BAHAWALPUR: Speakers at a seminar emphasised the need to promote tolerance culture in matters, especially pertaining to religion, as zero-tolerance in religious affairs and considering everyone wrong except oneself causes extremism in the society.
This was expressed by several speakers while addressing a seminar held in connection with the “Narrative of Pakistan Programme” launched by the government of Pakistan. The seminar held at Islamia University Bahawalpur on Monday was jointly organised by the ministry of religious affairs and inter-faith harmony, the higher education commission and the varsity.
Delivering his lecture, representative of the federal government, renowned Islamic researcher Dr Kashif Mahmood said that extremism is led to when a person considers him or herself absolutely perfect in religious affairs and others wrong.
“Extremism prevails in a society where some people consider those of other religious schools of thought wrong and issue a “Fatwa of Kufr” (declaring others infidel) against them,” he said, while adding that the difference of opinion is the beauty of a society. “Islamic Sharia always emphasises the need to promote peace and a culture of self-respect for others and it never allows extremism in religious affairs,” he said.
He said that the government organised a program at the Faisal Mosque in Islamabad on May 26, 2017, where stakeholders from all five schools of thought assembled and agreed that “Fatwa of Kufr” would not be issued against anyone. He said that consultative meetings with 2,000 religious scholars were also held in connection with the program “Message of Pakistan”.
He said that religious stakeholders from all non-Muslim schools of thought gathered at the Faisal Mosque on October 18 of last year where they experienced being equal to other Pakistanis.
“On January 16, 2018, the Narrative of Pakistan programme was launched at the presidency in Islamabad and was attended by leaders from all religious schools of thought. 70 ambassadors, over 100 MNAs, 50 Senators and 60 vice chancellors of several universities attended the ceremony,” he said.
He also said that for the first time in the history of Pakistan, female religious scholars were gathered on February 1, 2018, and urged to play their due role for religious harmony and culture of tolerance.
Speaking on the occasion, Religious Affairs Director, Hafiz Dr Mushahid Hussain Khalid Bukhari said that it was the need of the hour to promote inter-faith harmony.
“The white colour in our national flag represents minorities and it is our responsibility to provide security to their life and property,” he said. We all would have to play our significant role in controlling extremism, he said.
“All schools of thought including Deobandi, Barelvi, Naqshbandia, Chishtia and others will have to focus on their personal religious principles instead of considering others wrong,” said the religious affairs director.
Dean of the IUB’s Islamic Learning Faculty, Prof Dr Razia Musarrat said that we would have to convince rest of the world that people of Pakistan have nothing but feelings of hatred towards extremism and terrorism. “The US and European countries have misunderstandings about us and we will have to prove that we love peace and harmony,” she said.
IUB Discipline of Islamic Learning Chairman Prof Dr Hafiz Iftikhar Ahmed said that a false and baseless propaganda was made against educational institutions of Pakistan. “No single terrorist was found in any educational institution,” he said.
“Recently, a student sprayed a volley of bullets at other students of his school in the US and killed 17 of them,” he said while adding that the world should know that the killer was not a Muslim.
He also said that the once princely state of Bahawalpur was founded 220 years before the creation of Pakistan. “Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah himself said that the state of Bahawalpur provided financial aid for the release of salaries to the government employees of the newly formed country of Pakistan for a period of six months,” he said.
Demanded from the government to pay special attention towards the educational institutions of Bahawalpur, he said that financial resources should also be allocated for Bahawalpur like that earmarked for mega projects in other parts of the country.
Prof Dr Ziaur Rehman appreciated the armed forces for playing a vital role in the restoration of peace and said, “Operations launched by the Pakistan Army resulted in the restoration of peace and order in volatile areas of the country”.
The seminar was attended by academicians and a large number of students.