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Tolerance, ultimate solution for a peaceful Pakistan

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By A R Sajid

Pakistan is currently witnessing a severe wave of intolerance at mass level. It is very unfortunate and shameful to state that despite comprising of large number of passionate followers of Islam, we as a nation emerged as very much intolerant to others.

Contrary to teachings of Islam, Muslims all over the world are increasingly becoming extremists and narrow minded hence causing major problems for their own as well as their fellow Muslims. Followers of the most peaceful religion of the world (Islam) have failed to practice teachings of Islam and their beloved prophet Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH).

Unfortunately, Pakistanis are not left behind in the race of corrupt moral practices and largely practicing intolerance, terrorism and extremism. There is dire need of promotion of tolerance and equal human rights for every citizen.

Tolerance means ‘’to bear.’’ In Persian and Urdu, we use the word rawadari ( ) which is derived from rawa meaning acceptable or bearable and dashtan meaning “to hold”. Thus it means to hold something acceptable or bearable. Tolerance is respect, acceptance and appreciation of the rich diversity of our world’s cultures, our forms of expression and ways of being human.

Tolerance, the virtue that makes peace possible, contributes to the replacement of the culture of war by a culture of peace. Tolerance is a basic attitude for the respect of human rights. As established by the Declaration of Principles on Tolerance, promoted by UNESCO, this is based on accepting and recognizing the diversity of cultures, forms of expression and ways being in the world.

To be tolerant, it is necessary to know and dialogue with horizontal and open mind, although hardly without prejudice. This is not only a moral duty, as stated in the Declaration, “but also a political and legal requirement.” However, and above all, tolerance implies “an active attitude of recognition of universal human rights and the fundamental freedoms of others.”

It has already been established that states must comply with international human rights treaties that ratify, modifying their policies and legislation in order to guarantee equal treatment and opportunities for all groups and individuals in society. In this principle there dwells a condition for tolerance: equality. Likewise, UNESCO points out that education is the most effective and fruitful means to prevent intolerance.

The first stage of education for tolerance is to teach people the rights and freedoms they share

In the international human rights system, the right to education is universal and inalienable.

Treaties such as the Convention of the United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture on the fight against discrimination in the field of education (1960), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966) and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989), point out that quality education must reflect the values of human rights.

As UNESCO affirms, the right to education is an integral part of human rights. In this matter, the work of this organization is aimed at promoting

values such as peace, non-discrimination, equality, justice, non-violence, tolerance and respect for human dignity. Quality education based on a human rights approach means that they are applied throughout the educational system and in all learning contexts

UNESCO also has competitions and recognition that seek to foster a culture of peace and tolerance such as Peace Contest which is framed for primary and secondary school students wherein they can post audiovisual works such as posters, photographs and / or videos about the concept of peace and violence. There is also the Madanjeet Singht prize for the promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence. This distinction was created in the mid-nineties, the same year in which the Member States of UNESCO adopted the Declaration of Principles on Tolerance. In this regard, UNESCO points out:

the human being is characterized by its diversity, only tolerance can ensure the survival of multicultural communities in different regions of the planet

Further, in 1996, the UN General Assembly (by resolution 51/95) invited UN Member States to observe the International Day for Tolerance on 16 November.

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