Lahore (Agenzia Fides) - "It is our task to recognize the dignity of women and recognize their precious contribution to society. We encourage and invite women to continue their vital role in promoting peace and harmony in society, in their respective places where they are present": says Fr. Francis Nadeem OMFCap, Executive Secretary of the Bishops’ Commission for Interreligious Dialogue and Ecumenism (NCIDE), noting "the role of women in building interreligious peace and harmony in Pakistan". In a meeting organized by the Commission in Lahore, on the occasion of International Women's Day, Archbishop Sebastian Francis Shaw, President of NCIDE, spoke next to human rights activist Naureen Akhtar, in the presence of numerous Christian and Muslim women.
Naureen Akhtar said that "the role of women is fundamental for sustainable peace", recalling that "women and mothers show love, hospitality, respect, equality, peace and justice within families, and this good work is reflected in communities and society". The activist recalled that "at all levels women are peacemakers and have enormous potential in resolving domestic, social and religious conflicts". "Pakistani women - she noted - are contributing significantly today to building social, political and economic peace". To ensure sustainable peace - she suggested, "women must have equal opportunities and equal rights at all levels, to amplify their voice in building peace and interreligious dialogue".
Ruhaina Qureshi, artist and communicator, also stressed "the urgency of gender equality and the commitment of women in all areas of life in order to promote peace and harmony in society", noting that "peace it is only possible if women make their contribution".
Two Islamic leaders present, Muhammad Asim Makhdoom, president of the "Kul Maslik Ulma Board" in Lahore, Mufti Ashiq Hussain, principal of the "Bat-ul-Quran" institute in Lahore, underlined some important women's rights, which must be realized: right to education, right to inheritance, right to work, guaranteed by religion and the state.
Finally, as president of NCIDE, Archbishop Sebastian Francis Shaw, recalled that "women must be accepted and treated in society as citizens, with equal rights and equality, as they represent half the population of the country". Reaffirming the mission of the Church in Pakistan, the Archbishop invited all women "to play their vital role for a peaceful society and for social and religious coexistence". (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 9/3/2020)