Thursday, July 19, 2012

“Minorities International Conference’ to be held in Pakistan in December 2009” report published in the ASSIST News Service (ANS)on Sunday, October 4, 2009

‘Minorities International Conference’ to be held in Pakistan in December 2009
By Dan Wooding and Sheraz Khurram Khan
Special to ASSIST News Service 
LAHORE, PAKISTAN (ANS) -- The International Minorities Alliance (IMA) is holding a two day “International Minorities Conference” from December 12-13. 2009, in the Pakistani eastern city of Lahore at Loyola Hall, 28 Waris Road, Lahore, ANS has learnt.
Delegates from USA, UK, Germany and Italy are expected attend the conference. 
Mr. Nazir Qaisar, chairman of the IMA told ANS that the conference would cover “a range of minority-related issues.” 
Themes will include “Pakistani Minorities and International Laws,” “Political situation of Pakistan and Minorities,” “Minorities in Overseas Pakistan,” and “Pakistani Minorities and Women in the clutches of discriminatory laws,” as well as “Pakistani Education and Minorities.” 
Professor Anjum James Paul will present a paper on the theme of “Pakistani Education and Minorities.” 
Mr. Qaisar said that he regretted that the events of the last 62 years in Pakistan with reference to religious minorities have been “very discouraging.” 
He said: “Unfortunately the minorities have not been given full political and civil rights in Pakistan and there are a number of basic issues and fundamental concerns that still need to be addressed. Pakistani minorities have been reduced to the level of second rate citizens.” 
Mr. Qaisar alleged that “selective criteria, social biases and prejudiced ideologies” had made the existence of the minority communities “miserable.” 
He accentuated the need for a just, democratic, plural and tolerant society. 
He said the IMA was going to host a two day conference “to discuss and deliberate the future of minorities in Pakistan.” 
“We are expecting a whole galaxy, of political leaders ,social workers, human rights activists, prominent members of minorities and especially Christians leaders from around the world to attend the Lahore conference,” said the noted Christian poet. 
ANS has learnt that Salman Taseer, governor of the Pakistani province of Punjab would inaugurate the two day conference, whereas Asma Jehangir, a prominent human rights activist and founding member of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, would preside the conference on December 12. 
Dr. Peter G. David, a delegate from London, will preside the second session of the conference on December 12 whereas Dr. Farooq Sattar, Federal Minister for Overseas Pakistanis and Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, would be chief guests. 
Poets from across Pakistan would read their poems on the evening of December 13. 
Editor’s note: Mr. Nazir Qaisar is recipient of Pakistan’s highest literary award “Adamji.” He has also received other awards including “National and Culture Award,” “Presidential Award” and “Masood Khadarposh Award” in recognition of his services for promoting the Punjabi language. 
Mr. Qaisar has authored 14 books in Urdu and Punjabi languages. One of his books is part of curriculum in Indian universities of Chandigarh and Guru Nanak Dev Amrastar. Pakistan’s Allama Iqbal of the Open University has recently introduced optional thesis in M.Phil on Mr. Nazir Qaisar.

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