LAHORE (APP): Special Representative to the Prime Minister on Religious Harmony and the Pakistani Diaspora in Middle East and Islamic Countries Hafiz Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi has stressed the need for collective efforts from all stakeholders to promote interfaith harmony in the country, as it is the key pillar of development.
He was addressing the Interfaith Harmony Council conference, hosted by International Interfaith Harmony Council here at a local hotel on Sunday. The conference was arranged with an aimed to bringing together a diverse array of religious scholars and leaders from various faiths, all united under the common goal of promoting harmony and thwarting divisive agendas.
Ashrafi, who is also the chairman of Pakistan Ulema Council, said the most important thing for interfaith harmony was mutual respect between religious denominations and the acceptance of others, adding that nobody should abandon their religion and beliefs, nor should they attack the religion and beliefs of others.
The Pakistan’s Constitution guaranteed the rights of every citizen living in the country, he remarked and mentioned that minority communities should come together for development of the country. He said that every religion teaches peace and love and discourages hatred, adding that the government and security forces had always stood shoulder to shoulder with the minority communities.
Ashrafi said that Pakistan always desires peaceful and productive relations with all neighboring countries, adding that peace is the only message of Pakistan as it is curtail for any country’s development. He said that state-of-the-art facilities were being provided to religious tourists as per direction of Caretaker Prime Minister and Army Chief.
He said Pakistan always whole-heartedly welcomed all religious tourists coming from across the world. Kartarpur Corridor was made operational as a gesture of peace and the Sikh pilgrims were invited to visits their holy places in Pakistan. He mentioned that Muslim religious leaderships were also playing their effective role for promotion of interfaith harmony in the country, adding that Islam always advocates peace as forced marriages and forced conversions of religion was prohibited in Islam.
He said that Gaza was not an issue of Palestine or Arab nations, but of entire humanity. He asked the world what was fault of innocent children of Gaza as more than 3,500 children had been martyred in Israeli aggression since October 7. Israeli brutalities had taken the lives of more than 20,000 people in which 70 to 80 per cent were women and juveniles. Ashrafi said peace should be established by ending war in Gaza, while establishing an independent Palestinian state with Al-Quds as its capital was the only solution to the issue.