Pakistan

AJK President terms promotion of interfaith harmony as responsibility of all communities

  • The AJK president said that in developing countries, minority rights have to be protected irrespective of their numbers.
Published April 1, 2021

MIRPUR (AJK): Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) President Sardar Masood Khan Thursday stressed the need of promoting interfaith harmony at global level and urged all the religious communities across the world to reach out to each other and understand the basis of their faith.

"The religious leaders have a great role to play in promoting tolerance and moderation and prevent crimes particularly the crimes against humanity being committed in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) and other parts of the world," he asserted.

The president expressed these views while addressing a virtual conference titled “Role of Religious Leaders in Crime Prevention” jointly organized by the Universal Peace Federation International (UPF), International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace and Vienna-based LIOS-SOIL in the federal capital on Thursday, AJK President office said Thrsday evening.

Hosted and moderated by President of LIOS SOIL Austria Dr Afsar Rathore, the event was also addressed by Parliamentary Secretary for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Ms Shunila Ruth, Punjab Agriculture Minister Syed Hussain Jahania Gardezi, Parliamentary Secretary for Human Rights Lal Chand Malhi, Bishop of Lahore Archbishop Sebastian Francis Shaw and Member of Punjab Assembly Ramesh Singh Arora.

Sardar Masood Khan called upon the leaders in the West to strive for banning the exploitation of Islamophobia. Instead of Islamophobia communities should reach out to each other to promote the culture of tolerance and mutual co-existence, he added.

He said the interfaith harmony was not between religions but between believers and non-believers. "The international community has a collective responsibility to enhance interactions, communicate and maintain harmony between all civilizations in order to promote interfaith harmony and a culture of peace, stability and tolerance," he said adding that all this would help us progress and stem the drift to war and conflict.

The president said that it was not just the responsibility of religious leaders but all members of the civil society have to be involved for the purpose.

Exhorting the need of nurturing a culture of accountability both nationally and internationally, the president said that criminal justice is necessary for bringing the people promoting religious hatred to the task. “Impunity for committing hate crimes should be demolished,” he said

The AJK president said that in developing countries, minority rights have to be protected irrespective of their numbers.

He suggested setting up tribunals to try perpetrators of genocides in order to end discrimination, and said that we should emphasize and highlight universal values and ethical systems. Leaders and followers of various faiths would have informal and formal meetings so as to promote mutual respect and acceptance.

Referring to the so-called Hindutva doctrine of the Indian leadership, the president said the BJP-RSS Hindu extremist regime was targeting Muslims because it believes that India was the country only for the Hindus and the followers of other religions have no right to live in that country.

He added that the rising wave of extremist Hindutva was a fascist doctrine that advocates the use of violence against the followers of the other religions.

The AJK president said that discrimination on the basis of religion was very evident in conflict areas like Central African Republic, Myanmar, Palestine and the IIOJK where people were killed and persecuted for their faith and also for demanding their democratic right to self-determination.

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