Ashrafi for united efforts to maintain atmosphere of peace, tolerance in country

APP54-161221 SIALKOT: December 16 - Special Representative to Prime Minister on Interfaith Harmony and Middle East and Chairman Pakistan Ulema Council, Muhammad Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi is talking to media persons regarding Sri Lankan citizen Late Prantha Kumar at Murray College. APP photo by Muhammad Munir Butt

SIALKOT, Dec 16 (APP):Special Representative to the Prime Minister (SRPM) on Religious Harmony Hafiz Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi on Thursday urged the nation to make united efforts for maintaining the atmosphere of peace and tolerance in the country.

Addressing a joint press conference with leaders from Christian community at Govt Murray College Sialkot, he said that it was necessary to promote religious harmony in the country for providing future generations a safe and prosperous Pakistan.

The SRPM said that Islam gave the message of tolerance, moderation and was guarantee to the rights of minorities.

He said that everyone living in Pakistan and following the country’s law
were equal citizens and enjoying equal rights.

Ashrafi said that following the unfortunate lynching of Sri Lankan national Priyantha Kumara in Sialkot, the government and state institutions had decided to take stern action against those who misused the blasphemy laws for personal gains and added that 52 accused of Sialkot tragedy had been arrested.

Ashrafi said, “Blasphemy is definitely a serious crime, but leveling a false blasphemy charge is equally a serious crime.” He said that followers of all religions in the country strongly condemned the lynching of Priyantha Kumara.

The SRPM said: “The trial of all accused is taking place inside the jail and all those responsible for the Sialkot incident will be brought to justice.”

He lauded the Sialkot police and security agencies of the country and said that they had done a commendable job in arresting the real culprits and accomplices within a few hours.

Ashrafi said: “The Punjab government has appointed three prosecutors in the case”.

He said the country had a very clear stance that no one in Pakistan would be allowed to spread terror in the name of blasphemy. He said no one would be allowed to take the law in their own hands.

The SRPM said the constitution of Pakistan guaranteed protection of the rights of minorities and the government would ensure all rights to them.

“Islam always advocates peace, love, fraternity, tolerance, brotherhood, and Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) is Rehamatul Lil Aalameen (the benefactor of entire mankind),” he added.

He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan was personally reviewing the progress in the investigation of Sialkot tragedy.

Ashrafi said: “I salute to the scholars and businessmen of Sialkot who conveyed the message of mutual solidarity to the world that if anyone commits any crime in Pakistan then everyone would stand against him”.

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.

The SRPM stressed on evolving collective approach to deal with all types of social evils, including extremism.

He said that just as the nation was united on the APS Peshawar tragedy, it also stood together on the Sialkot tragedy and added that Islam strictly prohibits forced marriages and forced conversions.

The SRPM said that a 20-member committee on forcible conversion was being set up which would check all complaints purely on merit.

Later, talking to the business community at Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) during a meeting, Special Representative to the Prime Minister on Religious
Harmony Hafiz Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi paid tribute to the Sialkot business community for announcing US$ 100,000 for the family of Priyantha Kumara.