ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday expressed his resolve not to give any National Reconciliation Ordinance-like concession to the “corrupt” former rulers and urged religious leaders and scholars to educate people through mosques to help them differentiate between good and bad.

“I want you to tell people what actually Riasat-i-Madina was, teach them to adopt cleanliness, teach them on truthfulness and that they must be united as Muslims were united in the state of Madina,” said the prime minister while addressing the Ulema and Mashaikh Conference.

“How it is possible to let the people involved in petty crimes rot in jail and give an NRO to the looters of billions,” he remarked.

While regretting that the entire nation had accepted corruption “not as a sin”, Mr Khan said it was his government’s mission to sensitise people about the difference between good and bad, as lack of this attribute could lead to downfall of any nation. The government was facing difficulty in attaining this goal, he said, adding it was unfortunate that the “difference between right and wrong is becoming blurred for the people of this country. A nation dies when it fails to differentiate between good and bad”.

Prime Minister Khan told the ulema conference that some eight to nine TV anchors had recently moved the court to seek permission for airing the speech of opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz supreme leader Nawaz Sharif, who had been “convicted for stealing billions of public money”. He said: “Had it happened in a western country, such an individual would not have been acceptable in any social gathering, what to talk of appearing on TV channels.”

The prime minister said a social change was possible only when SHO or Patwari would be afraid of ‘societal embarrassment’ on account of taking bribe.

Intellectual revolution

Calling for a campaign to propagate corruption as an evil, Mr Khan said religious scholars should make it part of their sermons. He urged them to play their role in Pakistan’s “intellectual revolution” making it the country it was meant to be.

“Pakistan as a country has drifted quite far from the ideals on which it was made. Now the scholars have an important role in its course correction and “bringing us back to that path”. He said the people should be informed about the guiding principles which had empowered a backward society to defeat the biggest empires of the time within 15 to 20 years.

Mr Khan said through his prudence, the Holy Prophet (PBUH) had united a divided society, which should also be replicated by the Ulema to bring harmony in the country.

He believed the religious scholars had fully supported Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah in his mission of Pakistan’s creation. He said unfortunately the country deviated from the ideal Pakistan that Allama Iqbal had dreamed of.

Speaking on Islamophobia, the prime minister said the issue became complex owing to the lack of reaction from the Muslim leaders to the blasphemous acts in the Western society. Following publication of his book, Salman Rushdie made a propaganda against the Muslims under the garb of freedom of expression, he said.

Later, the West linked extremism and terrorism, even the suicide bombing with Islam, though according to facts, the Tamils and Japanese had committed suicide attacks first in the history but no one linked the practice with their religions, he added.

“Western society deals with the religion very casually and does not know what kind of reverence the Muslims show to their Holy Prophet,” he said, adding that he would continue to raise the issue of Islamophobia at every international forum to make the West understand that it hurt the sentiments of Muslim as criticism on holocaust did to them. He had written letters to the Muslim world leaders to urge them for a united stance on the issue.

The PM said the Muslims living in the Western states faced utmost difficulty owing to Islamophobia.

Terming the rule of law the basic principle of State of Madina, Mr Khan said the third world countries were suffering for having discriminatory laws for the poor and the rich. “The leaders from the third world countries laundered around $1,000 billion annually,” he said.

While appreciating the role of scholars since the creation of Pakistan, the Minister for Religious Affairs said the government was striving to develop the country on the pattern of the state of Madina. The government’s initiatives like shelter homes, Langar Khana and health cards were in pursuance of the very principles of Islam, he added.

He also appreciated the government’s decision to introduce Seerat-un-Nabi subject in classes 6 to 12, saying that it would help the youth to know about the golden history of Islam and Holy Prophet’s teachings.

Custodian of Eidgah Sharif Hassaan Haseebur Rehman said Imran Khan was the first prime minister to contest the case of Islamophobia and Namoos-i-Risalat at international forums like the United Nations and Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.

He said the religious scholars would continue extending all-out support to the government in its mission of replicating Riasat-i-Madina.

Sahibzada Akram Shah appreciated the government’s policies and vision of Riasat-i-Madina, particularly Mr Khan’s bold stance on the issues of Islamophobia. However, he urged the government to withdraw the recent amendments by Punjab government in Auqaf laws what he viewed would undermine the functioning of shrines and seminaries.

Published in Dawn, February 9th, 2021

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