Pakistan President Arif Alvi on Saturday urged the political leadership of France “not to entrench the discriminatory attitudes against Muslim into laws” and warned that such steps would lead to serious repercussions in the shape of hatred and conflict.
The president’s call came in reference to a bill passed by the French parliament’s lower house on Tuesday with overwhelming majority that would strengthen oversight of mosques, in an act of discrimination against Muslims.“You [France] need to bring people together and not to stamp a religion in a certain manner to create disharmony and bias”,” Alvi told an international conference on religious freedom and minorities rights.
Hosted by the Presidency, the event was attended by Minister for Religious Affairs Pir Noorul Haq Qadri, Parliamentary Secretary Shunila Ruth and European Union (EU) Ambassador to Pakistan Androulla Kaminara, besides representatives of the minority communities and religious scholars.
Member of the US Democratic Central State Committee Ayesha Khan and Implementation of Minority Rights Forum (IMRF) Chairman Samuel Pyara also addressed the event. Alvi said that the French legislation was not in line with the United Nations Charter and contradicted the spirit of social harmony that Europe previously instilled in its society.
“Let there not be a retrogressive step for situations which arise out of animosity and for situations which are carried forward by the people who do not know about the real Islam,” he said. He warned that such a move would ultimately end up in a terrible scenario of hatred and hostility.
To label the entire religion in a different manner and to start taking precautions against the entire community sparks fears that if not now, it will have very bad repercussions in the next 10 years,” he said.
He said the West was being communicated by the government of Pakistan that blasphemy in the name of freedom of expression was considered by entire Muslims Ummah as unacceptable. He urged the west to enact laws to ensure that blasphemy did not happen.
He emphasised that the world needed to divert its energies on addressing other serious challenges such as climate change, poverty, hegemony and exploitation. He said that the government believed in an emerging Pakistan with peace and harmony among people of all faiths and colours.“In Pakistan, we believe today, there is morality behind every decision. At the same time, it is in our self-interest that the people of Pakistan must be together and, in all laws, and everything we do, we must ensure that we will promptly fight incidents raising differences,” he said.
The president said there could be accidents and incidents attempting to create disharmony but the nation would fight those “very promptly”, adding that it was a continuous struggle to maintain peace.
Alvi said reconstitution of Minorities’ Rights Commission to protect the places of worship of religious minorities was a positive step by the government. “Pakistan is entering a new era with lessons learnt that we cannot live with divisions among our own people,” he said.
Religious Affairs Minister Pir Noorul Haq Qadri said that in line with the vision of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the rights of minorities were protected.
EU Ambassador Androulla Kaminara said the continental bloc would continue to partner with Pakistan in promoting development and religious harmony under the EU-Pak Strategic Engagement 2019. She emphasised that schools and universities could promote religious tolerance.
Source: The Express Tribune