ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf held a roundtable conference with religious scholars on Wednesday, where he urged ulema of all sects to speak up against sectarian violence “before it is too late”.
Highlighting the importance of statements given out by the ulema, the prime minister said that religious leaders have more influence over the masses as compared to politicians.
“You can give a more influential statement when people try to justify crime in the name of religion,” he said while referring to incidents of targeted killings across the country which are termed as a conflict between the Shia-Sunni sects. “They [terrorists] kill people as if it’s a normal thing. They spill people’s blood, slit their throats… and the worst part if that they justify it in the name of religion.”
“If you keep giving them space, then I can say that even you’re not safe. Our mosques, imambargahs are not safe today either. Our schools are not safe. Offices of law enforcement agencies and hospitals are targeted,” he stated.
Every time a target killing takes place, it is said that either Shias are killing Sunnis or Sunnis are killing Shias but, the prime minister emphasised, that two sects have been living together peacefully for a long time and it can happen now as well. He vowed that the government will go to the last limits to fight against the menace.
The premier also urged the people of the country to take action. “Every Pakistani, no matter which religion or sect he belongs to or where he lives, should stand up against them [terrorists] before it is too late.”