Says voices of moderation faced with existential threat of extremism
Gauhar Zahid Malik
President Mamnoon Hussain on Tuesday said that the use of brute force by terrorists of different denominations had brought disruption in various parts of the world and frequently, the voices of moderation were faced with an existential threat of extremism.
“The forces of violence and bigotry challenge the very existence of our common humanity in the name of religion, ethnic superiority, economic supremacy or even pure hegemonic desires,” the President said while speaking at an Iftar dinner held in honour of the Heads of Foreign Missions at the Aiwan-e-Sadr.
The President said this critical moment in history demanded to revert to the sublime and peaceful teachings of religion, adding that fundamentally, religion should act as a uniting force for the post-modern societies and as a moderating, civilizing guide to public and private dealings.
Undeniably, the scourge of terrorism and extremism are the most pressing and daunting challenges that the today’s world is confronted with, the President said and added that unfortunately, Pakistan had been in the forefront of this existential fight, bearing an excessively huge burden.
He said that Pakistan had suffered colossal losses as a frontline state in the war on terrorism and its economy had sustained US$ 127 billion since the onset of war on terrorism.
Tens of thousands of our civilians and security forces personnel have laid down their lives in this struggle, he said, adding, like many other countries, Pakistan has made hard choices and taken tough decisions to deal with emerging and daunting problems.
The President said this was the third consecutive year that Pakistan had seen fewer terrorist attacks and deaths, adding, it had become possible due to political commitment, based on an across-the-board national consensus and support by a determined and comprehensive military campaign. He said Pakistan’s example could be emulated by others.
The President said Pakistan consists of many ethnicities, cultures, faiths and religion, adding that pluralism had been the hallmark of Pakistan. He said equality of rights and status was being afforded by our Constitution and laws to followers of all religions.
He said no country in the world was problem-free. Likewise, Pakistan has also seen infrequent stresses between various segments of society. Nevertheless, the people of Pakistan have always chosen the path of moderation, tolerance and coexistence through firm belief in democracy and democratic institutions, he added.
The President said founder of the nation Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah envisioned a Pakistan for all faiths of religions by saying: “You are free; you are free to go to your temples. You are free to go to your mosques or to any other places of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion, caste or creed—that has nothing to do with the business of the state.”
“Today, we are firmly dedicated to the Quaid’s vision of building a truly pluralistic, equal, inclusive, and democratic society where all citizens enjoy equal rights and freedom irrespective of their faiths. We are effectively countering the menace of terrorism and overcoming hate speech as per priorities outlined in the National Action Plan,” the President said.
He said it was crystal clear that in today’s globalized and integrated world, Pakistan could not attain peace and prosperity when our neighbourhoods were embroiled in conflict and war.
He said the peace, security, prosperity and development require well-thought-out and all-encompassing efforts of all partners. In my view, he said, this was an ideal method to complement our national efforts aimed at affording proper security and economic environment to enable our people to follow their dreams of achieving prosperity and development.
The President said it was extremely vital to point out the reign of terror and subjugation unleashed by Indian security forces in the occupied Kashmir against unarmed innocent civilian Kashmiris.
The President stressed upon the international community to take note of the gross human rights’ violations being committed in India-occupied Kashmir and to press upon India the need for meaningful dialogue and engagement with Pakistan to resolve all outstanding issues including the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir.
The President said it was pertinent to mention here that another five-year tenure of our democratically elected government has been completed successfully, which was a reflection of strong democratic institutions in the country.
He said the general election was going to take place on July 25, 2018. He hoped that the upcoming Government would work for betterment and prosperity of the people of Pakistan.
The President said the blessed month of Ramadan highlights that we should care for sufferings, miseries and deprivations of others, adding that international collaboration was imperative for dealing with global issues.
He said the resolution of these formidable challenges requires unity among our ranks and global cooperation. The President said internationally, the arc of conflict, strife, and instability was incrementally growing and engulfing new countries and continents.
He said that xenophobia and anti-globalization sentiment was on the rise while the societies were confronted with ever greater divisions on religious, ethnic, sectarian, and linguistic dimensions.
He said the notion of fasting was integral in nearly all religions of the world in one form or another. He said the fundamental principle behind fasting was also universal. It promotes self-sacrifice, discipline, fortitude, and humility. It reminds us of the values of tolerance and forbearance, he added.
The President said this holy month was an occasion to focus on reflection and spiritual growth, forgiveness, patience, resilience, compassion, unity across communities, charity, generosity, kindness, and good relations.
Most importantly, this month was also a great equalizer, he said adding, irrespective of social class stratification, all feel the pangs of hunger and thirst and all stand united in respect to the command of their Creator. Ramadan is the month of limitless blessings.
He said the universal message of fasting had a remarkable relevance in today’s world, where a multitude of significant changes happen. He said it was obvious that these are truly extraordinary times with the global and regional landscapes ever-changing.