MULTAN  -   President Dr Arif Alvi Thursday stressed a need for promoting message of love and peace, saying "Old Pakistan pushed us towards prejudices and hatred while new Pakistan will take us to new heights after freeing us from all biases."

Addressing an International Sufi Conference here at Bahauddin Zakariya University, the president added that new Pakistan would be a place where people would get justice and their rights, and the poor would get employment and house for living. He said that people would be given access to basic necessities like healthcare and education. "If we act upon the commandment of Allah given in the Quran and the directions of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), no one can prevent Pakistan from making tremendous progress," he noted.

He said that the saints united the people with the message of love and spread Islam through harmony. He added that the creation of environment of tolerance, love, and harmony was subject to connecting people with one another with love. He said that it is known to the world that the Holy Prophet (PBUH) would never become angry. "If the Holy Prophet (PBUH) would dislike anything or be worried, His face would turn red but he would never harm anyone with his words," he noted.

He said that the major message of Islam to the humanity was to love the people and forgive them. He said that Allah Almighty also liked those who forgave others. He said, "The Holy Prophet (PBUH) taught us not to harm any church in a Muslim state nor marry non-Muslim girls forcibly." He said that all Muslims were ready to sacrifice their lives for Namoos-e-Risalat, but delivering harm to any innocent person on this issue was injustice.

The President was of the opinion that Allah Almighty did not need Muslims' prayers as each and every particle of this universe prayed to him. He lamented, "We lost our direction right after concluding our prayers. Our religion teaches us to take care of rights of others." He added, "Prejudices and hatred, if permitted, used to become permanent part of our lives. Then we'll need decades to make our lives free of these prejudices. We've experienced these prejudices in Karachi, and it took us over 35 years to eliminate them." He said that he was happy that the BZU made efforts for introducing a practical, beneficial and uniform education system. He assured university administration that steps would be taken to resolve financial issues being faced by the varsity. He said that Islam put special emphasis on giving rights to the women, adding "We'll have to ensure rights to the women." Recalling Seeratun Nabi (PBUH), the president said that when a woman, who threw trash on the Holy Prophet (PBUH), did not turn up one day, He went to her home to inquire after her health."

Speaking on this occasion, Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi said: "We need to use the instructions of saints as guideline to correct Pakistan's image in the world." He added that the saints also taught people how to earn halal besides teaching them Islam. "Whenever our government talks about bringing seminaries in national mainstream, it always means that we want the students of religious schools to learn contemporary skills besides getting religious education," he claimed. He said that people from entire country came to pay homage to the saints in Multan. He said that anyone who was interested in seeing cultural diversity should come to the shrines of Multan. He said that it was not just Muslims but followers of other religions too came to the shrines.

He proposed to President Dr Arif Alvi to convene a moot of ulema and mashaikh at president house and further strengthen narrative against intolerance. He further suggested that the professors of universities and teachers of other institutions should also be taken on board for this purpose.

Mr Qureshi was of the opinion that connecting people with one another on the basis of ideology was need of the hour. He added that Pakistan's honour could be revived on international level by promoting interfaith harmony. He said: "We need to show true face of Islam to the world which gives the message of truth and peace." He added: "We need to change our narrative if we want to win war against terror. We need to bring religious schools into national mainstream. Once they are in the mainstream, they will produce useful citizens for the society besides ulema and mashaikh."

He said that the life of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) was a source of light for all Muslims. He added that when the Holy Prophet (PBUH) declared his prophethood, the people had already acknowledged his truthfulness.

He said that the personality and personal character of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) played a key role in promotion of Islam as people found a role model in His personality in all fields of life.

He said that CPEC was being dubbed as a game changer, adding that it would also connect all parts and people of the country. He said that when the people would get connected on the basis of ideology and culture, it would produce long-lasting results. He said that the world badly needed interfaith harmony, adding that the Vatican City had invited clerics from across the world for this purpose.

He drew the attention of the President towards backwardness of the region, and said that the universities of this area were not given requisite attention. "We need to see why required funds are not given to the varsities of this area, and if given, why they are withdrawn," he lamented. He urged upon the president to invited vice chancellors of universities of South Punjab to his office and inquired about their demands, reservations and needs.