Religious leaders slam persecution of Indian minorities


LAHORE: Leaderships of different faiths and religious schools of thought in Pakistan have called upon the world human rights bodies to take immediate steps to end the atrocities committed against minorities in India by extremist Hindu outfits under state patronage.

The religious leaderships also demanded the UN, OIC and global Human Rights watch bodies take immediate action against the persecution and genocide of Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and other minorities in India.

The leaders of different religions were addressing a seminar on ‘Interfaith Harmony’ here Sunday under Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC) chaired by Chairman PUC and Special Assistant to Prime Minister of Pakistan on Religious Harmony and Middle East affairs Hafiz Tahir Mahmood Ashrafi. The leaders expressed serious concerns that lives and worship places of minorities and religious leadership in India were under serious threat as more than 200 churches, 150 mosques and Sikh temples have been desecrated and plundered by extremists Hindus in India.

Hafiz Tahir Ashrafi announced holding “World Interfaith Harmony Conference” in collaboration with the Punjab government in Lahore soon which would be attended by the world leaderships of different religions and religious sects. He said countrywide campaigning is being made for promotion of interfaith and inter-sect harmony and coexistence in the country. Speaking on the occasion, the leaders expressed satisfaction that all complaints regarding Blasphemy Laws have been settled, and emergent measures have also been taken against forced conversions and forced marriages of minority girls. They acknowledged that Complaint Cells are being established in collaboration of the provincial Ministry of Human Rights and Minority Affairs to address the issues regarding minorities.

Provincial Minister for Human Rights Ijaz Alam Augustine, President 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 addressed the Interfaith Harmony Seminar.

The speakers lauded the role played by the Pakistani nation to demonstrate unity during the holy days of the Christian community, on Christmas and New Calendar Year, and gave credit for holding peaceful ceremonies to government of Pakistan, security institutions and Pakistan Army and religious leaderships. They asserted that Pakistan is the safest country for both Muslims and non-Muslims, and Constitution of Pakistan protects the rights of all Pakistanis irrespective of religion, caste or creed.

They said entire nation felt embarrassed on Sialkot tragedy and appealed to the Chief Justice of Pakistan to conduct speedy trial of Sialkot incident and also orders speedy trial of all cases of blasphemy. They said all religions and religious sects teach peace and affection while those who spread hatred are enemies of humanity.

The religious leaders also said that cleanliness and purity is the rule of Islamic teachings, so it is not right to attribute the work of cleanliness to the followers of any particular religion.

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