ISLAMABAD: Religious leaders belonging to all mainstream schools of thought have endorsed a 20-point ‘code of conduct’ to promote inter-sect harmony and end sectarianism discord in the country.
The code of conduct was issued at the Paigham-i-Pakistan conference organised by the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) on Tuesday.
It highlights that only courts have the jurisdiction to issue a verdict of infidelity against any group or individual.
The code states that all forms of coercion, armed action against the state, violence and anarchy in the name of enforcing Islam should be considered rebellion. Non-Muslim citizens of Pakistan have the right to practise their religion and religious rites according to their beliefs.
The code has been signed by relevant authorities and top leaders belonging to Islam’s four mainstream schools of thought in the country — Barelvi, Shia, Deobandi and Ahle Hadees.
Clerics belonging to all schools of thought endorse the code at Paigham-i-Pakistan conference organised by CII
Among those who signed the code of conduct are Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri, CII chairman Qibla Ayaz, Mufti Taqi Usmani, Mufti Muneebur Rehman, Allama Sajid Mir, Hanif Jalandhari, Dr Mohammad Ragheb Naeemi, Syed Iftikhar Hussain Naqvi, Majlis Wahdatul Muslimeen secretary general Allama Raja Nasir Abbas, Pir Naqibur Rehman, Allama Arif Wahidi and Syed Ziaullah Shah Bukhari.
Talking to the media after the conference, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Religious Harmony Hafiz Tahir Ashrafi lauded the responsible attitude of senior religious leaders of the country and said the difference between previous such efforts and the current code was its future implementation plan.
“We have decided to implement the 20 points at grass-roots level, which is essential to impart the knowledge about the decision made by the top clerics among the masses,” Hafiz Ashrafi said, adding: “Currently, the most serious challenge faced by our society in this regard is that the stage of religious events is in the hands of extremists and less educated clerics.”
The code of conduct says that all citizens in Pakistan should fulfil their oath of allegiance to the state and the freedom of expression is subject to Islam and laws of the land.
Similarly, it is a responsibility of media personnel that no programme should be aired that could incite sectarian hatred and damage Islamic identity of Pakistan.
The code of conduct states that no person shall make hate speech in mosques, imambargahs or at any religious or social gathering.
The code also covers social issues mainly related to suppression of women’s rights in some parts of the country in the name of Islam.
The code states that Islam protects women’s rights, their education, employment and voting rights which will be protected and the role of clerics is stressed to curb certain traditions like honour killings, marriages from the Holy Quran, vani, karokari, etc.
The code also states that etiquette of dissent will be included in the curriculum of public, private and religious educational institutions.
It adds that no one will promote terrorism, mental or physical training or recruitment for terrorism, and the definition of a Muslim is the same as that which is written in the Constitution of Pakistan.
It has been accepted that it is the right of individuals to preach one’s doctrines and beliefs, but hate or baseless accusations against any person, institution or sect will not be allowed.
Ulema, mashaikhs and the people from all walks of life should give their full support to law enforcement agencies and the armed forces of the country to end violence in society.
The code also states that no individual has the right to declare a member of the government, armed forces or other security agencies as infidels.
Published in Dawn, October 7th, 2020