Pakistan is a culturally, racially, linguistically and religious heterogeneous country. For a prosperous and peaceful society it is indispensible to create harmonious modus vivindi for cultures and denominations who inhabit the variegated cultural tapestry of Pakistan. Realising the importance of social harmony in a multi-cultural society SPO has embarked upon a programme of “Peace and Social Harmony”.
The Peace and Social Harmony Programme encourages civil society networks, faith-based organisations and groups, representing a wide range of stakeholders, to jointly participate in decision-making processes for the protection of basic rights irrespective of religious, language, ethnicity and class differences. The programme is based on building social harmony among diverse groups to share and understand each other’s point of view and respect differences. Major challenges include the rising sectarian differences and inter-provincial harmony. ‘Politics of Consent’ will be encouraged resulting in informed, thoroughly debated, and positive public and policy messages of awareness raising and advocacy.
The programme has been divided into 3 major components with activities. It aims to build capacity and empower civil society networks and communities around social harmony and peace with a focus on restoring social harmony and building a culture of peace and participation, and partnering with all local stakeholders in the development process. At policy level the activities of programme are operationalised by various means including knowledge generation through policy analysis, creation of data and information basis; policy awareness raising through, dialogues, networking, information dissemination and mobilising support of the civil society; and policy influencing at local, regional and national, levels by involving policy makers in the dialogue process and by contributing to preparation of national policy documents.
SPO’s strategy for the promotion and defence of rights of minorities and fostering cooperation on issues related to peace and social harmony is to build linkages with other civil society networks. To disseminate the knowledge about human rights and develop supportive environment for its goals, SPO contributes to knowledge production in the discourse of rights based development, which includes policy papers, books, publications, short films, broadcasts and website entries. These multiple interventions at various tiers of society will prove conducive in achieving “improved social harmony and consensus on local and national issues among different segments of society for securing their rights regardless of caste, creed, colour or sex.”
SPO strives to empower marginalized communities through its activities and interventions across Pakistan. To appreciate the struggle of women, men and communities in bringing about change in their lives and communities, SPO regularly compiles and publishes their stories in the shape of case studies. These stories do not represent an overall view of the situation but they definitely represent snippets of the bigger picture