Farhan Wilayat – A Journey towards Peace

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Our-Journey-towards-Peace-1A 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).

Our-Journey-towards-Peace-8He 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.”

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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.

Our-Journey-towards-Peace-4“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. “

 

Our-Journey-towards-Peace-992Farhan 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.

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6 comments

  1. M.M.K. 6 July, 2016 at 10:07 Reply

    I never knew that somebody in Pakistan is that much seriously working on interfaith (as we use to read and hear bad things through print and social media). Tolerance and harmony mean so much in present era. Good luck!

  2. Zahra Khatoon 8 July, 2016 at 17:21 Reply

    my grandma (nano) lives in karachi and i 1st time decided to visit pakistan in 2015 to meet her. the moment i made that decision, all my friends and relatives started forcing me to review my decision once again and some of them bluntly asked me to cancel my trip as we hear so many bad news about pakistan all the time. with so many doubts in my mind and so much fear in my heart, i finally visited karachi one day but believe me, after passing a few days in pakistan, after meeting pakistani public, after enjoying so much shopping at tariq road and after getting so much love and attention from my relatives, i realized that everything i heard about pakistan was totally wrong. people have so many misunderstandings about pakistan and i believe all those people should at least visit pakistan once. nobody is like pakistani people becoz they are so loving, caring, gentle and friendly. i even forgot everyone in india and uk where i have spent rest of my life. i appreciate everyone in pakistan who are making group or individual efforts for peace. wish you guys best of luck.

  3. Syed Hur Abbas Naqvi 12 July, 2016 at 14:35 Reply

    such an amazing work and great struggle! i m wondering we still have such people in our society who can devote their lives for humanity and peace. even a huge number of peace activits and humanitarians in south asia are afraid to work for other religions and they keep a distance with interfaith activities due to many risks involved. hats off to this brave man who pays equal respect to other religions and sects.

  4. Nabeel Azam 12 July, 2016 at 16:31 Reply

    I’ve just finished reading this articles and I must say it is a courageous step of Mr Farhan. In fact humanity service is a vast field where lots of people are working for different causes, like social welfare, peace activism, inter-religious harmony and inter-secterial tolerance etc. and he is devoting his time and efforts for all of these activities. I know many other activities he is currently involved with but I am a little muddled as those things are not quoted here. May be he doesn’t want to disclose 🙂
    My best wishes for him and I believe he will shine one day, not like a star, but like a sun!

  5. Suresh Kumar 13 July, 2016 at 15:49 Reply

    I am a proud citizen of Pakistan and I never appreciated anyone calling me a Minority. The reason is too simple. First, I am a Pakistani and my religion has nothing to do with my nationality or with my patroitism. Though, Sindh province is highly populated with our Hindu community but many other people from Punjab, Khyber, Gilgit & Baltistan, Balochistan, and Azad Kashmir sometimes share extreme excitement when they meet our community people (as many of them are totally unaware that Hindu people still reside in Pakistan). At that time, we feel like CELEBRITY 🙂 Our ancesters have been living in the land of Sindh from centuries ago and this is the sacred land of Jhoolay Lal (our diety) which we can never leave. Long Live our beloved Pakistan!

  6. Prof. Ada Aharoni 15 September, 2016 at 18:18 Reply

    Dear Farhan,

    This is a beautiful, well-written and well presented article. Your story Farhan, on how you decided to become a Peace Activist, is fascinating, and I hope it will influence many others. I am very glad that your next project is interviewing Pakistani Jews, under the IFLAC Israel banner, I am keenly looking forward to reading all about it. It is especially important today when some fanatic youths are stabbing innocent people, and are endangering their lives through these terrorist actions. I wish they would imitate you! I wish you much success with this project too.

    Your pictures are superb and they give us a taste of various cultures, religions, costumes, customs and colors, beautifully presented. The photos of the many monuments with the description of each site are fascinating too. Wikipedia is running a competition of some sort on photos of ancient monuments, and you may perhaps like to send them some of yours. Good luck!

    Your PAKISTAN PEACEKEEPING COMMISSION is accomplishing an important project that should be copied by all leaders, and by people from all religions and nations.

    Prof. Ada Aharoni
    IFLAC Founding President

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