Colours of peace

Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani
Friday, Mar 10, 2023

First of all, I would like to congratulate everyone on Holi, the festival of colours and joy. This important festival of Hinduism reminds us that the real victory is always of goodness and truth.

Like every year, Holi celebrations are going on across the country under the auspices of the Pakistan Hindu Council. This year, the US consul general in Karachi and the UAE consul general have been especially invited to promote interfaith harmony and show solidarity with marginalized minorities.

As a Pakistani citizen, I believe that the US and UAE both are very significant global players that have always stood by us in every hour of difficulty. On many occasions, I have acknowledged the positive role of both friendly countries for world peace, religious freedom and tolerance.

Abraham Lincoln, who served as the 16th president of the United States of America until his assassination in April 1865, was a great visionary leader and reformer during the American Civil War. He played a pivotal role to protect marginalized people and to convince all states to ensure equal civil rights. His ideology is still a source of inspiration for Americans to transform their country into a superpower.

Similarly, late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, founding father of the UAE and first president of the country laid the foundation of the UAE in 1971 while keeping a modern lifestyle in mind. The great Sheikh Zayed wanted to transform his country into a favourite destination for all nationalities by eliminating all kinds of discrimination and biases. He was a cordial friend of the US and Pakistan.

As a result of his positive policies, today the UAE is also known as a land of tolerance based on a unique model of peace and co-existence for every citizen. During my frequent visits there, I personally observed that there is no room for any kind of religious extremism.

In fact, the UAE is the only country in the world where the Ministry of Tolerance and Coexistence, headed by Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, exists to conduct various social activities regularly. Sheikh Mubarak is a strong advocate of Pakistan–United Arab Emirates Friendship.

I still remember the World Tolerance Summit in Dubai, held in November 2019, in which I was specially invited as the only guest speaker to represent Pakistan. The conference was attended by high-level delegates from more than 100 countries. On this occasion, I had proposed to establish a worldwide media forum with a one point agenda to transform a tolerant society in this digital era.

In my view, all religions of the world are respectable, which teach brotherhood, mutual respect, love, peace and tolerance. Every religion focuses on promoting universal brotherhood in order to ensure religious tolerance, global peace and mutual cooperation.

Most importantly, the US and UAE leaderships are proving their joint commitment to seek practical implementation of peace and tolerance for a mutual co-existence.

The policies adopted by the US and the UAE for ensuring faith freedom and tolerance in their diverse socio-cultural societies must be analyzed as both countries are role models for all such countries who want to achieve development and prosperity in the 21st century. I am quite confident that our media can play a positive role to bring people of different faiths closer.

Happy Holi to everyone!

The writer is a member of the

National Assembly and patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Hindu Council.

He tweets @RVankwani