Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday urged the ulema and Islamic scholars of Pakistan to play their role in Pakistan's "intellectual revolution" and making it the country it was meant to be.
Addressing an Ulema and Mashaikh Conference in Islamabad as the chief guest, the premier said Pakistan as a country had drifted quite far from the ideals on which it was made. He said the scholars had an important role in its course correction and "bringing us back to that path".
"I'm talking about an intellectual revolution [in the country] and Imran Khan alone can't do anything if you don't become part of this struggle and effort."
The prime minister called upon the participants to act on his agenda because they had a voice that has access to and impact on the public. He said the project of making Pakistan like the state of Madina was a struggle primarily in "character building" and correcting the values system of the country.
The premier firstly asked the ulema to elaborate upon and explain the principles of the state of Madina to the people wherever they get the opportunity to do so. "There is a reason why [the Holy] Quran says to learn from him," said the premier, referring to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
He said there were important lessons to learn because a nation with no status soon came to assume "leadership of the world" and defeated two superpowers of the time. "No one still understands how such a big revolution came about."
The prime minister next said it was unfortunate that the difference between right and wrong was becoming muddled for people in the country. "A nation dies when it fails to differentiate between the good and the bad."
He said prominent journalists had gone to court, seeking permission for speeches to be aired of an individual who was convicted by the Supreme Court and fled the country after allegedly lying — apparently referring to PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif. The premier lamented that these actions sent conflicting messages to the youth, adding that he wanted to create a society where people would fear taking bribes.
"Making a law won't matter when you [ulema] don't give the message to the people that this [corruption] is bad," said the premier and thus called upon the scholars to actively play their role in teaching people to differentiate between right and wrong.
The prime minister also extolled the importance of public cleanliness and hygiene as part of his agenda to the ulema. He said cleanliness was a mindset and not something which could be tackled by merely channelling more money into it. "Make [the] people understand that when [the] Prophet said cleanliness is half of faith, there was a reason for that."
Lastly, the premier stressed upon the scholars to give importance to the values of truth and honesty "wherever you talk". "We need to do a battle for honesty because unfortunately I'm saddened that we have gone far away from this which is a big value of Islam."
The prime minister concluded his remarks by reminding the gathered scholars to play their role in building unity among the people. He said incidents of division such as people picking up guns against each other or hurling accusations of blasphemy were "big impediments to making us a great nation".
He stressed that creating unity to strengthen the country was a "big responsibility" for the ulema since the Prophet had successfully united people and warring tribes into a nation.
"God has blessed this country and it is our misfortune that we couldn't make this country the nation it should have been," said the prime minister.
'Terrorism has no link with Islam or any other religion'
The prime minister said that leaders of the muslim world had failed to effectively respond to the problem of Islamophobia when they should have stated: "Terrorism has no link with Islam or any other religion."
Because of this, the premier said, the west had linked terrorism with Islam and this was the reason why "I have always talked about Islamophobia on every forum."
He said because of these mistakes in not adequately confronting the problem or Muslim leaders failing to raise it on international forums, "Muslims living in the west and [also] India have to face difficulties because of Islamophobia."
The prime minister stated that he had written letters to the heads of many Islamic states, stressing that Muslims would continue to be pained over and over again "until we approach the west on a united front". The premier said he would continue his efforts in this regard and always addressed them in his meetings with western leaders, particularly on the issue of disrespect of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).