ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan again lamented on Monday that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who was convicted by the Supreme Court in the Panama Papers case, was invited as chief guest at a recent conference in which judges of the apex courts were also present.
The prime minister feared that another blasphemous attempt would be made by the West against Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) and said this time a well-calculated and unanimous response should come from the Muslims so that the false impression could not come to the fore that the Muslims were against freedom of expression.
He accepted that the government was acting “quite slowly” and that was the reason the prime minister university, which he had dreamt three years ago, could not start functioning even today.
Fears another blasphemous attempt in West, calls for calculated response from Muslim world
“A new culture has developed in the country in which thieves are not treated as thieves. We have seen that at a recent conference at Lahore, to which judges of the Supreme Court were invited, the chief guest was the person who had been convicted by the apex court,” Mr Khan said in his speech after inaugurating an academic block of the newly established Al-Qadir University at Sohawa tehsil of Jhelum district, while referring to self-exiled former prime minister Nawaz Sharif who had delivered a speech at Asma Jahangir Conference as a chief guest.
Without naming Mr Sharif, the prime minister said: “The chief guest was the persons who had plundered public wealth and fled abroad on fake grounds.
“The moral fabric of a nation gets ruined if it stops recognising corruption and dishonesty as evils,” he added.
Mr Khan said he wanted the nation to attain a “moral renaissance” and raise leaders having a high moral character in line with the Seerat of the Holy Prophet (PBUH).
About any future incident of blasphemy against the Holy Prophet (PBUH), he said he would encourage the nation to rather demonstrate an “intellectual and reasoned response”. “In case of any such incident in future we will consult Muslim scholars and head of Muslim states to give such a response which will not be called an attempt against freedom of expression,” he added.
The prime minister stressed the need for reviving the culture of glorious Muslim era where religion and science did not come into conflict, and that encouraged ‘Ijtehad’ (reasoning) to find solutions to emerging challenges.
He said today’s youth was facing confusion in the era of social media that provided unhindered access to western culture. However, he said, since restrictions could not be imposed on the flow of information, it was important to give informed choices to the youth by telling them about right and wrong.
“Calling someone Kafir (infidel) over difference of opinion on religious beliefs is a dangerous trend, that needs to be shunned through intellectual debate,” he added.
He expressed satisfaction over the pace of academic work attained by the Al Qadir University in a short span of time and called for conducting research on the golden era of Muslims when their leaders, scholars, and scientists ruled the world.
Prime Minister Khan said he was also establishing a “top-tech PM university” but due to slow governmental procedure the varsity could not start its function. “The government works so slowly that after three years of conceiving the concept of the university, we are now going to start it,” he added.
Mr Khan said universities had a great role to play and expressed confidence that the Al Qadir University would revive the norms of research and healthy debate.
He said all Sufi saints of the sub-continent including Baba Bulleh Shah, Nizamuddin Aulia, Data Ganj Bakhsh and Baba Farid, propagated the message of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) that focused on the love for humanity.
He said a leader had four qualities: truthfulness, justice, courage and selflessness.
Later, the prime minister took a round of different academic blocks of the university and interacted with the faculty.
Our correspondent in Gujar Khan adds: The prime minister said there was time in 60s when Pakistan was seen as a country that was progressing fastest in the region and Pakistanis were respected all over the world.
“I have seen Pakistan through its different phases. There was a time when the US president personally received Pakistani president at the airport and remarkable welcome was given to our president in Britain during the 1960s because our country was progressing rapidly, and it was predicted that Pakistan was going to be California of Asia. And then we also saw the decline our country,” he said.
Meeting on agriculture
Chairing a meeting on agriculture, Prime Minister Khan was apprised that as due measures had been taken against hoarding, the price of fertiliser had registered an average decrease of Rs400 per bag.
The chief secretary of Punjab told the meeting that a number of steps had been taken since Nov 13 to curb hoarding of fertilisers, including registration of 347 first information reports, 244 arrests, 21,111 inspections, sealing of 480 godowns, and imposition of fines of Rs27.9 million.
Besides, he said a control room had been established in every district to receive complaints about fertilisers’ shortage, hoarding and profiteering. Check-posts have also been established to curb inter-provincial transportation of fertilisers.
The meeting was told that the laws relating to hoarding and profiteering were being amended under which a person giving information about the hoarding would be rewarded in proportion to the confiscated goods.
The prime minister directed the authorities to continue to take legal action against the elements involved in hoarding and profiteering.
Published in Dawn, November 30th, 2021