Lums, FCC hold lectures to emphasise necessity of democracy

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*Equal citizenry as base of modern democracy to ensure inclusive society and social harmony

The speakers during the lectures at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) and Forman Christian College (FC College) on Sunday called for democratising the state conduct and politics in the light of modern notions of an egalitarian democracy and equal citizenry as base of modern democracy to ensure inclusive, caring society and social peace and harmony.

“Liberal Democracy is the way forward to build the nation on the democratic principles,” they said, adding that the guarantees of freedom and basic human rights must be ensured.

These interactions with the youth were a part of dialogue series “Governance, Community and Religion (GOCORE)” with Pakistani universities students, intelligentia, academia and civil society jointly organised by Centre for Research and Security Studies (CRSS) in collaboration with Heinrich Bӧll Stiftung (HBS).

USA Millikin University Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Coordinator of Global Studies Dr Shabana Mir underscored the need for all government actions to be based on the public good, as determined by democratic means. “A pluralistic marketplace of religious law should exist in a separate legal realm parallel to that of government law,” she said, adding that “Sharia check” should review the legitimacy of government action based on the purposes of Sharia. She said that as per the reckoning of some of the American experts, there was a dire need for the separation between religions from politics keeping that the ecclesiasticism could corrupt the state and the state could possibly pollute the church. Dr Shabana also referred to various clauses prohibiting the government in setting any religion as official while terming the US State-Religion relation as a shifting porous wall of separation.

Endy Bayuni, a prominent journalist from Jakarta Post who writes about the evolving political cultures, Islam, democracy, foreign affairs, economic development, and the changing media landscape termed the liberal democracy the way forward for Muslim majority nations to build the nation on egalitarian democratic principles, including guarantees of freedom and basic rights. He said that in the ongoing process of democratisation in the country, Indonesia was confronting with many of challenges that were quite familiar in the political arena of Pakistan. He said that the democracy and democratic values were taking roots in various Muslim countries, however, the challenges to become modern secular states still needed to be dealt with shared experiences and understanding about the modern democracy based on the notion of equal citizenry. Indonesian speaker said various groups in Indonesia had been attempting vigorously to manipulate the constitution and to impose their version of religious dictates in the country. However, he said, people in general were aware of the consequences of such efforts and hence raising their voice for the strengthening of democracy in the country. Endy in his presentation also highlighted co-habitation and state level acceptance of Indonesian diversity which was a pre-dominantly Muslim majority country through various examples of minorities working on key government positions.