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PAL moot on ‘Sufism & Peace’ adopts Islamabad Declaration
The News, Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Schezee Zaidi

Islamabad

The three-day ‘International Conference on Sufism & Peace’ organised by Pakistan Academy of Letters (PAL) concluded here Tuesday after adopting the charter ‘Islamabad Declaration’, calling for concerted efforts towards upholding the primacy of pen and peace over the forces of darkness.

A galaxy of over 80 intellectuals and literati from 35 countries representing different faiths, communities and cultures participating in the Conference stressed upon the promotion of Sufism and peace for peaceful co-existence, cultural harmony and understanding in a turbulent world afflicted by terrorism and conflicts.

Governor Punjab Salman Taseer and Sardar Assef Ahmad Ali chaired the concluding sessions. Governor Salman Taseer stressed that Islam is a religion of peace and harmony and the great Sufi saints of this land brought people closer by lighting the lamp of peace in every heart. Education Minister Sardar Assef Ahmad Ali deliberated upon the wisdom and tradition of peace and brotherhood gifted to the great Sufis of this land. He also stressed the need to uphold Sufi wisdom and thoughts to counter all evils.

Chairman PAL Fakhar Zaman while thanking the delegates and participants stressed that as they go back to their countries, they must highlight the Sufi messages of peace and harmony, which are instilled in the cultural milieu of Pakistan. “As we continue to fight against terrorism, we must also show the world the true face of Pakistan,” he said.

The Islamabad Declaration noted that the multi-cultural society in the world has now become the only way to promote humanistic ideals imbedded in the spiritual development of mankind as enunciated by Sufi wisdom and thoughts.

Also taking note of the important role of civil societies in creating social awareness about inter-religious harmony, human rights and respect of law, as well as the role of Sufism in promoting tolerance, mutual respect and human dignity as part of all religions and civilisations, the conference stressed for strengthening communication between the representatives of religions, faiths and non-governmental institutions.

The Islamabad Declaration also affirmed that the differences and misconceptions between faiths and cultures should be sorted out on the principle of respecting all faiths and persuasions. It was also stressed that sharing and practical steps should be taken to promote the positive aspects of global harmony and peace.

The Declaration affirmed that concrete and evidence based solutions to conflicts creating tensions and misconceptions between various societies and religions be sought with the advice of intellectuals, writers, thinkers, artists and organisations striving for peace. It was also mentioned that writers and intellectuals working with print and electronic media should adopt a more mature and responsible code of conduct. And various faiths and religions in the world should advocate peace, compassion and tolerance among mankind.

The Declaration also stressed that commitment to peace, cooperation, harmony and reconciliation and dialogue towards a culture of peace as part of the solution to the challenges faced by mankind today, affirming that in future, such forums will enable self-reflection on the critical role in contributing to a better world.

The Islamabad Declaration condemned all forms of terrorism not only in Pakistan but all over the world. The galaxy of writers assembled in Pakistan were of the view that the men of letters should not only show tolerance to all creeds, regardless of race and all forms of political persuasions but work for the acceptance of diversity of creeds, as the flowering of pluralism and multi-culturalism is the only way to the nourishment and sustenance of human civilisation.

The Islamabad Declaration also acknowledged the memorable contribution of PAL and Government of Pakistan by making strenuous efforts to have the interaction of the galaxy of human intellect and wisdom to demonstrate the primacy of pen and peace over the forces of darkness and turbulence from the land of Data Ganj Buksh, Bulleh Shah, Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai, Rahman Baba, Mast Tawakkali, Sachal Sarmast and Khawaja Ghulam Farid.