PESHAWAR: Former provincial information minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain has said that the culture of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is being destroyed at the behest of foreign forces under a conspiracy, which threatened the cultural diversity of the country.
He was speaking at a seminar organised by Peace, Education and Development (PEAD) Foundation in collaboration with Rights of Expression, Association, Assembly and Thought Network here on Wednesday.
Mr Hussain said that Pakhtun culture had traditions, which were in place for centuries, including non-violence, not attacking a woman or child and never attacking a hujra (guesthouse).
“But all this has changed – suicide bombing was not our culture – schools, churches, mosques and shrines are being attacked and women and children are being killed,” he said.
He said that Awami National Party was in favour of the peace talks with Taliban if it achieved peace. But he warned that the chances of success in the ongoing peace parleys were not very bright.
Speaking on the occasion, MPA Arif Yousaf said that Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf was in solidarity with the non-Muslim minorities. He said that the impact of talks and NATO containers’ blockade was visible as both terrorism and drone strikes had diminished.
“Our culture is being misrepresented in the world. Pakhtun culture should be promoted and the traditions of our people must be shown to the world,” he said.
Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl MPA and member standing committee on minorities Uzma Khan said that cultural diversity was under threat and “what is being shown on TV is not our culture. We should think collectively as a nation and promote tolerance because no religion teaches violence.”
Earlier, PEAD Foundation’s executive director Sameena Imtiaz shared the findings that in past three months 13 different places of religious worship were desecrated, which included a mosque, Sufi shrines and dharmashalas [guesthouses?].
She opened the seminar by posing a question that a country which was created for a minority was now becoming intolerant to others while respect for people who did not believe in the faith or ideology of the majority was diminishing.
Chairman All Pakistan Minorities Rights Association Haroon Sarabdiyal, secretary Church of Pakistan Rev Joseph John, former VC of the University of Peshawar Dr Qibla Ayaz and representatives of minority communities also expressed their views and stressed on promoting and preserving the rich cultural diversity and heritage of Pakistan.