Ground realities are different. War may become inevitable as not all countries are equal--some are more equal than others. The discourse ignores the presence of non-state actors and vested interests. The definition also overlooks to accommodate the desire by some nations to undertake acts that lead to an increased control over different regions, in order to maintain and reassert their global hegemony. It also ignores that political and economic status of different countries are different and unequal degrees in development make for unequal partnerships between nations, especially if one is on the giving and the other on the receiving end. It also presupposes that the best way to satisfy man's needs globally is the same.
It was Lenin who advanced the idea that the socialist state should pursue a policy of peaceful coexistence towards countries with different social systems. This policy was long followed by the Communist Party and the government of the Soviet Union under the leadership of Lenin.
A closer look at the concept of peaceful coexistence is needed in the world we live in today. The modern era is one where the world has shrunk to being a global village. Nations have economic dependence and political alliances with each other. Approach to issues may differ greatly owing to distinctive cultures, religious and moral values, and history. These variable factors make us individually and nationally different from other individuals and nations. The world and ongoing issues are interpreted differently by different people within a country and as a country as compared to others. Each will have their own perception and their own interpretation of events as they unfold.
Quoting one example only; United Nations had shown concern over the ongoing sectarian violence in Pakistan. On February 17, 2013, the Secretary-General strongly condemned the terrorist attack carried out on February 16 in Quetta that targeted the Shia Hazara community, resulting in more than 80 persons killed and nearly 200 wounded -- many of them women and children.
There has to be a well-thought-out and comprehensive plan by the government to defang the evil of sectarianism. First, the gaping economic disparities must be addressed. This has to be a sustained and long-term strategy. When Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, while talking to BBC, stated that the revival of the economy would help resolve extremism and terrorism, it is a pragmatic approach.
Second, the various shades of religious opinions of the people of Pakistan will have to be appreciated, allowing space to the followers. The different identities that come together under the umbrella of Pakistan need to be acknowledged. A united Pakistan means diversified groups based in Pakistan and respecting these diversities.
Fourth, the government must develop and implement good governance through broad-based policies, encompassing different religious hues, and shun policies based on patronage.
Fifth, encouraging interfaith learning may go a long way towards bringing different sects within Pakistan closer.
The recent initiative by Darul Iman Jamia Masjid Qurtuba to construct a mosque that is sect-free is a brilliant approach. Its library is filled with books of all sects. Based in Islamabad's Margalla foothills, one hopes the message of peaceful coexistence is received loud and clear by all Muslims. A progressive nation must have its people living in peaceful coexistence to develop and prosper. Only once the countrymen are in peaceful coexistence with each other, the same can be sought with other nations of the world.
The veteran Iraqi politician, Adnan Pachachi, rightly said: "Everybody seems to be imprisoned in their own sectarian or political affiliations. They don't seem to be able to rise above these things."
The writer is a lawyer, academic and political analyst. She has authored a book titled A Comparative Analysis of Media & Media Laws in Pakistan. Her Twitter handle is: @yasmeen_9