ISLAMABAD: Ulema and representatives of minorities on Thursday expressed deep sorrow over certain incidents of sectarian violence and attacks on worship places of non-Muslims, and issued a seven-point sectarian “code of conduct”.
The joint declaration was issued after the culmination of a national conference titled “Why dialogue between various sects and religions is essential”. The conference was organised by the Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC). It was attended by diplomats, religious scholars and representatives of minorities in large numbers. The conference declared that the elements involved in sectarian violence and attacks on worship places of non-Muslims were neither well-wishers of Islam nor were they Pakistanis.
It said their acts are giving a bad name to both Islam and Pakistan. It asked all Muslims and non-Muslims living in Pakistan to announce their disassociation from such acts and demanded unbiased investigations of incidents of violence against the followers of different religions and sects. It also appealed to people belonging to all religions and sects to respect each other’s beliefs and holy figures. The conference agreed those who commit blasphemy cannot be the followers or representatives of any religion, it added. Therefore, anyone accused of blasphemy should not be released. Likewise, no innocent person should be punished for blasphemy.
The representatives of all religions, sects, political and religious parties who attended the conference requested the government to grant a legal status to the proposed code-of-conduct and make sure that it is implemented at public level. The code is as following: Terrorism and violence being committed in the country in the name of Islam is a violation of Islam, and the leadership of all religions and sects announce their disassociation with such acts. No prayer leader, cleric or speaker will debase or induce his followers to debase any holy prophets; companions, family members or wives of the Prophet (PBUH); four caliphs and Imam Mehdi (AS) in his speech or sermon.
No Muslim sect will be declared non-Muslim and no Muslim or non-Muslim will be declared worthy of being killed, unconstitutionally. Apart from Azan and Arabic sermon, the use of loud speakers will be completely banned. Moreover, people belonging to all religions and sects will seek permission from local administration before holding their gatherings. Publication and distribution of offensive and hateful books, literature and pamphlets will be stopped and there will be a complete ban on cassettes and online websites containing objectionable and hateful material. Hateful and offensive slogans will also be avoided. Respect should be given to the leaders of all sects. Their honour will not be violated. Joint gatherings will be held at public level to express solidarity with each other.
Non-Muslims also live in Pakistan along with Muslims, therefore, as per the Islamic Shariah, it is the responsibility of the government and Muslims to protect the lives, properties, honour and worship places of non-Muslims. Also the government should take strict action against those who violate worship places, holy figures, lives and properties of non-Muslims.
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