LAHORE: Leaders of different faiths and schools of religious thought in Pakistan have called on global human rights bodies to take immediate action to end atrocities against minorities in India by extremist Hindu groups under the patronage of the state.
Religious leaders also called on the UN, OIC and global human rights watchdogs to take immediate action against the persecution and genocide of Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and others. minorities in India.
Leaders of different religions spoke on Sunday at a seminar on “Interfaith Harmony” hosted by the Council of Ulemas of Pakistan (PUC) chaired by the President of the PUC and Special Assistant to the Pakistani Prime Minister on Harmony Church and Middle Eastern Affairs Hafiz Tahir Mahmood Ashrafi. Leaders have expressed serious concerns that the lives and places of worship of minorities and religious leaders in India are under serious threat as more than 200 Sikh churches, 150 mosques and temples have been desecrated and looted by Hindu extremists in India.
Hafiz Tahir Ashrafi announced that a “World Conference on Interfaith Harmony” will be held in collaboration with the government of the Punjab in Lahore, in which world leaders of different religions and sects will participate. He said a national campaign was underway to promote interfaith and inter-sect harmony and coexistence in the country. Speaking on the occasion, the leaders expressed satisfaction that all complaints about blasphemy laws have been resolved and that emerging measures have also been taken against forced conversions and forced marriages of minority girls. They acknowledged that complaint cells are being established in collaboration with the provincial Ministry of Human Rights and Minority Affairs to deal with minority issues.
Provincial Minister of Human Rights Ijaz Alam Augustine, President of the Church of Pakistan, Bishop Azad Marshal, Maulana Muhammad Khan Leghari, Allama Syed Ziaullah Shah Bukhari, Hafiz Kazim Raza, Maulana Afzal Haideri, Maulana Aslam Siddiqui, Allama Zubair Abid , Maulana Mufti Muhammad Ali Naqshbandi, Pastor Emanuel Khokhar, Pastor Shehzad, Pastor Saleem, Sardar Bishan Singh, Maulana Abdul Qayyum Farooqi, Maulana Qari Abdul Hakeem Athar, Father James Chunan, Pastor Dr. Majid Abel and others also spoke at the Interfaith Harmony Seminar.
The speakers praised the role of the Pakistani nation in demonstrating unity during the holy days of the Christian community, Christmas and New Years, and congratulated the Pakistani government, security institutions, the Pakistani military and religious leaders for organizing peaceful ceremonies. They asserted that Pakistan is the safest country for Muslims and non-Muslims, and the Constitution of Pakistan protects the rights of all Pakistanis regardless of religion, caste or creed.
They said the entire nation felt embarrassed by the Sialkot tragedy and called on the Chief Justice of Pakistan to bring the Sialkot incident to a speedy trial and also order a speedy trial of all blasphemy cases. They said that all religions and religious sects teach peace and affection while those who spread hatred are enemies of humanity.
Religious leaders have also stated that cleanliness and purity are the rule of Islamic teachings, so it is not fair to attribute the cleanliness work to followers of a particular religion.