LAHORE – Leading scholars and religious figures have agreed on protecting the rights of all religions and sects, in a new push for sectarian harmony in Pakistan.

The World Council of Religions (WCR) organised a Provincial Interfaith Peace Conference in Lahore on Thursday, to promote harmony and brotherhood among different religions and Muslim sects.

Besides members of ruling party, hundreds of scholars, intellectuals, and other participants unanimously passed a course of action to promote harmony in the country.

Hafiz Muhammad Noman, Abdul Khabeer Azad, Liaqat Baloch, Pir Mehfooz Shah Mashadi, Hafiz Kazim Raza Naqvi, Sarfraz Awan, Dr Shahida Parveen, Shabnam Nagi, Pir Shafat Rasool, Syed Mufti Ashiq Hussain, Muhammad Khan Laghari, Allama Syed Ziaullah Shah Bukhari, Dr Abdul Ghafoor Arshad, Asim Makhdoom, Syed Touqeer Abbas Naqvi, Allama Muhammad Hussain, Parliamentary Secretary Chaudhary Amjad Ali Javed, and others addressed the conference. TV anchor Ajmal Jami hosted the conference.

The WCR course of actions includes:

  • Rights of all Pakistanis are equal and must be respected.
  • Extremism, terrorism and killing using name of faith are against the religion.
  • No sect will be called Kafir except those declared in the Constitution of Pakistan.
  • Extra judicial killing of any Muslim and non-Muslim will not be allowed.
  • Loudspeakers will only be used for Azaan and Arabic sermon, and other violation will be made.
  • No violation of rules regarding loudspeaker will be made except Azaan and Arabic sermons.
  • Inciting content will not be spread.
  • Complete ban should be announced on the posting of provoking material on social media websites and violators should be arrested.
  • Scholars, writers should maintain balance in their speeches and books, besides avoiding spreading hatred.
  • Sectarian issues should be resolved through mutual understanding and serious debates.
  • Respect will be given to holy personalities and books of all religions and sects.
  • All scholars and intellectuals will remain united for making Pakistan stronger.

Punjab government spokesperson Uzma Bukhari, on the occasion, said that the conference has exemplary importance for promoting peace and brotherhood in the country. Extending the government support to WCR, she said that such conferences should be held all over the country.

WCR Executive Director Hafiz Muhammad Nauman Hamid, while highlighting the working of the organisation, said that the Council was playing a key role in promoting peace and love through Inter religion harmony and dialogues.

Addressing the conference, PML-N’s MNA Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani said: “We are standing by WCR in a struggle to promote sectarian harmony.” He urged all sects to make the struggle for developing an environment of love and tolerance, adding that role of scholars is a key in realising it.

Calling for a death sentence over misuse of blasphemy laws, the MNA said the effective legislation is needed to avoid incidents like Mashal Khan’s lynching in future.