Sectarian Reconciliation in Pakistan
To encourage the role of Ulama and Religious scholars as the “Peace Advocates” in the promotion of sectarian reconciliation in society, Peace and Education Foundation (PEF) and Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) organized a National Conference titled “Intersect Reconciliation and Harmony: the need of Hour” in Islamabad. By engaging diverse religious leaders PEF has developed a sustainable mechanism to combat sectarian conflicts and violence, emanating from the misunderstanding of each other’ sects. PEF developed and published a comprehensive narrative of sectarian reconciliation and built a capacity of hundreds of religious leaders, Imams and madrasa teachers to combat violent sectarianism. These trained Imams and religious leaders (Sunni and Shia) then were embarked on their mission to disseminate the message of reconciliation and peace within their communities. ‘These interactions between diverse ulema and removing misperceptions about each other sects resulted in an unprecedented collaboration and made peace and reconciliation possible’.
With the support of these mid-level religious scholars and Ulama from all sects and civil society members, Peace and Education Foundation (PEF) has effectively decreased the sectarian narratives that promulgate hate and violence in society through promoting the narrative of sectarian reconciliation and harmony across Pakistan. At the moment, about 70 peace advocates and 20 members of intersect reconciliation councils are actively promoting the narrative of sectarian reconciliation under sectarian project. More than 20,000 copies of this narrative have been distributed among religious scholars through these peace advocates. PEF ‘Peace Champions’ have organized more than 200 community-based activities to curtail the sectarian violence, hate speech, incitement to violence against any particular sect and maintain peace during the holy month of Muharram-ul-Harram and the birthday of prophet.
To acknowledge the efforts of Ulama and religious scholars from all sects, Peace and Education Foundation distributed awards of “Peace Advocates” to religious scholars who have devoted their time and efforts in bringing peace and harmony to their communities and across Pakistan at large under this project. Ulema that participated in PEF Sectarian Reconciliation project from Punjab, Sindh, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and the members of Ulema Jirga from KPK, and the Ulama Reconciliatory Councils from Sindh and Punjab applauded the PEF unprecedented efforts in reconciling sectarian divisions. The religious scholars further suggested greater interaction and communication among religious scholars and seminary students.
The religious scholars’ efforts are inspiring and courageous in reducing sectarian violence in Pakistan. PEF sectarian reconciliation program is surely benefiting the government efforts to bring peace, love, and harmony among different schools of thought. Ulama, the media and civil society should help promote inter-sectarian harmony at the grassroots level
Dr. Noor ul Haq Qadri, Federal Minister for Religious Affairs
PEF Peace Champions: Promoting Narrative of Sectarian Reconciliation
Peace Advocates Punjab
PEF has trained and mobilized a team of 20 ‘Peace Advocates’ in the four districts of Punjab. These peace advocates conducted more than 80 follow-up activities at the community level to disseminate the narrative of sectarian reconciliation in their communities. These activities included Friday sermons, workshops, seminars, conferences, media forums, articles/columns, social media and visits to each other’s madrassas and mosques. Due to the effort of these advocates, after a long time, sectarian harmony was observed in Punjab during the month of Muharram. These “Peace Advocates” directly engaged more than 6,000 people from different segments of society to support for the discourse of sectarian reconciliation. Through media’s circulation, the message of sectarian reconciliation has reached to more than 10 million people across Pakistan, particularly in Punjab. 10,000 copies of narrative of sectarian reconciliation were also distributed through these advocates in the religious community. The advocate activities received enormous media coverage and about 200 news reports were published in various daily newspapers and media websites.
Intersect Reconciliation Committee Punjab
An “Inter-Sectarian Reconciliation Committee” was established by PEF in Punjab to address the sectarian conflicts and hatred among society. The member of the committee was chosen on their proven leadership abilities and perceived commitment to inter/intra-sectarian work and also incorporating a diversity of sects.
