LAHORE – Saddened by the Badami Bagh tragedy, religio -political leaders and civil society activists called for promoting interfaith harmony.

Talking to the media after inaugurating a park for special children at Bagh-e-Jinnah on Saturday, MNA Hamza Shahbaz condemned the Badami Bagh arson. “Such incidents mar the image of Pakistan in the world. Religious harmony and tolerance are the need of hour,” he said. He vowed to bring culprits to justices, saying that an investigation into the tragedy and vandals would be brought to book.

Showing solidarity with Christians, PTI Chairman Imran Khan condemned the attack, saying that the tragedy exposed the Punjab government’s writ.

JI Secretary General Liaqat Baloch said the attack was unjustified. He said a thorough probe was needed. He said the incident reflected deterioration of the society.

Pakistan Awami Tehreek chief Dr Tahirul Qadri said the Badami Bagh incident was a conspiracy against Pakistan. He said criminals and terrorists were playing havoc with th country while the rulers were celebrating the completion of their tenure.

Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) Chairman Sahibzada Fazl Karim condemned the Badami Bagh incident, saying that torching the houses was against the teachings of Islam. Flaying the barbarism, Jamiat-e-Ahle Hadith chief Prof Sajid Mir said blasphemy was worst crime and its punishment was death but only the state had the power to sentence a blasphemer.

Tahafuz-e-Namoos-e-Risalat Mahaz president Razaul Mustafa Naqashbandi, Maulana Raghib Naeemi, in their condemnation messages, said the incident was shameful.  Jamaatud Dawa Ameer Hafiz Saeed and Tehrik Hurmat Rasool convener Maulana Ameer Hamza said the tragic incident was un-Islamic.

Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC) chief Hafiz Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi said the incident was condemnable since Islam orders complete protection of minorities and prohibits hurting innocent people.

In a statement, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) said it was regrettable that the Punjab administration had not learnt any lessons from previous incidents -- Gojra and Shantinagar acts. It said the attack was yet another shameful incident against a vulnerable community and further confirmation of the slide toward extremism in society on the one hand and, on the other hand, the apathy and inaction that has become the norm among the police. Handing out compensation cheques is not a solution; strong action against those responsible must be ensured, it said.  In a statement, Women Concern Network President Sabra Asmat and local activists including Habibullah Bhatti and Fazil Bhatti, condemned the attack on Christians.