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November 21, 2018

Working for int’l covenant against sacrilege: PM

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November 21, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that some people, who are ignorant of the real teachings of Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (Peace be upon him), have become self-styled custodians of of religion (thekedars).

He was speaking at the two-day International Rahmatulil Aalameen Conference, held here on Tuesday at the Jinnah Convention Centre. The topic of the conference was ‘Finality of Prophethood and responsibilities of Muslims in the light of teachings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)”.

The premier stressed the need to study the life of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) "who changed the world in a short span of time". “Those who are unable to understand the philosophy of the life of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) have now become guardians of religion.

"You can only follow the path of blessed people when you love the Holy Prophet (PBUH)," he added. Prime Minister Imran Khan urged the fellow Muslims to deal with the issue of misinformation against Islam peacefully. He reminded that every few years some troublemakers in the West try to indulge in blasphemy, and the people react by resorting to riots and causing losses to the country. Their deeds are really painful. The West dubs the Muslims as terrorists and extremists through their propaganda machines on account of such persons’ reaction.

The premier announced that Pakistan would spearhead a worldwide campaign against defamation of religions and strive for securing an international convention for the purpose, as nobody could be allowed to hurt the religious sentiments of billions of Muslims under the garb of so-called freedom of speech.

Imran Khan reaffirmed his commitment to transform Pakistan into a modern Islamic welfare state in line with the Islamic teachings and ideas of its forefathers. He directed the Higher Education Commission (HEC) to set up special chairs on Seeratun Nabi (SAW) at three different universities ensuring a specific research on the life, character and teachings of the last Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH). He said it would help educate and enlighten our new generation about the phenomenon as to how our Holy Prophet (PBUH) carved out the first-ever Islamic welfare state of Medina and how he transformed the character of Arabs in a short span of time.

The PM announced the appointment of an international law expert, Ahmar Bilal Sufi, as his special envoy to visit different countries to contact experts and leaders to get the convention against defamation of religions passed. He said the Holy Prophet (PBUH) achieved this distinct target not through mobilising resources but inculcating a spirit in his followers to serve the humanity selflessly.

The premier urged religious scholars and intellectuals to promote true teachings of Islam. He also cited the European Human Rights Court ruling against defamation of Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The verdict said such activities exceeded the permissible limits of freedom of expression and “could stir up prejudice and put at risk religious peace”.

He recalled that he had seen Hindus, Sikhs and people from all religions visit the shrines of great personalities like Hazrat Moinuddin Chishti, Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya and Baba Farid. "They visit their mausoleums because they were great men," he said. "We should examine what it was that the Prophet did, that later led to the defeats of superpowers at the hands of Muslims," he said.

Referring to a blasphemous caricatures contest, which was announced by a Dutch MP, the PM said that the Dutch government had cancelled the contest, and the matter had also been taken up by Pakistan at the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) platform. The European Union has also admitted later that freedom of expression could not be used as a pretext for blasphemy.

Imran Khan also recounted his personal spiritual journey, saying he underwent a great transformation after he met his spiritual mentor, Mian Bashir, who was a Sufi. "With his wisdom and knowledge, he was able to guide me to the path of religion," the PM said. "I used to be a Muslim just in name," he said. "If my father urged me, I would go for Friday prayers with him. I would offer my Eid prayers," he said. "I did not have any extraordinary knowledge about Islam. Mian Bashir slowly eliminated the hurdles standing in the way of my faith. And a time comes when Allah lifts a veil and you realise ‘This is God'."

The instance -- when you understand the existence of Allah, and the time that comes when you believe -- it is a huge blessing of Allah when He guides you to the right path, the Khan added.

"Then your life begins changing. There is a misconception that a person undergoes an immediate change when he embraces faith. No, it is just the starting point of a continuous struggle," he said. He said that Allah asks us to follow the path of the Prophet, which is why we need to read about and understand his life. "That was when my journey started. I started reading about his (Prophet’s) life, I started changing, my life's path started changing," he continued.

"I would not have built a cancer hospital or entered into politics if Allah had not changed my path. There are two paths -- when one's life is oriented around personal satisfaction, and the other when one realises he has a responsibility towards his fellow man."

Imran Khan said that Holy Prophet (PBUH) may not have made great financial resources, but Allah instilled the quality of mercy in him. He said that one begins fulfilling his obligations as a human being when he believes he will be answerable on the Day of Judgment.

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