Pope urges president to work for dialogue and tolerance
VATICAN: President Pervez Musharraf, who met Pope John Paul II in Vatican City on Thursday, praised his effort for inter-faith harmony and stressed the need for religious tolerance among the people of different faiths, Online reported.
President Musharraf praised the Pope’s efforts to bring together the Muslims and Christians in particular.
President Musharraf and the Pope were unanimous on the need for a sustained effort to bring the people of different faiths closer to ensure that peace prevails in the world. The two also exchanged views on matters of mutual interest.
On arrival at the Vatican, President Musharraf had a one-on-one meeting with the Pope, but later members of the president’s delegation joined him. The meeting lasted about 30 minutes.
Pope John Paul II urged President Musharraf to work for dialogue and tolerance in the troubled Indian sub-continent during an audience at the Vatican on Thursday, AFP reported. “In these times of turmoil and violence, I encourage you and your fellow citizens to continue to foster a spirit of dialogue and tolerance in your region,” the Pope said in an address to the visiting Pakistani leader and his entourage.
“It is only by acknowledging the need for mutual understanding among peoples, through a frank and open exchange of ideas that the world can obtain true justice and peace,” John Paul II added.
The meeting between the leader of the Islamic republic and the head of the Roman Catholic Church came as President Musharraf wound up a short visit to Italy and the Vatican.
The 84-year-old pope, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease, received President Musharraf and Romanian President Ion Iliescu in separate private audiences in the Vatican.
In the audience with Musharraf, the Vatican handed out the text of a two-paragraph English address which the Pope was to have read in the public part of the visit but did not, according to Reuters.
President Musharraf, who later discussed the world situation with Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano, said during his visit to Italy that the war on terror would only be won if the entire Islamic world shunned fanaticism and if the West resolved its political disputes with Muslim nations.
Meanwhile, President Pervez Musharraf returned home on Thursday night after paying a two-week visit to three countries.
Muhammadmian Soomro, General Muhammad Yousaf and senior officials received the president. agencies