RAWALPINDI: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Asim Munir on Thursday condemned the “extremely tragic and totally intolerable” Jaranwala incident, saying that “there is no space for such incidents of intolerance and extreme behaviour”.
As per the military’s media wing, General Munir made the remarks when he was asked a question about the mob that set fire to a number of churches and vandalised Christians’ homes during a rampage over alleged blasphemy on Wednesday.
The mob made its way through a predominantly Christian area on the outskirts of the industrial city of Faisalabad after allegations spread that the Holy Quran had been desecrated. The question was asked by a “participant” during the COAS’s address to the 370 students that were interns at the yearly Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Internship Programme.
“Jaranwala incident is extremely tragic and totally intolerable. There is no space for such incidents of intolerance and extreme behaviour by any segment of the society against anyone, particularly against minorities,” the army chief was quoted by the ISPR as saying.
The COAS said that all citizens of the country “are equal amongst each other irrespective of religion, gender, cast or creed”. He assured that no one would be allowed to take the law into their hands and those “culpable of committing such crimes will be brought before the court of justice”. Earlier in his address, Gen Munir highlighted the “role of youth towards national development”.
“Youth is the future of Pakistan, which can contribute immensely towards peace, progress and prosperity of the country,” the army chief said. He also “highlighted the efforts of inimical forces towards creating and fomenting fissures, intolerance, mistrust and violent behaviour among the people to spread anarchy and unrest in the country.”
He added: “It’s imperative for the youth to discern the difference between truth, half-truth, lies, misinformation and disinformation.” In the end, Gen Munir also lauded the young internees for successfully completing the programme.