ISLAMABAD - Maulana Samiul Haq, chief of his own faction of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Sami), has said though talks with Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan are frozen and the government has cut off contacts with JUI-S, yet the Taliban are still in touch and negotiations should be given a fair chance again, as dialogue is the only way to restore peace in Pakistan.
Maulana Samiul Haq said this while addressing the first consultation meeting of National Islamic Advisory Group (NIAG) here at Allama Iqbal Auditorium of International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI) on Saturday.
He said the country is in a state of war and this war can come to an end only through talks. "The prime minister should tell what went wrong and why this process reached a deadlock. The Taliban will not refuse if asked again to resume the negotiations," Haq said.
Condemning the operation against the Taliban, he said the ongoing operation should be ended to bring peace and parleys should be given a chance.
In view to remove the rumours and misconceptions and overcome the lack of knowledge about the polio vaccination from the mind of the masses, Iqbal International Institute of Research and Dialogue, IIUI, organised the first consultation meeting of National Islamic Advisory Group for polio eradication.
The chief guest Saira Afzal Tarar, minister of state for national health services, regulations and coordination, said some miscreants want to use polio campaign as political weapon even they know that polio vaccine is Halal and not harmful by any means. "Decrees are available from all the sects which say polio vaccine is Halal and mandatory for all Muslims," she added.
She said some religious circles consider polio eradication campaign as dubious and never accepted campaign of polio eradication. She urged Ulema to develop effective strategies, as they are expected as frontline soldiers in combating polio . She requested Ulema to take the lead in expedition of polio eradication from the country, terming them a great source of inspiration in the society.
The objective of the meeting was to discuss ways to approach the Ulema/ Khatibs, who misconstrue polio eradication campaign as dubious, and evolve effective strategy to dispel their misconceptions so that they are convinced wholeheartedly.
The meeting deliberated how to eliminate their concerns and ensure them that polio vaccine is not harmful for health and no element of Haram is in its ingredients. A joint statement will be prepared for the meeting of international advisory group's meeting.
The meeting brought together the religious leaders, scientists, health experts and doctors to assess the current challenges faced by the government of Pakistan. The meeting also discussed guidance on strategies that can effectively overcome current situation and political challenges to polio eradication in Pakistan.
Dr Mumtaz Ahmad, executive director Iqbal International Institute for Research & Dialogue (IRD) IIUI, requested members of advisory group from Karachi, Balochistan, KP and FATA to be proactive in support of the polio workers where vaccinators have been facing security threats.
Their moral and religious influence in their respective regions will go a long way in creating confidence among the parents that the vaccination is safe, Halal and necessary for the health of their children and also reassuring the polio workers that their lives are safe when they are out in the field for this public service, he added.
The meeting was attended by Ayesha Raza, focal person of PM's Polio Eradication Cell, Maulana Hanif Jallandhari, secretary general Wafaqul Madaris Multan, and President IIUI Dr Ahmed Yousif Al-Draiweesh, besides others.