I’m among all those citizens who always place peace among the highest human values. If you want to find the reason for this ranking, then you need to remember the concept of this five-word offering – peace. In the absence of hatred and violence, peace is the idea of mutual friendship and harmony. In this concept, the second side of societal or interpersonal friendship and agreement of beliefs and sentiments impacts more as we observe it in our individual and collective approaches. This other perspective also falls under the category of an efficient strategy to create an environment in which people are peaceful.
Recently, I got a chance to attend a training workshop, organized by the Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies in Islamabad, on interfaith harmony. During series of sessions, we received a charter of peace in a document form. Initially, this document was not something a new idea for me, as this initiative has been taken in different forms and names at many times. As I explored all points with deep focus and keeping in mind the ground realities, I can assure my readers here that they will also think and rethink about the very important notes of the charter.
In short, it was reflecting aspirations of every citizen, from the legislature to academia and clergy to intelligentsia and civil society, among others. Although this document contained a highly detailed list, I will only touch few of those topics. Firstly, this charter supports the constitutional supremacy. This basic point is valuable as this sanctified scripture guarantees peaceful achievement of rights and goals. This also urges the state and other actors to work for resolving conflicts and fostering peace in accordance with the stated policies and strategies.
‘Charter of Peace also demands educational reforms with goal of removing objectionable and provocative material from textbooks and introducing more scientific thought, discussion, and analytical reasoning’
By moving on, this charter also calls upon the state to re-establish legal order to dispel any notion that this state is ‘fragile’ or ‘weak.’ This point requiring the rule of law ensures that everything is under the control of the state, and any narrative unsettling peace in the country by considering the state to be a ‘loose body’ should be highly discouraged. This agreement also demands educational reforms with the goal of removing objectionable and provocative material from textbooks and introducing more scientific thought, discussion, and analytical reasoning.
This point is the perfect example of a double-win perspective, as the removal of unpleasant content will minimize hostility in the society and the inclusion of rational thought will shift the brain from the aggressiveness trap to do more creative work and excel more. The participation of women in all spheres of the society and the safety of women’s social, intuitive, and economic rights at the same time are among the major themes of the charter. According to statistics, women make up nearly half of Pakistan’s population. If a half section of the community will get equality of opportunities and most necessary protection while contributing, then it is understood that the permit of peace will have its implication in majors.
The charter also suggested promotion of cultural identities and empowering the young people socially, economically, and politically in order to stop them from tending towards extremism and rebellious actions. Amir Rana, director of the Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies, described this document as an evolving document that might take on many forms based on shifting dynamics and serve the purpose of strengthening the political and social soft approaches to encountering extremism and working for the cause of peace. The Charter of Peace also accords with UN resolutions that urge civil society to be a key player in promoting peace and combating extremism.