'Victories come with faith, changing commander not to make difference'
PM Imran says blasphemous caricatures a crime, not freedom of expression: President Alvi seeks Ulema’s guiding role on environment protection, social harmony
Citing the example of Hazrat Khalid bin Waleed (RA) who had won all the wars he participated in, Imran Khan said Caliph Hazrat Umar (RA) removed him as the commander of the Islamic army because the people had started to say that all the victories were because of Khalid.
Imran Khan also said the West was unable to understand the Muslims’ relationship with the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and warned that Islamophobia would continue spreading if the trend remained unchecked, “The blasphemous caricatures are a crime, not freedom of expression,” the prime minister said in his address to the Rehmatulil Aalimeen (PBUH) Conference in Islamabad on Friday which, he added, would be held every year.
Imran Khan announced that he will lead the campaign against the blasphemous activities and Pakistan will raise the issue on all international platforms.
Islamophobia was on the rise in the West where very few people followed religion, he said and added that the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) would have to play a role on the subject.
The prime minister said the freedom of speech could not be used to cause pain to others, as he criticised the West over its policies towards the 1.25 billion Muslims.
Imran noted that a campaign was launched to portray Islam as an extremist religion and said a small group wanted to give a negative impression about Islam.
Describing the establishment of an Islamic welfare state in Pakistan as the ultimate goal, Imran announced that the life of Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) as a subject for the grade 7 to 9 students after bringing necessary legislation.
The youth were reading about the success of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs but they should learn about the life of Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), said the prime minister, describing it as a mandatory thing to do.
He noted that the message given by Allah Almighty in the Quran was for the betterment of humans.
Imran said the problems faced by the world were not being solved as the humans had been unable to think about the future. To prove his point, he cited the example of global warming and added that the people were unable to determine what kind of environment they wanted to leave for the future.
President Dr Arif Alvi reiterated his call for the enhanced role of mosques and pulpits to create awareness on the issues of environmental protection, women rights, stunted growth and disease prevention.
He was addressing the opening session of National Seerat Conference on “Environmental pollution and our responsibilities in the light of the life of Holy Prophet (PBUH)”, held in connection with the Eid Milad-un-Nabi (SAW) in Islamabad by the ministries of religious affairs and climate change.
Also addressed by Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Pir Nurul Haq Qadri, Minister of State for Climate Change Zartaj Gul, SAPM Malik Amin Aslam, Prime Minister’s Representative on Religious Harmony Tahir Mahmood Ashrafi, the moot was attended by hundreds of religious scholars from across the country.
This was the first time that environmental protection was chosen as the subject of the annual Seerat Conference to highlight the issue of climate change for Pakistan being among seven countries badly hit by the phenomenon.
The president said some 1400 years ago, Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) had given the message of a clean and green society, who had even strictly directed against harming trees, orchards, minors and women during the battles.
He said the mosques were the most effective forum to teach the people environmental protection, respect for the women’s inheritance rights and adoption of precautions to spread communicable diseases like COVID-19.
Similarly, the pulpit could also help prevent the stunted growth of the children by promoting the Quranic teachings of 24-month breastfeeding which would improve the health of both the mother and child, he added.
Dr Alvi, who earlier distributed prizes among the best research paper writers on the Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) life and teachings, said Pakistanis had successfully contained the virus by wearing masks, frequent hand washing and social distancing. He, however, reiterated that the disease was not yet over and it was still essential to stick to the precautions for averting its second wave.
He viewed that besides the nation’s discipline, Allah’s blessing was another major reason behind the success which He showered as a reward for the people and the government’s compassion towards the poor countrymen in the hour of distress.
The president told the audience that the Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) instructions to share the personal conveyance with the pedestrians was in fact a message to reduce the number of vehicles which was also being promoted in the form of car-sharing across the world to reduce pollution.
He suggested the Council of Islamic Ideology to formulate a list of most important issues, which should be unanimously emphasized and highlighted by the prayer leaders in their Friday sermons.
Endorsing an earlier speaker’s views, the president called for highlighting the similarities and to avoid playing up differences to create sectarian and societal harmony.
He viewed that the world was more interested about their interests and least bothered about the moralities and human rights, as evident from the its response towards the human rights abuses in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
Referring to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s speech at the United Nations General Assembly, President Alvi said Imran Khan had emerged as a Muslim world leader by raising their voice against Islamophobia and blasphemy.
The European countries which had criminalized the denial of the holocaust must also realize that any desecration of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) hurt the sentiments of billions of Muslims, he stressed.
Condemning the patronage of display of blasphemous caricatures by French President Macron, the president said he was in fact creating division within his own society.
Religious Affairs Minister Pir Nurul Haq Qadri, in his address, condemned the blasphemous caricatures republished and displayed in France under the patronage of the French president.
He lauded the prime minister’s decision to observe the week starting from Friday (October 30) as the ‘Week for Love of the Holy Prophet (PBUH)’ and said the contemptible attempts by the West could never undermine the Holy Prophet’s love and reverence in the Muslims’ hearts.
The prime minister was also taking multiple measures to prevent such malicious attempts in the future by bringing unity among the Muslim world, he remarked.
Minister of State Zartaj Gul highlighted the importance of environmental protection under Islamic injunctions, which, she said, further necessitated the followers to take the issue seriously.
She said with Pakistan’s glaciers melting fast, water table depleting, weather getting severer and untimely rains impacting crops, per capita water availability had decreased from 5500 cubic meters to just 1,000 cubic meters.
About 64% population was deprived of clean drinking water and 40% of deaths occurred due to waterborne diseases, she added.
Nevertheless, she said, the incumbent government was taking multiple steps to mitigate the impacts of climate change like 10 Billion Tree Tsunami, construction of five dams, banning shopping bags, conservation of national parks and setting up the Water Table Regulatory Authority for groundwater recharge.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam said the coronavirus was one of the many consequences of imbalance created by the humans in the natural circle. But the world must take it as an opportunity to take remedial measures like the ones being taken under the Clean and Green Pakistan initiative.
Stressing the role of Ulema, the SAPM said it could bring huge change if the Muslims engaged in environmental protection measures with the religious passion because the Holy Prophet (PBUH) had repeatedly instructed for environmental protection.
Allama Tahir Ashrafi said the Muslims could tolerate any injustice but never the desecration of their beloved Holy Prophet (PBUH).
He called for an international legislation to ban such blasphemous acts and assured the audience that the government would take all-out measures to bring the evil practice to an end.
The Secretary Ministry of Religious Affairs, prominent religious scholars including Syed Ziaullah Shah Bukhari, Pirzada Junaid Amin, Samia Raheel Qazi and Allama Arif Wahidi also addressed the conference.