Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen. Asim Munir on Friday warned that the use of force and armed action by any militia, entity or group other than the state is “unacceptable.”
In a meeting with leading Islamic scholars of all schools of thought at General Headquarters, he stressed that Pakistan belongs to all Pakistanis, “without any religious, provincial, tribal, linguistic, ethnic, sectarian or any other distinction.” According to a statement issued by the military’s media wing the participating scholars unanimously condemned extremism, terrorism and sectarianism and pledged their continued support for the untiring efforts of the state and security forces to bring tolerance, peace and stability in the country.
The participants, per the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) also underscored that Islam is a religion of peace and harmony and any skewed and distorted interpretations of it by certain entities is solely for their vested interests, and has nothing to do with Islamic teachings.
During the meeting, the Army chief lauded the ‘Paigham-e-Pakistan’ fatwa of religious scholars, aimed at nullifying “misleading propaganda disseminated by extremists and terrorists.” He urged the scholars to ensure its propagation and implementation in letter and spirit, while shunning internal schisms. The ‘Paigham-e-Pakistan’ fatwa was devised in 2019 and declares all suicide bombings as ‘haram,’ while also barring religious scholars from declaring any individual a ‘non-Muslim,’ among other points aimed at encouraging societal cohesion.
According to the ISPR, the COAS signified the role of ulema in harnessing youth toward understanding the Quran and Sunnah, and character-building alongside other academic knowledge and technical skills. He said there was no space in Pakistan for intolerance and extreme behavior by any entity against anyone, particularly against minorities and vulnerable segments of society.
The forum also unanimously supported the government’s measures to strengthen the state, including the ongoing repatriation of illegal foreigners; implementation of One Document Regime; anti-smuggling and hoarding measures and anti-power theft drive. It also fully acknowledged Pakistan’s position and concerns on terrorism emanating from Afghan soil and urged serious actions by Afghanistan to address Pakistan’s concerns.
The forum also expressed anguish on the ongoing conflict in Gaza and the atrocities being committed against Palestinians, terming them crimes against humanity. According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, over 11,500 Palestinians have been killed since Israel launched its latest offensive on Oct. 7, with more than 4,700 children among the casualties.