Peace and Education Foundation (PEF) conducted a consultative meeting with Chairman Chela Ram Kewlani and founding member Dr Jaipal Chabria of National Commission for Minorites of Pakistan to brief about the project ‘Connecting Communities for Peace and Interfaith Harmony’ at Avari Hotel, Karachi.
PEF, Project Manager, Haseeb Iqbal discussed in meeting that PEF implemented a 07-month project to work with community leaders in Karachi. The project implemented in the five areas of Karachi icnlduing ; Gulzar-e-Hijri, Pehlwan Goth, Sakhi Hassan, Khadda Memon and Nawabad. The project aims to increase acceptance of pluralism in targeted communities and enhance tolerance. PEF builded the capacity of 105 diverse community leaders’ community leaders promotde peace messages in their areas of influence. Once trained, the community leaders organized a series of activities such as conducted 17 Social Action Plans (SAP), organized five diversity tours and held five peace dialogues.
He added that, PEF provided the community leaders an opportunity to sit together to understand each other views, discuss their mutual challenges and find solutions as well as reflect on their opinions about other sects and help them in removing stereotypes. It also provided them a platform to work together to bring peace and harmony in their areas.
Haseeb Iqbal stressed that ‘this was the very first official meeting with NCM, and it will be great for future if together we can work in cooperation for the religious minority communities. If you people will show the interest, then we cannot just achieve our purpose of achieving peace in Karachi, but communities will get to know their commission as well.’
Member NCM, Dr Jaipla Chabria said that ‘I got the invitation and then I came as well in your activity as guest speaker. I saw a great diversity and PEF deserves high appreciation for this regard.’ Due to pandemic situation NCM could not plan any physical activity but like PEF they are struggling to aware the masses and pushing them to come forward and play their role. It will be honor to work in cooperation.
Dr suggested that for now collectively they can design a virtual program with the community leaders trained by PEF for competitive exams and jobs. He has observed that every year the allocated seats for the minority quota go vacant. The question arises as to why these seats go unfilled every year. There are very few minority students who apply for the CSS exam. A rough data shows that only 10 to 15 minority aspirants apply against the eight to 10 vacancies. If more candidates from minorities are applying there would be more chance of their seats getting filled. I would like to encourage all minority students to avail the opportunity to serve your country in a better way.
Chairman NCM, Chela Ram Kewlani said that he will be pleased to work with PEF for peace, interfaith harmony and pluralism. Not just advocacy is the only solution to bring peace but there should be law, legislations and policies. Commission had visited various parts of the country to learn about the problems faced by minority communities in Pakistan. This commission is not only a need of the country but also essential for improving the country’s image.
He emphasized that they make sure that in order to maintain religious harmony they will support and be with PEF.
Bishop Khadim Bhutto, Pastor Amjad Farooq, Sanjay Mathrani and Arvind Kumar were also part of this consultative meeting. PEF rewarded appreciation shields to Chela Ram Kewlani and Dr Jaipla for their notable contributions for peace and harmony.