The Sikh community in Peshawar has continued its goodwill gesture of serving food among fasting Muslims during the holy month of Ramzan with the objective of promoting love, fraternity, respect and honor among people of different faiths.
Every year Sikh community living in different parts of the country including Peshawar, arrange Iftari (serving of food for breaking fast) and food distribution among fasting Muslims with the aim of reflecting the sentiments of reverence they had for holy month of Ramzan.
As the fasting month of Ramzan begins, Sikh residents in Peshawar come out for arranging Iftar dinners, announcing special discounts on their shops for fasting Muslims besides helping the poor fasting faithful by providing them edible goods at their doorsteps.
For ordinary citizens gathering of turban wearing Sikhs around long plastic mats spread to serve food for fasting Muslims at places like Bolton Block of Lady Reading Hospital of Peshawar becomes very strange and incomprehensible, leaving them in a state of bafflement.
Many faithfuls are found sharing their feeling of bewilderment over seeing Sikh youth standing in front of their doors for the distribution of food items to break fast.
“This year within four days of Ramzan, we have distributed food items among 100 deserving Muslim families for providing them ease in fulfillment of their religious obligation”, informs Jatinder Singh, Chairman Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chapter of National Peace Council for Interfaith Harmony.
We have not started holding of Iftari for which looking for volunteers and will start as arrangements are made, Jatinder told APP.
Each of the ration pack consists of essential items including cooking oil, rice, pulses, chick pea, beans, sugar and tea, he added.
The price of ration has almost doubled this year from Rs. 4000 to Rs. 7500 because of inflation in the country. He said donations are coming from people from diversified faiths and soon the second phase of distribution of food rations will be made.
We used to make the arrangement for serving of big Iftari for fasting Muslims but corona pandemic affected the practice.
Last year only on Friday iftaries were arranged in different areas of the city due to the shortage of volunteer, Jatinder added.
Apart from arranging Iftari, we are also focusing on provision of edible goods to fasting Muslims at their doorsteps, Jatinder apprised.
Being a dweller of city since generations, we know who is in need of financial support in our locality so we extend them help. The objective behind this practice by Sikhs is to promote love, fraternity, respect and honor among people of different faiths, remarked Jatinder Singh, adding that we were living in this country from generations and wanted to convey the message of mutual coexistence among its citizens.
Jatinder said our Muslims neighbours and friends also mark respect to holy occasions of Sikhs by extending goods wishes.
Similarly both Muslims and Sikhs attend occasions of happiness and bereavement from both sides to maintain the bond of unity, neighbourhood and humanity.
The measures taken by Sikh community of Peshawar are receiving commendations from people from all walks of life and social media users are displaying these news as beauty of Pakistan where people of different religions are living in harmony and respect of each other.
Bilal Ahmad, a graduate from Peshawar who serves as volunteer in iftar dinner arranged by Sikhs, said he share these pictures on social media with a pride that how people of different faiths are living in conformity in our country.
“In each Ramzan I spare time and participate in such iftar dinners to acknowledge the good initiative taken by Sikh community members in promoting respect and love in society by serving fasting Muslims,” opines Ahmad Khan, a young dweller of Peshawar.
“This is very well coming gesture from Sikh community and is promoting the spirit of interfaith harmony,” comments Prof Abdul Ghafoor, a noted religious scholar, Former Director of Sheikh Zahid Islamic Center and Member of Central Reut-e-Hilal Committee.
Talking to APP, Prof Ghafoor said such practices are winning hearts of Muslims and surely will help in achieving the goal of mutual coexistence.