ISLAMABAD: Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) chairman Dr Qibla Ayaz on Thursday acknowledged that the Paigham-i-Pakistan narrative had failed to take root in society as even not government departments owned it, but he stressed that it was not a useless exercise.
“It is visible that Paigham-i-Pakistan has been prepared in isolation and the implementation plan is not there,” said Dr Ayaz at a talk on ‘Transforming communities for peaceful coexistence’ held under the aegis of the Organisation for Research and Education. The Paigham-i-Pakistan narrative carries decree and consent of senior clerics belonging to all the mainstream Muslim schools of thought in the country.
One of the main points in the narrative is that declaring jihad is the right of the state and private parties or individuals cannot declare it. Also declaring any sect or individual non-Muslim has been declared haramin the Paigham, while suicide bombing and its facilitation have also been termed haram.
Dr Ayaz said it was the responsibility of the CII but since it was without a head for almost 11 months, the International Islamic University took the lead in formulating the narrative.
“But I would say that despite all the issues and complaints taking a U-turn at a 40-year-old policy was not an easy task; however some department needs to own this policy narrative,” he said.
The CII chairman said that the issue of extremism was not related to religious seminaries only, but it was a problem in the universities too.
“We always talk about foreign conspiracies being hatched against us but we too need to improve many things,” he added.
He said the message of Paigham-i-Pakistan had been taken in a positive manner abroad and referred to security related personnel from Indonesia who recently visited the country and lauded this effort.
Another security-related delegation from Thailand is set to arrive next month and they too will visit the CII to have a briefing on Paigham-i-Pakistan.
During his recent visit to Pakistan, the Grand Mufti of Egypt said that Paigham would be translated into Arabic and a similar initiative would be taken in his country.
CII member Khursheed Nadeem said the government should take media and civil society on board for spreading the Paigham-i-Pakistan, but regretted that unfortunately even its copies were not available.
“On most of the issues there is a gap between society and the government and it is visible on this initiative too,” he added.
Former police officer Zulfiqar Cheema said there were four stakeholders — government, media, ulema and the implementation mechanism of the state — related to this national narrative to counter extremism, but nobody owned it. News anchor Saleem Safi lauded the effort and said that several decrees and messages had been issued by ulema against extremism and declaring a Muslim non-Muslim and Paigham-i-Pakistan was the first step in the right direction taken by the state.
Published in Dawn, March 30th, 2018