Scholars from different faiths have said that interfaith harmony is vital not only for the promotion of a strong sense of cohesiveness among the people of Pakistan but also for the country’s economic growth.

“International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS), University of Karachi, is the best example in the country, where the cultural diversity is playing its essential role in the promotion of science and research, and hosting dozens of scholars from different faiths and countries,” they said.

Sharing a stage in front of a diverse audience in a gathering entitled “Celebrating Cultural Diversity” at the International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS), University of Karachi, these scholars pointed out that Pakistan had shown great maturity by countering negative thoughts against the concept of religious harmony among the people.

Among the scholars who spoke on the occasion included Prof. Dr. M. Iqbal Choudhary, Director of the International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences, and COMSTECH Coordinator General, Bishop Khadim M. Bhutto, Central Chairman, Pakistan Bishop’s Council, Prof. Dr. Nasir Uddin, Pandit Mukesh Kumar, Joint Secretary, Pakistan Maharoshi Neval Sewa Committee, Alama Syed A. N. Askari, Sardar Amar Singh, General Secretary of Pakistan Sikh Welfare Committee, Mr. Amanullah Khan Niazi Vice President Member ACRP Asian Conference of Religions for Peace, and Khalid Nawaz Khan Marwat, Member Executive Committee Asia ACRP.

Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia in Karachi Dr. June Kuncoro Hadiningrat along with her wife also participated in the gathering.

Prof. Iqbal Choudhary, while commending the government’s policy to encourage interfaith harmony, said that Pakistani people always give respect to the people of other faiths, and their religious rituals.

He said, “ICCBS – University of Karachi always supports religious harmony in the center’s workforce.”

Islam teaches the people to live with peace and harmony, as our great prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was sent to the world as a messenger of peace for the entire humanity, he said, and congratulated the Christian community on the eve of Christmas.

Bishop Khadim thanked the administration of ICCBS for celebrating cultural diversity on the eve of Christmas and said that the holy bible was a message of peace for the entire humanity. The minorities enjoy the freedom of observing their religious services in the country, he said. Prof. Nasir Uddin informed the participants that Islam taught its followers to be sociable with people. According to the Islamic teachings, Muslims are only those who do care and welfare of others, he asserted.

Pandit Mukesh Kumar said that people needed to love only god so that society could be run on the right path. Sardar Amar Singh thanked Prof. Choudhary for organizing such a wonderful gathering, celebrating the diversity of beloved country.

Alama Syed Askari pointed out, “The real Muslims are only those who do not go against the spirit of unity and the interfaith harmony.” In the end, a cake cutting ceremony was also held, while a few students also presented religious songs regarding the Christmas ceremony.

Author

Arshad Yousafzai is a Karachi-based journalist covering Education and Human Rights. He can be reached on Twitter @Arshadyousafzay

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