‘Use of religion for politics ends in bloodshed’

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) Chairman Prof Dr Mehdi Hassan has said that the use of religion in politics ends in violence and bloodshed, and this is what they have learnt from undistorted history. He was addressing a seminar on “Centenary of Russian Revolution” at the Government College University Lahore.

Former HRCP chairman IA Rehman, Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Hassan Amir Shah, Stockholm University, Sweden Professor Emeritus Dr Ishtiaq Ahmed and GCU Political Science Department Chairman Prof Dr Khalid Manzoor Butt addressed the seminar organized by Quaid-e-Azam Political Science Society. They shed light on the different aspects of October Revolution by labeling it as one of the powerful events of the last century with far reaching implications around the world. The speakers highlighted both positive and negative aspects of socialism in detail.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Mehdi Hassan said that during the Cold War, the governments in Pakistan sided with the United States of America to oppose the spread of socialism. “They used religion as an instrument in propaganda against socialism by spreading the notion that it creates a godless society,” he added.

The HRCP chairman said that the Soviet Union had collapsed due to various reasons, but the ideology of socialism would not die until the gap between the haves and have-nots was bridged. He clarified that socialism might not been an ideal system at all and had various negative impacts on USSR and international politics but connecting it with religion was not right at all.

Prof Dr Hassan also said the biggest crime, their generations had made, was to distort the history for their political and social wishes. IA Rehman talked about the different aspects of October Revolution in detail including its impact outside the Soviet Union. He also highlighted its similarities with the French Revolution. He also told students about the factors which led to the collapse of Soviet Union. 

Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Hassan Amir Shah said that he had spent six years in Moscow as student in the cold war period from 1973 to 1979 and personally witnessed the achievements of the Soviet Union in all sectors from housing to science and technology. “Everybody was provided jobs and also there was not much discrimination in salaries of people, but at the same time, this system was creating different troubles for the society which included less motivated labor and excessive taxation” he added.

Prof Shah told students they might support or join left or right politics after completing their education but they must always have tolerance towards the ideas, beliefs and faith of other people.

Prof Khalid Butt said that despite the collapse of USSR as a socialist country, the socialist ideals of the October Revolution still under debate among the philosophers of the world. He said there are many lessons which could be learnt from the collapse of USSR i.e. the poor statecraft could result in the failure of the any system. He said that bad economy led the revolution and ultimately it was again bad economy which disintegrated the USSR.

Prof Ishtiaq Ahmad said no system was bad or perfect as philosophers interpreted the world in different ways but the ultimate task was to change it. He told students about incidents which led to Russian Revolution and also the reasons behind the failure of Soviet Union. Quaid-e-Azam Political Science Society President Mominyar Khalid also spoke on the occasion.

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