Peace and Education Foundation (PEF) completed its four years journey of Strengthening Democratic Principles in Pakistan. To celebrate this success a one-day national conference in collaboration with Council of Islamic Ideology was organized in Islamabad on 28th September, 2020. PEF launched this specifically designed program to train a cadre of influential religious leaders in Pakistan to foster understanding of constitutional democracy and its principles within their communities.
Since 2016, under this initiative PEF has provided an opportunity to more than 800 religious leaders including representatives of religio-political groups by training them as democratic advocates to actively lead in awareness raising programs to enhance democratic citizenship, religious freedom and increase awareness about human rights in context of constitution of Pakistan. The Democratic Advocates engaged more than 20,000 local community members. The target regions include Islamabad, Lahore, Sheikhupura-Faisalabad, Peshawar, Swat-Dir, Quetta and Karachi.
Another most notable achievement is the publication of two comprehensive books:
(1) Islam, Democracy and Constitution of Pakistan
(2) Constitution of Pakistan and Structure of Islamic Democratic Republic
These books are endorsed by influential scholars, religious leaders, and mainstream media. Notable people who endorsed the books in writing are Dr. Qibla Ayaz (Chairman, Council of Islamic Ideology), Maulana Fazlur Rahman (President, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam), Maulana Samiul Haq (dec.) (former Principal, Daral Uloom Haqqania), Professor Sajid Mir (President, Jamat-e-Ahle Hadith) and Mr. Hamid Mir (renowned anchor and columnist)
Prominent scholars, journalist and academicians addressed the conference and highlighted the various aspects to promote democratic principles in the society.
Welcome Remarks: Dr. Ikram ul Haq
“This is true that democracy is in blood of Muslims, but still we need to rethink that how we can foster democratic principles within our local communities. We also have to rethink that how we can further strengthen the democratic principles that already exist within our society. We also have to rethink that how we can motivate diverse segments of our society to play their role in promoting democracy and democratic principles”.
“Democracy is not only about politics, these two are entirely different, but in our society the element of politics is more dominating. Democracy is a process which is based on the common good of the citizens. We have to see that how much our political leaders, institutions and madrasahs are following the democratic principles”.
“Democracy is not about forcefully imposing the will of majority on minority. In democratic societies rights of minorities are always safeguarded. The right to govern belongs to those who are chosen by the people; and that’s what democracy is. In true democracies the power cannot be confined to one particular segment because that’s against values of democracy. The real role of religious leaders is to promote true democratic values”.
Dr. Junaid Ahmed:
“In the past 60 years there has been extensive working in this regard and I believe that democracy in Pakistan is much better than many other countries. PEF must continue this work. Religious community has a key role in spreading the principles of democracy. We must do continuous engagement. There is also a need to work with local bodies. PEF should also engage with local bodies because the issues of citizens are addressed at that level. I would like to conclude that PEF has laid the foundation stones only but this is a long process”.
“In the world in which we are living today and the current democratic systems are in turmoil. We must understand and know our constitution and I appreciate the efforts of PEF in this regard they should continue these efforts and include wide range of segments”.
Dr.Qibla Ayaz Speech-Concluding Remarks:
Today’s event has great significance and special in terms of its purpose and theme. The speakers of have highlighted the importance of democratic principles among the participants from diverse regions and fields. We don’t have any proper definition of democracy, but the common misinterpretation is that democracy is all about elections, parliaments, government, public opinion, and all the tangible indicators, which exist in many other states. However, in many other states all these indicators exist but there is no real democracy. Democracy in real is based on principles and values, and those principles are applicable on us as well as our homes, our communities and on our society as a whole”.
OUR SUCCESS STORIES
Awards: Outstanding Contribution to Promote Democracy in Pakistan
PEF awarded the Democratic Advocates for their extraordinary contribution and services in the front lines of democracy and democratic principles in local communities. PEF acknowledge and honor the hard work of these Democratic Advocates who used their strength to foster democratic principles despite major challenges.
What our awardees say:
- Abdul Hafeez
“Our country is the democratic Republic, if there is a problem with the system then those issues must be resolved… completely abolishing the whole system is not the solution. Unfortunately, a large segment of our society still believes that democracy is contradictory to the Islamic system. We need to put the joint efforts to address these misperceptions. PEF did a remarkable job in fostering a positive image of democracy in the local communities.
My transitional story is also one of them; four years ago I had misconception about democracy, but it was due to PEF’s efforts that changed my perspective. I believe that training of religious leaders can play a key role in strengthening democracy. Moreover government should also support the organizations like PEF in their initiatives”.
- Sajjad Madni:
“Four years ago when we started this journey by becoming part of PEF’s initial training program, at that time 90% of our fellow participants were against the democratic system. We all had this common misunderstanding that democracy and Islam are in contradiction with each other. But PEF through that training and continuous engagement changed our minds and hearts.
We were living in isolation but we got the chance the chance to have dialogue with each other. We learned about our constitution and democratic principles which enhanced our understanding. The PEF advocates have outreached local communities and I must say that we as religious leaders should continue these efforts by ourselves”.
1- daily Jang
2- Daily Dunya
3- Urdu Point