ICMD, April 28, 2019

Federal Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Dr. Noor-ul-Haq Qadri has brushed aside all assumptions regarding government intentions to close down religious schools and said the government is committed to taking all clerics on board for promotion of diversity and tolerance and making Pakistan an Islamic welfare state.

In his keynote address at the eighth meeting of the National Islamic Scholars Council here on Sunday at a local hotel, the minister urged ulema to influence and guide the government for the establishment of Riasat-e-Madina. Admiring the religious leadership for streamlining national religious thought through Paigham-e-Pakistan Conference, the minister urged ulema and scholars to refrain from becoming part of any negative propaganda. He said nothing like the closure of madaris in the country is under consideration and the students and teachers must not come under the influence of such negative and baseless rumors.

The minister said the government will take all ulema and religious scholars on board to transform Pakistan into a country ensuring protection to all religious minorities, adding that the ulema should play an effective role for promotion of unity and understanding in the society. He emphasized the need to discourage violence and hatred through scholarly discourse and constructive discussions.

Qadri said the clerics should help people resolve their issues in the light of Islamic teachings. He said ulema have a role to play for maintaining lasting peace and protection of the homeland. He said all schools of thought should spread the Islamic teachings with wisdom and good advice. He also appreciated the organizers for holding such a conference wherein ulema and scholars from across the country participated. During the conference proceedings, religious scholars unanimously called for an increased role of ulema at the national and regional level to work for peace and sectarian harmony. They were in complete agreement that discouraging all manners of violent tendencies in society was a collective responsibility of all Pakistanis, including the religious scholars. While pledging to strive for a peaceful and tolerant society in Pakistan, the ulema and scholars emphasized that difference of opinion should not be used as a channel to engender hatred and hostilities among the people. -- DT