Pakistan: Peace Rally in Lahore against terrorism

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Participants of Peace Rally in Lahore pledge to continue their struggle to eliminate terrorism and religious extremism for peaceful Pakistan
Hundreds of Peace Activists marched on the Mall of Lahore on January 5th, 2015  under the umbrella of Peace and Tolerance Alliance (an alliance of civil society organizations and individuals for peace and tolerance) to demand the elimination of terrorism and religious extremism for peaceful Pakistan. The Peace Rally was led by Mr. Samson Salamat, Director Centre for Human Rights Education, Abdullah Malik, President Civil Society, Salman Abid- Regional Head of SPO, Zafar Malik of Aghaz Foundation and Umeed Jawan Program and Amna Malik of Armaan Foundation.

Renowned activists Saeeda Diep, Farooq Tariq, Aima Mehmood, Umm-e-Laila, Irfan Mufti, Chaudhry Khurshid Ahmed, Shazia Shaheen, Adoo Ram, Shazia Bashir, Komal Patras, Suba Saroya Advocate, Rashid Lodhi Advocate were present at this occasion while Former MPAs Mian Imran Masood and Amna Ulfat also participated.

The participants of the Peace Rally who were carrying play-cards and banners against Talibanization, terrorism and religious extremism and chanted slogans to demand the stern and effective action to save Pakistan from the terrorists.  “Enough is enough” said the participants of the Peace Rally.

Mr. Samson Salamat, Director Centre for Human Rights Education- Pakistan while addressing the participants of the Peace Rally said that “Pakistan has suffered enough and now this should be enough and the government, political leadership and the law enforcement institutions should do everything required to end terrorism and religious extremism which is important for the safety and security of the citizens”. Mr. Samson Salamat further added that “The huge presence of the citizens from different walks of life in the Peace Rally is a clear sign that people of Pakistan will not just rely on the lip-service but want to see the implementation of the Action Plan which has been formulated after the attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar”. Mr. Samson demanded that the access of the militant outfits to the educational institutions and their financing should be checked and banned and all those individuals or groups who are supporting the militants and terrorists openly or secretly should be held accountable. Mr. Samson Salamat further demanded that a very comprehensive border security plan should be formulated to control the foreign terrorists for entering in Pakistan and using our soil for terrorist activities and the ban on hate speech should be implemented in letter and spirit and all those found in spreading hate speech through print or electronic media or through loud speakers should be apprehended.

Mr. Abdullah Malik-President of Civil Society Network said that stern action against the terrorists and militant outfits wherever they exist without any recognition of good or bad Taliban is need of the time. The terrorists do not deserve any softness as they are killers of thousands of innocent citizens and should be brought before justice indiscriminately. Mr. Malik further added that “the hideouts and Training Centers of the militant outfits should be targeted where they are training youth for terrorist acts”.

“Peace cannot be achieved without Deweopanization of the Pakistani society and therefore strong political will and an effective policy is required for Deweopanization and a very heavy responsibility rests on the shoulders of major political stakeholders” Mr. Malik added.

Mr. Salman Abid- Regional Head of SPO said that “we need to understand that the action against the Taliban and other militant groups is in the best interest of the nation and the country and therefore the whole nation needs to unite against Talibanization and religious extremism”. Mr. Salman Abid emphasized on the need to thoroughly check the syllabus of educational institutions and the material which spreads hate on religious, sectarian or any other basis should be eliminated from the curriculum.

Mr. Zafar Malik- Executive Director of Aghaz Foundation and Umeed Jawan Program said that our struggle for a peaceful Pakistan shall continue despite the terror and threat because Pakistan and religious extremism cannot go together. Elimination of Talibanization is what the government and the other stake-holders need to focus at this moment.

Mr. Khurshid Ahmed, Labour Union Leader said that “people from all walks of life have suffered from the terrorists’ attack of the Taliban and even the worship places are not safe. Therefore the government, military and all other stake-holders must do whatever is required to eliminate Talibanization from the society”.

At the end of the Peace Rally the participants vowed to continue their struggle against religious extremism and terrorism to make Pakistan a safe place for every citizen without any discrimination of caste, colour, creed or social status.

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