Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani Tuesday urged Ulema and Mashaikh to make true interpretation of Islam and propagate its teachings of tolerance and mutual respect for each other’s religions. Addressing religious scholars at the “Ulema and Mashaikh Conference 2011” at the National Library here, Gilani reiterated that the government had no plans to amend the blasphemy laws, but stressed that no law should be misused.“We are not amending the blasphemy law,” the Prime Minister said in response to the points raised by Ulema during the conference.
Prime Minister Gilani said a committee was set up by the Pakistan People’s Party at party level to see whether any legislation that is moved by its members has its endorsement.
He said he was a descendant of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and the Ulema must not have any apprehension that anything would be done contrary to Islam or its teachings.
On the sanctity of constitution and rule of law, the Prime Minister said law of the land must be abided.
“We are not in favour of amendment in the blasphemy law, but we are not in favour of misuse of the law either … and it does not matter what law, it is,” Gilani added.
Prime Minister Gilani said any act of violence brings bad name to the religion and are seen unfavourably in the West. He said it also makes the lives of Pakistanis abroad miserable, therefore it was vital that Islam was portrayed in the right perspective and was not distorted.
Gilani urged closer collaboration between scholars of different religions for better understanding and to bring peace and tranquility.
He underlined the need for removing impression in the west that Islam was the cause behind the acts of terror and extremism and said in fact it was a religion of peace and abhorred violence.
He said following the real teachings of Islam was the only way to get rid of the scourge of terrorism that had spread its tentacles across the globe.
He said his government believed in taking along all political forces and appreciated the opposition for being supportive of the government on all national issues.
Gilani assured the Ulema that the issue of syllabus would be referred to Inter Provincial Coordination (IPCC) ministry.
About the reconciliation amongst the political parties, Gilani said it was the first government that took all actions with consensus and political reconciliation and said he even gave extension to the judge who had sentenced him.
He said the government allies feel comfortable in sitting in opposition as they are getting equal development funds and proportion from Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP).
Gilani said Islam is a religion, which guides at every stage of life and directs Muslims on the right path.
He said Muslims have a faith in oneness of Allah Almighty and a firm belief in the Quran and Sunnah and all the prophets and other divine books.
The Prime Minister also quoted from Quran and said Islam is not a religion of compulsion. He said the life and teachings of Holy Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him) clearly state that nobody should be compelled to adopt and adhere to any particular type of religion.
Gilani mentioned the incidents wherein the Holy Prophet (PBUH) was tormented by the people of Taif but he forbade from any strict action against them.
He said if people pursue teachings of Islam in true sense, they can easily overcome all the challenges they might be facing in their social, economic and personal spheres.
Prime Minister Gilani said Islam was spread not through sword, but by following the teachings and lives of Prophets, Ulema and Sufis.
He also recalled a message by Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto who urged the Muslims to stop infighting and stand united to confront the grave challenges facing the Ummah.
Syed Khurshid Shah, Minister in charge of Religious Affairs said terrorism across the world was haunting humanity and people from all religions faced a similar threat. He said Islam is a religion of peace and is aimed at ensuring that all people living in a Muslim society are treated equally and their lives and property are protected.
Shagufta Jumani, Minister of State for Religious Affairs said interfaith harmony was vital for bringing greater understanding and peace in the world. She said Quran categorically speaks against any sort of violence, lawlessness and acts of extremism.
Allama Niaz Hussain Naqvi, Maulana Abdul Malik, Maulana Muhammad Yaseen Zafar, Maulana Hanif Jalandhri, Ghulam Muhammad Sialvi, Allama Zubair Ahmed Zaheer, Allama Sajjad Hussain Naqvi, Maulana Kabir Azad and Raghib Hussain Naeemi also spoke on the occasion.
Ulema spoke about Islam’s universal message of peace, love and tolerance and said it teaches peaceful coexistence with people of all religions. The speakers regretted distortion of the religion by certain vested interests and urged deeper understanding of the Quran and Sunnah by all.
They said Islam advocates that people are treated equally with justice and impartiality without taking into consideration their caste, colour or creed.
The religious scholars were of the view that there were no two opinion about the honour and dignity accorded to Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him).
They assured of their full cooperation to the government in protecting life, property and honour of minorities.
They said minorities are free to practice their religion and Muslims are bound to stay above malice on basis of religion and sectarianism.
They said Islam stresses on obligation towards Allah and humans and urges Muslims to support parents, help out neighbours and take care of guests irrespective of their belief.
They were also critical of some scholars who were distorting facts while appearing on media.
The PM was appreciative of the Ministry of Religious Affairs for holding of a conference that was aimed at addressing the issue of terrorism and extremism.