LAHORE:– Special Representative to the Prime Minister on Interfaith Harmony and Middle East Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi has said that blasphemy is definitely a serious crime, but leveling a false blasphemy charge is equally a serious crime.
Addressing a press conference along with leaders of other religions at Cathedral Church here on Saturday, he said that elements which misuse the religion for their own interests were criminals
Islam always advocates peace, love, fraternity, tolerance, brotherhood, and Holy Prophet Muhammad Peace Be Upon Him (PBUH) is Rehamat-ul-Lil-Aalameen (benefactor of the entire mankind), he added.
Ashrafi said that followers of all religions in the country strongly condemn the Sialkot lynching of the Sri Lankan factory manager and appealed to the chief justice of Pakistan to treat it as a test case and order a speedy trial for it.
He said that the Constitution of Pakistan guaranteed protection of the rights of the minorities and the the government would ensure all rights to them. He said that Islam strictly prohibits forced marriages and forced conversions. He said no Muslim could think of going against the teachings of Islam.
The special representative said that rights of every citizen were protected by the state, stressing that those involved in the Sialkot incident had not only brought a bad name to the religion but the country as well. He said that the Punjab government was taking measures and challan would be presented in the court within 14 days under Punjab Law Minister Raja Basharat against the Sialkot accused.
He said that he, along with an ulema delegation from different schools of thought, visited the Sri Lankan High Commission office and conveyed their condolences to the people of Sri Lanka over the tragic incident. He said that due punishment would be given to the culprits involved in the barbarism.
Ashrafi urged the nation to make united efforts to maintain the atmosphere of peace and tolerance in the country, saying that the nation should be united against not only terrorism but also extremism for strengthening the institutions. He said that extremism was a poison and collective efforts were needed to tackle the situation.
He also urged leaders of other religions to ensure their active role for maintaining peace in society. He said: “We have developed close liaison with them at grass-roots level to solve the problems being faced by minorities.”
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