Farhan Wilayat – A Journey towards Peace
A banker by profession and a peace-activist by heart, Farhan Wilayat grew up with passionate, talented parents, who spent a considerable amount of time doing meaningful activities. Seeing them as role models, Farhan wanted to bring diversity in his work and life. He started his journey towards peace and interfaith harmony through peace-tours, interviews, interfaith discussions and short theatre performances because he wanted to raise his voice for the rights and protection of religious minorities in Pakistan.
During this journey, he achieved a number of accolades from different local and international bodies, including “Youth Achiever Award” for the year 2016, “Popularity Award” from Ilham Bahawalpur, an accolade from Dr. Ajmal Niazi on his services for minorities and performance for the welfare of society during the grand ceremony of National Minorities Award Show in Lahore (Pakistan).
He received another accolade from Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation, USA on behalf of Pakistan Peacekeeping Mission for organizing “Few Hours in the Memories of Mattie Stepanek”, an outreach activity in Lahore, Pakistan. The International Forum for the Literature & Culture of Peace (Israel) awarded him with a title of “Dove of Peace” in year 2015.
“I feel extremely honored and appreciated when my work as an inter-faith harmonizer is recognized and validated. This keeps me going and helps me remain motivated to break the stereotypes that different religions and ethnic groups have created amongst each other.”
“After spending years of my life doing a full-time banking job, I still had a feeling deep inside my heart that I am not performing many of my responsibilities as a Pakistani citizen and a responsible human being.”
Looking at the situation of the Country, his personal inspirations and interests, he decided to become a ‘Peace Activist’ because he wanted to show the actual face and real beauty of Pakistan to the world as well as, induce tolerance in the society. Hence, he formed a group of volunteers under the title of “Pakistan Peacekeeping Mission” to create peace, unity and brotherhood among all Pakistanis, regardless of cultural, religious, sectarian and ethnic differences among them.
“I started working on a new agenda to create peace and harmony among all the people associated with different castes, colors, cultures and regional languages and luckily, a number of volunteers gathered with me in a very short span of time.”
They initially decided to arrange peace-tours to different religious monuments and pilgrimage areas, and ultimately started interviewing some of the very prominent figures amongst Pakistani minorities who were the brightest examples of religious diversity. They formed a performing team and made short theatre performances with moral stories on interfaith harmony, as well as, about the rights and protection of religious minorities.
“When I established Pakistan Peacekeeping Mission and started meeting people from religious minorities for interfaith harmony; I faced serious criticism and realized that some people strongly oppose the interfaith dialogue. It is actually not an attempt of unifying religions or producing a new religion but an attempt to understand each other better. “
“Islam is a religion of tolerance. The protection of non-Muslims in the Islamic state is one of our prime responsibilities of the Government as well as the citizens of a country.”
Farhan started out the mission to prove that Islam is in fact a religion that promotes peace and understanding among people of all faiths, and strongly prohibits all forms of violence and aggression. Today he sees himself as an individual who is making a difference in the society through advocacy as well as action.
“Respecting human rights and freedom, accelerating the activities of tolerance and dialogue is very important for one section of the community or a religion to be in good terms with the other and not to conflict. Let’s learn peace, harmony and tolerance which the world is in need of at an utmost degree.