On a Journey towards PeacePosted: 2015/10/17
Text: Solveig Hansen
Do you want to become a peace activist but don’t quite know what your “thing” is? Let the story of Farhan Wilayat Butt and Pakistan Peacekeeping Mission inspire you. They arrange peace tours to raise interfaith and intercultural awareness, and run an active Facebook group.
Farhan Wilayat Butt, too, wondered what his “thing” was. A banker by trade, he wanted to do more, to make a difference. “What am I good at?” he asked himself. Was there a way to combine his passion for travelling, taking pictures and writing stories? He decided to become a peace activist.
He created a Facebook group, Pakistan Peacekeeping Mission, which now counts 11,000+ members. Organizing peace tours to shrines and pilgrimage sites seemed to be a natural choice of activity in a multi-faith country like Pakistan, with Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, Christians… ancient history, temples, mosques, churches, stupas, monasteries, and colorful festivals. Pakistan must be one of the most colorful countries in the world.
Farhan wrote to us about his work, and he is now an IFLAC Peace Ambassador in Pakistan. He also runs the IFLAC Pakistan group on Yahoo, formerly called International Urdu Writers Club. We asked him to do a write-up on his experiences as a peace activist and peace tour organizer. Here it is: Our Journey towards Peace (PDF).
On their latest peace tours, they took Sikhs to the Shrine of the Punjabi poet Waris Shah, and Hindus to the Grand Mosque of Behria Town.
One of Farhan’s next projects is to explore the Jewish community in Pakistan, under the “banner of IFLAC, Israel.” According to the Election Commission of Pakistan, there are approx. 800 Jewish voters registered in Pakistan. The actual number might be higher, as many have chosen not to reveal their faith. Recently, Fishel Benkhald, the son of a Muslim father and Jewish mother, has been in the news as the “last self-declared Jew” in Pakistan, leading a campaign to restore Karachi’s Jewish cemetery.