Pakistani clerics speak during a press conference. – File Photo
LAHORE: The stance of Pakistani Taliban militants regarding attacks on Christian churches was contrary to the teachings of Islam, leading Pakistani clerics belonging to different schools of thought said on Saturday.
“Taliban’s view point that attacks on churches is in line with the principles of Islam is totally wrong and against the teaching of Islam,” said the clerics in a joint-statement.
Taliban were depicting a negative picture of Islam just to defame the peaceful religion, they said.
The spokesperson for the outlawed Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Shahidullah Shahid, had claimed that a recent attack on a church in Peshawar was carried out in accordance with Shariah laws and that neither the TTP nor any of its umbrella groups were behind the twin suicide blasts.
Nazim-i-Aala Jamia Naeemia Maulana Raghib Hussain Naeemi, Chief of Pakistan Sunny Tehrike Sarwat Ijaz Qadri, President National Mushaikh Council Pir Khawaja Ghulam Qutubuddin, President Khairul Ummam Foundation Pir Karamat Ali, Vice President Tahafuz Namoos-i-Rasalat Mahaz Allama Pir Atthar Qadri and President Islamic Research Council Pakistan were among those who issued the joint-statement.
September 23rd attack on All Saints church in the provincial capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, that killed more than 80 and injured at least 130, is believed to be the deadliest ever to target the country’s small Christian minority.
The Ulema urged the government to launch an operation against the terrorists who caused irreparable loss to both Islam and Pakistan. “They (Taliban) don't deserve any leniency,” said the statement.
The Pakistani government, however, was still keen to pursue dialogue with local Taliban militants despite a spate of bloody attacks in the country’s northwest, Sartaj Aziz, adviser on national security and foreign affairs to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Thursday. He said talks should be given a chance.
The TTP, which has waged a bloody insurgency against the Pakistani state since 2007, has issued stringent conditions for its participation in talks, including the release of its cadres from jail, withdrawal of troops from the tribal areas along the Afghan border and an end to US drone strikes in Pakistan.