Lahore: August 18, 2017 National Commission for Interreligious Dialog and Ecumenism (Catholic Bishops’ Conference Pakistan) arranged an Interfaith Youth Conference regarding the Independence Day 2017 in Lahore. The theme of this occasion of national integrity was was “The Role of Christians in production of Pakistan”
His Grace Archbishop Sebastian Francis Shaw OFM (Chairman NCIDE) was the President of the service though Dr. Saad S. Khan (joint Secretary National School of Public Policy) was the chief guest of this function. The function was held under the supervision of Fr. Francis Nadeem OFM Cap, Executive Secretary, NCIDE. Fr. Inayat Bernard was the principle speaker of the day.
The Program started with the National Anthem of Pakistan. presented an introduction of the program and gave a brief idea of the objectives of NCIDE.
In the key note address Fr. Inayat Bernard discussed the role of Christians in creation of the nation. He said that from 23rd March 1940 the Christians were available with the founder M.A. Jinnah at Minto Park (Greater Iqbal Park now) and guaranteed their cooperation for creation of the country which would later be called Pakistan.
He said that important political leader S.P.Singha, C.E.Gibbon and Fazal Ilahi utilized their unequivocal vote for formation of Pakistan. Prestigious promoter Chaudhry Chandu Lal demonstrated the participation from All India Christian Association. Later on the 3rd June 1947 three individuals from the Punjab Assembly voted for Pakistan. At Dhobi Ghat Faisalabad the Christians assembled from all of India stood shoulder to shoulder with the Quaid-e-Azam.
He proceeded with that it was the acknowledgment from the founder to include the white portion in the Pakistan flag which was 25% that time. Presently it is bound to around 5% for all minorities in the nation as per the old census. He said that on the 11th August, 1947 in his first discourse in the Constituent Assembly the founder guaranteed the religious freedom and security of all minorities including largest minority Christians.
Amid the service, the Children and youth introduced national melodies including Ehsan Ashraf, Lahore Cantt youth and Gulberg youth.
In his message, His Grace Archbishop Sebastian Francis Shaw OFM congratulated every members on this special day. He encouraged the young people to be proactive and accept the positive values of every religion rather being negative. In spite of indifferences, we must go on the way of harmony and solidarity.
The Chief Guest Dr. S. Saad Khan (joint Secretary National School of Public Policy) acknowledged and empowered the penances and the part of the Christian people group for Pakistan. He saluted the administration of Pakistani Christian part.
He additionally said that there ought to be no concept of majority and minority. All are citizens of Pakistan and this Pakistan which Quaid-e-Azam gave us, was beyond religions. All Muslim, Christian, and different religions attempted to get the opportunity. Indeed, even these penances, administrations of the Christians must be Part of the syllabus for the schools and universities.Participation is decreasing day by day. We are living in a democratic Country.
The students from the colleges also expressed their happiness and cited the contribution of the Christian Institutions in the progress of Pakistan. They promised to be vigilant against the social evils and work hard for the betterment of our beloved homeland.
Thanking all the guests and the Youth, Fr. Francis Nadeem said, “We are all celebrating Independence Day of our country with a national spirit and zeal. He quoted the sayings of the Father of our nation Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah “Every citizen of this country has a right to follow his/her religion without any fear”. We should live with peace and let others live in peace as well to let the vision of Quaid-e-Azam be fulfilled in its true meanings. He energized the young student of various colleges that they will be the future pioneers of the country, they should be peace loving and peace developers with the goal that the eras to come will live in peace and harmony under the shadow of the trees sown by them.
Toward the finish of the function every members sang along the national song while waving the flags of Pakistan in their hands.
Among the guests of honour on this event were Fr. Patrick Samuel, Fr. Jahanzeb, Fr. Adnan Kashif, Fr. Francis Sabir , Fr. Henry Paul, Hafiz Mufti Syed Ashiq Hussain, , Pandit Bhagat Lal and Dr. Badar Munir, were prominent among the guests.The program was attended by a good number of students from different Universities of Lahore; Punjab University, The Education University, National College for Business Administration, Minhaj ul Quran University and Sheikh
Zaid Islamic focus. The youth groups are from Capuchin Youth from Kot Lakhpat, Lahore Cantt and Gulberg were also present.
The following resolution was unanimously passed.
01.We the participants of the interfaith youth conference recommended to include the interfaith harmony chapter in the syllabuses in the schools, colleges, universities and the madrisas. We hope that it will have an effect to crate zeal of love and peace among students and shun hatred which prevails at this time in our society.
02.All the religious leaders and scholars appealed to preach from their pulpit the value of peace and tolerance so that the prejudices and intolerances will go way from the hearts and minds of the citizens of the country.
03.The government institutions are urged to give proper respect and honor to the Non-Muslim national heroes who have and are serving in different fields of life.
04.All the parents are requested to stress on their children to lead their life of peace, tolerance and respect of one another.
05.All the participants of the conference are also promising to continue our struggle for the peace and tolerance in society so that the intolerance and non-acceptance in our society might be over and all of us will work hand in hand to make our country a cradle of peace.