Lahore: Students of schools, colleges, universities and people from different walks of life gathered at Lahore’s Mall Road in front of the Punjab Assembly for a Protest Rally in the memory of all those who lost their lives at the Army Public School – Peshawar on 16 December 2014 and victims of all other terrorist attacks.
Civil Society demands to Declare 16th December as a “National Day Against Extremism “
The participants of the Rally expressed solidarity with the families of the innocent children & teachers who sacrificed their lives at the Army Public School and in other incidents of terrorism.
The participants, who were carrying anti-extremism, and anti- terrorism banners and play-cards, chanted slogans and demanded the implementation of the National Action Plan in letter and spirit.
They unanimously demanded to Declare 16th December as a “National Day Against Extremism and Terrorism” in solidarity with all the victims of terrorism and also as a sign of our commitment against religious extremism, intolerance and terrorism and also suggested that the Year 2016 should be declared as a Year for Rwadari (religious tolerance and respect of religious diversity).
The Rally was organized on 15th December, 2015 by Rwadari Tehreek, which is a non-violent social movement initiated by concerned citizens of Pakistan to counter religious extremism, intolerance and terrorism and to promote the respect of all types of diversity including religious diversity, religious tolerance and to bridge gap between the people of different faiths and religions and different walks of life.
Prominent social, religious and political personalities participated in the Rally including Samson Salamat (Chairman of Rwadari Tehreek), Abdullah Malik (President of Rwadari Tehreek), Sohail Ahmed Raza (Member Advisory Council Rwadari Tehreek), Tariq Manzoor (Association of Private Schools International), Farooq Tariq (Secretary General Awami Workers Party), Pastor Shahid Miraj (Vicar- Cathedral Church), Amarnath Randhawa (President of Hindu Sudhar Sabha), Ms. Shaheena Kausar, Ms. Sabira Asmat (President Women Concern Network) and Ms. Komal Patras ( Secretariat Incharge of Rwadari Tehreek), Khamis Chaudhary & Imran Yousuf, Amna Malik, Asma Amir, the honourable Members of Rwadari Tehreek.
Addressing the participants of the Rally, President of Rwadari Tehreek Abdullah Malik said that “16 December 2014, the day when our children were attacked at the Army Public School- Peshawar is the Blackest Day of our History and therefore we can never forget this inhumane act and this is the reason that we are demanding from the Government to Declare 16 December as a “National Day against Extremism and Terrorism”.
Abdullah Malik further said “now we need concrete plans to de-radicalized our society and promote Rwadari involving state institutions, media and civil society to end the menace of religious extremism and intolerance from our society. The government needs to be more serious and practical to ensure the effective implementation of the “National Action Plan”. Especially 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 indiscriminately and there should be speedy trial of all those who are apprehended on the charges of terrorism.
“The syllabus of the educational institutions needs to be thoroughly checked and the material which spreads hate on religious, sectarian or any other basis should be eliminated from the curriculum and all those laws which are being misused to instigate people for violence in the society should be revisited” Abdullah Malik added.
Chairman of Rwadari Tehreek Samson Salamat said that “even after 1 year to the APS incident the whole nation is still in a shocking condition. Members of the Rwadari Tehreek in this situation strongly demands a stern action against the terrorists and militant outfits wherever they exist without any recognition of good or bad. The terrorists do not deserve any softness as they are killers of thousands of innocent citizens and should be brought before justice indiscriminately. The hideouts and Training Centers of the militant outfits should be targeted where they are training youth for terrorist acts and the access of the militant outfits to the educational institutions should be checked and banned”.
Samson Salamat further added that “the financing of the terrorist groups should be checked strictly and stopped. And all those individuals or groups who are supporting the militants and terrorists openly or secretly should be held accountable”. Moreover a very comprehensive border security plans are urgently required to control the foreign terrorists for entering in Pakistan and using our soil for terrorist activities”.
“Peace cannot be achieved without Deweopanization of our society and therefore strong political will and an effective policy for Deweopanization should be formulated and a very heavy responsibility rests on the shoulders of major political stakeholders in this regard” Mr. Samson added.
At the end of the Rally, all the participants of the Rally, particularly the leadership and the members of the Rwadari Tehreek pledged to continue their struggle against religious extremism, religious intolerance and terrorism to make Pakistan a peaceful place for all the citizens without any discrimination.