under the patronage of UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.


More snowfall raises safety fears in Pakistan's southwest

Updated 20 January 2020

More snowfall raises safety fears in Pakistan's southwest

  • Pakistan’s frost-ravaged southwest braces for more snowfall
  • Death toll due to recent extreme weather reached 106

KARACHI: The Met Office on Monday said that more snow is expected in parts of cold-ravaged southwestern and northern Pakistan over the next 48 hours, where life has already been paralyzed by torrential rains and snowfall last week.
The countrywide death toll from avalanches, landslides and other extreme weather-related incidents during the recent cold spell has risen to 106.
New storms are expected in some of the country’s most isolated places in northwestern Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan, according to the meteorological office.
The news made residents fear for their lives and safety.
“A new snowstorm will create new difficulties for us who live here,” said Hashim Khan, a resident of Balochistan’s Muslim Bagh area, which was badly affected by the recent record snowfall. He told Arab News over the phone that road access to remote villages was still cut off and communities remained stranded.
Authorities, however, say that this time they are prepared to address all dangers.
“Snowfall is expected, but it will not be as heavy as it was last week. We are ready to tackle the situation,” Muhammad Younus, an official of the provincial disaster management authority (PDMA) told Arab News.
According to NDMA data, out of the 106 people killed by the recent weather-related incidents, 79 died in Azad Kashmir, 20 in Balochistan, five in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and two in Gilgit-Baltistan. 
At least 103 people have been injured, while nearly 1,300 houses were damaged, mostly in Balochistan. 
Prime Minister Imran Khan has announced relief packages for the families of victims, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) spokesman Saqib Mumtaz said on Monday.
“Chairman NDMA Lt. General Muhammad Afzal visited the rains and snowfall affected areas of Balochistan where Director General Provincial Disaster Management Authority Imran Zarkon briefed him on the losses and damages caused by (the) recent spell of rains and snowfall in the Province,” he told Arab News.
According to the PM House statement, Rs500,000 “will be extended to the families of every deceased person,” while Rs50,000 will be paid to those who are injured. Financial assistance of Rs100,000 “will be provided for the families with houses fully damaged or collapsed,” and between Rs25,000 and Rs50,000 will be given to those whose houses were partially damaged.
PDMA Balochistan said it had faced challenges in restoring the province's land transportation network, as heavy machinery for road clearance was insufficient. The NDMA chairman said the equipment will be supplied, funded from the National Disaster Management Fund (NDMF).