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)
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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.


Curfew in parts of Kashmir ahead of anniversary of India stripping region’s autonomy 

Updated 8 min 47 sec ago

Curfew in parts of Kashmir ahead of anniversary of India stripping region’s autonomy 

  • Security lockdown in Srinagar in view of information about protests planned by groups to mark Aug. 5 as “black day“
  • Police and paramilitary soldiers drove through neighborhoods and went to people’s homes warning them to stay indoors.

SRINAGAR: Authorities clamped a curfew in many parts of Indian-administered Kashmir on Tuesday, a day ahead of the first anniversary of India’s controversial decision to revoke the disputed region’s semi-autonomy.
Shahid Iqbal Choudhary, a civil administrator, said the security lockdown was clamped in the region’s main city of Srinagar in view of information about protests planned by anti-India groups to mark Aug. 5 as “black day.”
Police and paramilitary soldiers drove through neighborhoods and went to people’s homes warning them to stay indoors. Government forces erected steel barricades and laid razor wire across roads, bridges and intersections.
The curfew will be enforced Tuesday and Wednesday, Choudhary said in a government order.
“A series of inputs have been received suggesting that separatist and Pakistan-sponsored groups are planning to observe August 5 as Black Day and violent action or protests are not ruled out,” he said.
Last year on Aug. 5, India’s Hindu-nationalist government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi downgraded Jammu-Kashmir state and divided it into two federally governed territories. Since then, New Delhi has brought in a slew of new laws which locals say are aimed at shifting the demographics in the Muslim-majority region, many of whom want independence from India or unification with Pakistan.
The status of Kashmir has been a key dispute between Pakistan and India since the two split after the end of British colonial rule. They each control part of Kashmir and have fought two wars over their rival claims.
Initially, the anti-India movement in the Indian-controlled portion of Kashmir was largely peaceful, but after a series of political blunders, broken promises and a crackdown on dissent, Kashmiris launched a full-blown armed revolt in 1989.
After the Aug. 5 decision, Indian authorities enforced an information blackout and a harsh security clampdown in Kashmir for months. Thousands of Kashmiri youth, pro-freedom leaders and politicians who have traditionally supported Indian rule were arrested. Hundreds of them are still incarcerated.
As some of the restrictions were eased, India enforced another harsh lockdown in March to combat the spread of the coronavirus, deepening the social and economic crisis in the restive region.
Human Rights Watch asked that India reverse its “abusive policies” in the region and said it was dismayed India persisted with “its repression of Kashmiri Muslims” despite the pandemic forcing the world to address discrimination and inequality.
“Indian government claims that it was determined to improve Kashmiri lives ring hollow one year after the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s constitutional status,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, the global rights group’s South Asia director, in the statement made Tuesday. “The authorities instead have maintained stifling restraints on Kashmiris in violation of their basic rights.”