The Inter-sectarian Committee Punjab includes;
- Qazi Abdul Qadeer Khamosh, President Islamic Solidarity Council (Coordinator)
- Maulana Yasin Zafar, Secretary General Wafaq ul Madaris Al-Salafia, Pakistan
- Allama Syed Sabtain Haidar, President Shia Ulama Council, Punjab
- Dr. Uzair Albazi, Jamia Ahrafia Lahore, (Deobandi)
- Muhammad Khan Laghari, Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan (Brelvi)
- Mufti Muhammad Zahid, Vice Principal Jamia Imdadia Faislabad (Deobandi)
- Dr. Farid Paracha, Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan (Jamaat-e-Islami)
- Dr. Abdul Ghafur Rashid, coordinator Ittihad Bainul Muslimeen Committee Punjab (Ahle Hadith)
- Abdul Qadir Saheen, political and social leader, Punjab
To reduce the sectarian hatred among the followers of different sects, Inter-Sectarian Reconciliation Committee Punjab organized ten (10) activities that included visits of key religious madrassahs of all sects in Punjab, Seminars, Conferences and press talks.
Punjab Advocates Activities
Peace Advocates KPK
After receiving training on the content of the narrative of sectarian reconciliation, the KPK team of “Peace Advocates” has organized more than 80 follow-up activities at community level to disseminate the narrative of sectarian reconciliation. These activities included Friday sermons, lectures, press conferences and TV Programs. About 4000 people were directly engaged in these activities. Moreover, thousands of people were indirectly outreached in KPK through TV programs and media coverage of press conference.
Muttahida Ulama Jirga KPK
Under the leadership of Dr. Qibla Ayaz “Muttahida Ulema Jirga” was established in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) that comprises the well-known religious leaders from all sects.
The Muttahida Ulema Jirga consists of the following members;
- Dr. Qibla Ayaz, former Vice Chancellor and Chairman Seerat Chair, University of Peshawar
- Maulana Noor ul Haq Qadri, Former member National Assembly and President National Milad Council, Head madrassa Jamia Junaidia Ghaforia KPK. (Brelvi)
- Maulana Tayyab Qureshi, Khateeb Jamia Masjid Muhabbat Khan, Peshawar. (Deobandi)
- Maulana Abdul Aziz Nooristani, Principal Jamia Asaria Peshawar. (Ahle-Hadith)
- Allama Abid Ali Shakri, Principal Madrassa Arif ul Hussaini, Peshawar. (Shia)
- Professor Irshad Saljuk, Director Sheikh Zaid Islamic Center, University of Peshawar. (Jamaat-e-Islami)
- Dr. Sahib Islam, Professor Islamic Studies, University of Peshawar.
Muttahida Ulama Jirga led by Dr. Qibla Ayaz has organized 15 activities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) that comprises of visits to key madrassahs, press conferences, seminars, and meeting with political religious leaders and government authorities.
KPK Advocates Activities
Peace Advocates Sindh
A team of PEF Peace Advocates in Karachi comprising 26 Ulama and religious scholars from diverse sects have actively disseminated the narrative of sectarian reconciliation at their communities through different activities. They organized a number of activities and introduced the narrative of sectarian reconciliation to religious scholars and communities in their respective areas. The peace advocates conducted 50 follow-up activities to disseminate and promote the narrative of sectarian reconciliation. About 3000 religious scholars were directly engaged in these activities whereas through media coverage and TV programs, the message of inter-sect harmony was outreached to millions of people.
Intersect Reconciliation Council Sindh
PEF has established an “Inter-sectarian Reconciliation Council” in Sindh to response any sectarian conflict arises in the locality of Karachi city. The following well-known religious scholars who belong to different muslim sects were included as a member of this team.
- Mufti Muhammad Zubair, Principal Al-Suffa College, a religious scholar at Dunya TV (Deobandi)
- Anjum Aqeel Qadri, President Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan Sindh (Noorani). (Brelvi)
- Allama Abdul Khaliq Faridi, President Shuban Ghurba-e-Ahle Hadith.
- Allama Ali Karrar Naqvi, renowned shia scholar and leader of Shia Ulama Council
- Ms. Imtiaz Javed, religious scholar at QTV.
- Allama Qari Muhammad Ahsan Siddique, coordinator RRT Sindh
Inter-sectarian Reconciliation Council Sindh has conducted more than 15 activities in Karachi to promote the narrative of sectarian reconciliation. The activities included seminars, press conferences, media forums, meeting with government officials and visits to religious seminaries.
Sindh Advocates Activities
2- Pakistan Observer
4- Daily Ausaf
6- 92 News
7- Daily Dunya