(Keynote speech by Former Assistant Secretary General United Nations
and Director General Independent Bureau for Humanitarian Issues (IBHI) H.E. Mr. Syed Zia Rizvi at Leadership Conference on dialogue for peaceful coexistence movie box organized by EU based an eminent Think tank Institute of Peace and Development (INSPAD) at Islamabad Pakistan on August 1, 2008.)
Dear Mr. President, Dear Participants!
I am glad and grateful for the opportunity given to me by INSPAD to share with you some of my personal thoughts and feelings relating to our subject concerning “peaceful Coexistence” as well as related matters introduced by me and supported by Pakistan as well as all other countries members of the United Nations Organization in which I worked for about Thirty Years. I started in the UN in my twenties and worked closely with Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan and Prince Hassan Bin Talal. I mention this because according to the subject of this conference I dealt with problems of war and peace for more then thirty years when I was sent by the UN to all continents of the world and I became familiar with about 130 countries including all the Muslim countries in the world.Regarding peaceful coexistence, it might interest you to know that of all the countries of Asia that I have visited, I went quite a lot in India. There I told people that I am aware of the facts that we, human beings, do not choose ourselves our father and mother and after we are born we become Hindu or Sikh, Muslim or Christian or Jew etc. It is unfortunate that we use Religion for conflicts although the Creator is the same whether we call him God or Bahagwan or Allah etc.We are human beings who live in a small planet which is smaller than many other planets of the universe. It is a pity that we have divided our little planet into 192 countries, members of the United Nations. It is amusing to note that more than thirty member states of UN have less population as calculated by me than one city called Karachi of Pakistan. If any one is interested in the details such as the name and population of the small countries, you can ask my colleague Mr. Baber Gorsi who here copies. Let me add that when I am asked where I live, I prefer to say that I live in ”Village Earth”! Allow me to mention also that I was appointed as a Chief by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Asia in order to solve problems of refugees and of some of the divided countries. I started my effort in North Vietnam and South Vietnam and was able to help the two to become one country. After that I also worked to turn two Cambodia’s into one successful Cambodia. Later is Laos I tried to help the King to make peace with his brother who had divided the country in his favor. I got the two brothers to cooperate with each other and united the two pieces into one country. This succeeded and helped all the refugees of the three countries to get back and moralize their lives. Around that time when I was actively helping in all the Asian countries beyond Thailand and UNHCR was given Nobel Prize for Peace.
Now on the basis of my efforts and experience, I am suggesting that the two Kashmir’s should become one Kashmir and all the Kashmiris should work together to improve their future. At the same time India and Pakistan should strengthen friendship and encourage Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs to live peacefully in Kashmir as they do in India and Pakistan. Although Pakistan was established for Muslims, it got divided into two pieces on the birth of Bangladesh. I regretted the treatment of Mr. Bhutto and tried to save Shiekh Mujibur Rehman and helped to arrange his departure from the prison in West Pakistan and go back to East Pakistan and become the Chief leader of the country called Bangladesh.As suggested by me, the new united Kashmir should become the Switzerland of Asia, a neutral country with no intention of war of any kind. I have visited Kashmir through Pakistan as well as India. I was delighted by Srinager which God has made quite like Geneva where I have lived for more than fifteen years. The town has a lake quite like Geneva and I had the pleasure to use the small boats in both lakes. It would be wonderful to make India and Pakistan good peaceful friends, keen on helping the hundred of million of poor people and on improving the rural areas as much as the cities.
It is important to emphasize that the unfortunate disaster and killings called “Terrorism” are continuing around the world, particularly in Muslim countries such as Iran, Iraq and Pakistan. It is also regrettable that the term ”terrorism” has not been given a precise definition by the United Nations and the unfortunate action does not make peace fully possible. Allow me to add also that Muslim Countries like Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq as well as the religiously brotherly country called Palestine need to be assisted for improvement. I have visited all of them and feel convinced that our collective brotherly effort will produce good results.Allow me to add also that we know that Allah did not tell the Prophet (PBUH) that Muslims should become Shia and Sunni and fight with each other. This problem started after Imam Hussain was killed in Iraq and now centuries later the sad problem is continuing in that country and several other countries including Pakistan.May I also add that I am a Syed and find it sad and unfortunate that my ancestors i.e. all the Imams until the twelfth Imam were murdered by Muslims for various unreasonable reasons!
It is important to note that two countries, India and China, represent almost one third of the world although both have one vote each in the United Nations which has 192 member states.I wish to complete my statement by informing you that the nine books I helped complete in the Independent Commission for International Humanitarian Issues (ICIHI) which I had established with Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan and Prince Hassan Bin Talal were written in English and then many were translated and published in Arabic, French, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish etc. Some were also published in Chinese and Bosnian. Now I plan to publish books prepared by me with my colleagues into Urdu, Hindi, Bengali, and Pashto. The book I prepared in Urdu regarding resolutions and convention’s relating to ”Rights of Women” has been helpful to women who can only read Urdu and not English or any other foreign language. I am now preparing with my colleagues in our office in Pakistan books on Rights of Minorities and Rights of Children as well as the important subject relating to the role the Army can play for socio-economics Development. Other such books will follow and we will try to be active in other Asian countries besides Pakistan and help in the biggest continent in the world called Asia which is neglected as
Compared to other continents.Now to conclude my statement allow me to tell you that the General Assembly asked my office in the last resolution to present this year “An Agenda for Humanitarian Action” I will be grateful if any of you would present any ideas to my office in Pakistan. I also want to tell you that since 1987 when I established my office with the support of our “Independent Commission” chaired by Prince Sadrudin Aga khan and Prince Hassan Bin Talal, a series of resolutions have been adopted by the General Assembly by consensus and we have had support of all the countries of the world after checking every time the report of the UN Secretary General which included also the views of many different countries including Pakistan and I have in all UN reports my views which have been included in the Secretary General’s Reports.In the end let me say that my office would be pleased to offer you copies of all the documents and books mentioned by me. One of my colleagues Mr. Baber Gorsi is here with copies of details concerning the UN resolution and reports of the UN Secretary General concerning “Now International Humanitarian Order” as well as copies of my details and views published in the Pakistani newspapers. Those among you who are interested are welcome to contact my colleague or my self.
Thank you to INSPAD Chief Executive Mr. Tahir Tabassum and his dynamic team for gave me best opportunity to speak with diplomats, dignities and intellectuals and your kindness to have the patience to listen to me!