Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Saturday said it is the responsibility of religious scholars to help the state eradicate terrorism from the country.
He was addressing a seminar at Jamia Naeemia, a seminary considered close to the Sharif family.
“In Pakistan and in the world, hate is being spread in the name of Islam," he said. "It is the responsibility of religious scholars to free the name of Islam from terrorists.”
Nawaz also claimed his government had brought the political leadership, the Army and police together, and that the Pakistan's fight against terrorism had brought peace in the country for the most part.
“However, terror incidents continue to happen sporadically. We need religious leaders to come together and help the state eliminate terrorism in this final battle,” he added.
Speaking about the chaos spread by what he termed incorrect interpretations of Islam, the PM urged the scholars present to disseminate the "real narrative of peace" through religious seminaries and reject the narratives that preach secular hate and the "distorted concept" of jihad.
“Religious scholars in the past disagreed with each other, but they never incited hatred in their followers' hearts regarding other sects,” Sharif added.
“We need to ask ourselves if our religious institutions are producing faithful believers or the flag-bearers for different sects. We need to ask if the country is being united or divided in the name of religion,” the PM said.
“The ulema have the mosque's pulpit as their forum, from where they can be heard all over Pakistan.”
“It is still the most effective way of reaching out to the people of the country. You can spread the message of unity from here and shut the doors of terrorism in the country,” he pleaded.
The prime minister also touched upon the rise of intolerance on the basis of ethnicity and provincial division, stressing that religious leaders should preach tolerance.
“Once again, the Muslim League has to fight the case for Pakistan’s unity," Sharif said. "In this journey, we need your help. You should refrain from speaking about the differences between religious sects and stand against provincial and regional differences,” he concluded.