Thursday July 18, 2024

A network of peace-builders

By Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani
February 15, 2019

Once again, I am visiting Seoul, the capital city of South Korea, to attend the World Peace Summit, organised by the Universal Peace Federation. The UN-affiliated international and interreligious organisation aims to connect peace-loving individuals and organisations, including representatives from various religions, governments, the civil society and the private sector.

High-level distinguished delegates, belonging to 112 countries across the globe, are currently under one roof to discuss ways to achieve world peace and global harmony. I have the privilege to attend the World Peace Summit as a member of parliament, the patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Hindu Council and the convener of the Pakistan-India Parliamentary Friendship Group.

While exchanging views with Indian delegates, including Vijay Joli, Dr Anupam Hazra, Vijay Kumar and Ajay Dutt, I stressed the importance of forming a Pakistan-India Parliamentary Friendship Group in the Indian Lok Sabha.

Akinwumi A Adesina, the president of the African Development Bank, emphasised the need to tackle challenges of poverty by taking solid steps. He was of the view that there cannot be peace in a world that is hungry. “Hunger persists in regions and places going through conflicts, wars and fragility. Those who suffer the most are women and children,” he said in his address, adding that the most vulnerable communities are women and children.

One must agree with the viewpoint that the human race is one family, regardless of nationality, religion, race or colour. My current visit to Korea reminds me of the last time that I visited the country two years ago in 2017. I was invited for the Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL). The current summit once again highlighted that a forced invasion and war will not exist if the international community cooperates to achieve peace.

Back then, the international community was in panic mode due to North Korea’s missile tests. However, South Korea’s laudable progress in research, smartphones and digital technology proves that the key to success is, in fact, education rather than the weapons race. North Korean ruler Kim Jong-un’s historic visit to South Korea played a pivotal role in bringing both countries closer. That’s why regional peace seems to have rapidly prevailed in the Korean Peninsula over a short period of time.

During my stay in Seoul, a tweet by US President Donald Trump also became the talk of the town. Announcing the successful dialogue with North Korea, he disclosed that the next summit dialogue with the North Korean ruler will be held on February 27 and February 28 in Hanoi, Vietnam.

I told the summit participants that Trump is prioritising the interest of the American people. His policies are in favour of the US to ensure better relations with the international community, even with enemy states such as North Korea. As a result, the US under Trump is also seeking peace talks with the Taliban in Afghanistan.

We must understand that history is not about sticking to the past but learning lessons to ensure a brighter future. In the today’s digital era, successful and wise nations don’t engage themselves in conflicts, but cooperate for peace and prosperity in the people’s interest. It is time for every country to get rid of a stereotypical mindset regarding foreign policy.

Today, we need a bold and visionary leadership at the international level that must be capable enough to resolve long-awaited conflicts in a peaceful manner. For this, organisations, like the Universal Peace Federation, are providing a wonderful opportunity to build a global network of peace-builders. It is good to know that the UPF also shares the vision of the Pakistan Hindu Council to focus on interfaith peace; education and the youth; marriage and family to transform a peaceful society.

I would also like to recognise the outstanding contribution of Pakistan’s ambassador to South Korea Rahim Hayat Qureshi to strengthen bilateral ties, in the fields of economic, cultural and trade cooperation. During my meeting with the representatives of overseas Pakistanis, I also found them to be committed about serving peace.

On the same pattern as the World Peace Summit in Korea, there is also a need to organise the Pakistan-India Peace Summit where the people of both countries can seek regional peace and stability through dialogue. For this purpose, I am willing to play my due role in seeking cooperation between like-minded individuals and organisations.

The writer is a member of the NationalAssembly and patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Hindu Council.

Twitter: @RVankwani