The Liberal Forum Pakistan (LFP) arranged a seminar on Peace and Tolerance at the Ambassador Hotel, Davis Road Lahore. Some hundred peprofessionals, students and youngsters from various backgrounds took part in the seminar.
The seminar was hosted by the nationally renowned anchor and General Secretary of Liberal Forum Pakistan (LFP), Lahore- Alia Shah. Muhammad Safdar, President LFP Lahore, introduced LFP- an organization funded by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation and dedicated to liberal principles like human rights, democracy, free market economy, individual freedom, secularism, good governance, freedom and liberty.
The speakers belonged to civil society organizations. The first speaker was Ishrat Saleem, an Assistant editor of Dailytimes. She discussed terrorism, and was resentful of the recent Salman Taseer murder and the growing extremism sometimes sponsored by state organs.
Fatima Khan, a lawyer and Radio Broadcaster since the last 5 years, commented on individual freedom in the light of what western liberal philosophers like John Stuart Mill, Jeremy Bentham and Adam Smith said. She focused on rights and duties, and how awareness of the two is imperative for a peaceful and tolerant society.
Yasser Laif Hamdani, the famed columnist who writes for many English dailies, was critical of the misinterpretation of Pakistan’s history. He believes only secular states can attain peace and that citizens have many needs other than religion which the state is supposed to guard- minority rights being one of them.
Asma Perveiz, the principal of The Learning School, Kot Raadha Kishen Kasur, emphasized on the need to restrict freedom in order to ensure the safety of others. Rahat Ajmal, an MP from Kot Raadha Kishen expressed shock at the new wave of intolerance in the country. Dr. Amna Butta, an MP from Pakistan People’s Party stole the show by her passionate rhetoric. She spoke in favor of minority rights, equality and against terrorism. She said that people need to clearly define their stance against the terrorists and stand against this growing fanaticism and fear.
The chief guest was Dr Mughees uddin Sheikh, an academic and former dean of Social Sciences in Punjab University. He insisted that Pakistan’s extremism and terrorism won’t end till poverty, illiteracy and injustice is removed from the society. Terrorism is an outcome of the public frustration, deprivation and anger.
Parts of this press release were published by the Dailytimes.