Pakistan belonged to all citizens without any kind of discrimination, Chief of Army Staff General Asim Munir said on Friday.
“Pakistan belongs to all Pakistanis without any religious, provincial, tribal, linguistic, ethnic, sectarian or any other distinction,” he said during an interaction with leading Islamic scholars of all schools of thought at the GHQ, according to the Inter-Services Public Relations.
“Use of force and armed action by any militia, entity or group other than the state is unacceptable.”
In the recent past, several incidents of attacks on minorities have been reported. On November 12, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan in its statement said it was “alarmed” by rights violations against vulnerable groups, including the persecution of the Ahmadiyya, Christian and Hindu communities.
A violent mob of hundreds ransacked and torched nearly two dozen churches and attacked the residences of members of the Christian community following an alleged incident of blasphemy in Jaranwala town of Faisalabad district on August 16. Following that the army chief had said that Islam and civilised society have no room for intolerance and extremism.
In a statement, the military’s media wing said that the religious scholars unanimously condemned extremism, terrorism, and sectarianism and pledged their continued support for the efforts of state and security forces to bring tolerance, peace, and stability to the country.
There is no space for intolerance and extreme behaviour by any entity against anyone, particularly against minorities and vulnerable segments of society
They underscored that “Islam is a religion of peace and harmony and any skewed and distorted interpretations of religion by certain entities are for their vested interests” only and have nothing to do with Islamic teachings.
The COAS lauded the ‘Paigham-e-Pakistan’ fatwa by religious scholars to nullify misleading propaganda disseminated by extremists and terrorists. He called upon Ulema-o-Mashaikh for its propagation and implementation in letter and spirit and to shun internal schisms.
COAS Munir signified the role of Ulema in harnessing youth towards understanding of Quran and Sunnah and character building alongside other academic knowledge and technical skills.
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“There is no space for intolerance and extreme behaviour by any entity against anyone, particularly against minorities and vulnerable segments of society,” the army chief said.
The statement added that the forum unanimously supported government’s measures to “harden the state” including repatriation of illegal foreigners, implementation of one document regime, anti-smuggling and hoarding measures and anti-power theft drive.
It also acknowledged Pakistan’s position and concerns on terrorism emanating from Afghan soil and urged “serious actions” by Afghanistan to address Pakistan’s concerns.
The caretaker government has launched a drive to expel illegal immigrants, including 1.4 million Afghan nationals, despite concerns from the rights organisation. According to the government, 14 out of the 24 suicide bombings so far occurred in Pakistan were conducted by Afghan nationals.
The forum also expressed anguish on the ongoing conflict in Gaza and atrocities being committed against the people of Gaza and termed them as “crimes against humanity”.