A seminar on” religious and social festivities” was held at Hotel-First in Multan under the umbrella of Media Foundation 360 on 25 October 2019. Journalists from Print and electronic media, Lawyers, Human Rights Activists, members of civil societies, and Partners of the donor attended the seminar.
Consultant Shahzada Irfan Ahmed told background of religious and social festivities in Multan (South Punjab). He highlighted, “The religious harmony and peace are, however, not possible without participation of minority and women at every public forum. He said peace can be promoted after the creation of social harmony. He stressed social harmony guarantees peace and prosperity in the country. He guided the participants particularly journalists to explore stories that give lessons of peace and tolerance in the society. He said media is the fourth pillar of society that plays the role of an opinion maker. By doing stories to promote religious and interfaith harmony journalists can create acceptance in society. Hatred and differences can be reduced and eliminated from society. He guided the young journalists not to use derogatory words while writing stories on the issues of minorities. He stressed the people hailing from the minority are sons of soil. They have equal rights as majority enjoy in the country.
Mr. Shair Ali Khalti Mentor of MF360 also told the background of the project and shared the different ideas of the reporting for the news story and package for the TV media. He said peace and harmony can be promoted through the positive writing.
Continuing the seminar, Shahadat Hussain Bureau Chief of Geo Multan said, “Geo makes packages on minorities’ festivals. There are instructions from their offices. Geo also covers their special prayers on festival days.
Maimoon Saeed, special correspondent of Geo News, also highlighted the importance of peace journalism. According to her journalists is an opinion maker and peace builder. By his/her reporting he can create environment of peace in the society. Last year, n the cantt Christian community invited her to guide them making a channel. They wanted her to tell how to make a news drafting. Boys and girls learnt and started working on it, she shared.
She further added, Hindus don’t have any shamshan ghat in Multan. They are forced to bury the dead bodies that are practice against their orthodox religious principles, she said.
Mr. Rukan ud Din from JDHR, Mr. Waseem Malik from Carnelian, and Ms. Zia Aslam from PLYC are participated and share there valuable views, and told that Cricket was organized among different religious communities to promote tolerance through cricket. People from minorities participated in the match with zeal and fervor. He shared a success stories on the occasion and said he took the players from Muslim seminary and matched was played with team of minorities. The head of the seminary allowed his student to play with the minorities boys. It created environment of friendship between the minority and majority. According to him 12 teams were made one participants from taken minority and included in each team. He shared, distances were minimized in the teams. There was Shia, Sunni , Ahl e Hadees, guys. In the Team meetings misconceptions were eliminated by this gathering of the teams. During trainings it was kept in consideration that guys from every community are there.
Mr. Rukan Ud Din shared that another activity was arranged, the purpose of overall agenda was to promote tolerance. The project was to root out misconceptions among religious communities. For the purpose, Imams were engaged as well as People from community were also engaged. A lot of activities to bring them closer were conducted.To counter hate speech, to stop bullying and hateful remarks about others, the activities proved very fruitful. The youth visited to imam bargahs and played Cricket matches of all Religious groups.
A Food festivals was also arranged, shared Ms.Zia Aslam . All youngsters dined food together. We went to the mosques and other religious institutions. In ramazan and Muharram it was difficult to take time from Religious scholars but we had arranged meeting with them. We convinced them to preach love. At the end imams pledged that they’ll teach positive things about all the schools of thoughts.
All three organizations are working under the common themes of peace building and developed harmony in the same area of Multan.
Nadeem Raan MPA of PTI said that there is a lot of thing needed to be done for the minority community. According to him, PTI believes in equality and rules of law.
Minorities are free to worship according to their faith and religion. PTI government is going to open Kartarpur Corridor on November 9 for Sikhs.
In Multan the worship places including temples, churches, Gurdwaras will be renovated, he reiterated on the occasion.
He criticized the role of media and said, “There are good things to say about minorities but media can’t cover all due to pressure from the dominant society.
He appreciated the role of MF360 to promote the awareness in young journalist.
Hasnain tirmazi , Communication officer , MF360 delivered the vote of thanks and praised the participants for attending the event with full concentration and seriousness. He asked them to stay in contact with the organizers and provide them with their feedback on the event and suggestions on how to take things forward.
Some photograph from the seminar