LAHORE  -   President Arif Alvi Friday urged India to stop fanning religious hatred and work for promoting peace in the region.

“It is alarming to see the Indian government encouraging religious hatred [to achieve political ends]. India should realise that once ignited, this fire becomes uncontrollable,” the President said while addressing the National Inter-faith Peace Conference held at a local hotel here.

He said every Pakistani was desirous of making peace with India despite opposite vibes coming from the other side. The President said that Pakistan had learnt a lot after sacrifices of thousands of people as a result of terrorism, but, regrettably, the neighbouring India did not learn anything from history.

Alvi said he had even stopped talking to his relatives in India to avoid any controversy in a situation when religious hatred was at its peak in that country.

President Alvi said that all religions proclaimed peace and love, but unfortunately, some people would use religions for their nefarious designs. “No religion, in fact, allows terrorism and violence,” he said.

“What I learnt from the study of different religions is that humans have always fought for their ego and used the name of religion as a tool,” he observed. He regretted that hatred was found in human psyche.

He recalled that millions of people were killed in World War-I, and the human generation learnt the value of peace only after they fought another world war in which millions of people were killed again.

“These wars were not fought on the basis of religion, but for personal egos,” he added.

He said that a true leadership was needed to promote peace and harmony in the society. “The prime minister of New Zealand is an example of true leadership,” he said.

Alvi said that he had offered Pakistan’s cooperation for peace in Sri Lanka in his phone call to Sri Lankan president for condolence. “I told him that we (Pakistanis) faced pain of terrorism more than any other country.”

Quoting the Holy Prophet (PBUH), he said that Islam teaches forgiving others and forbids backbiting, which forms basis of hatred. “Nowadays, the social media has become a big source of backbiting and rumouring,” he added. The president said that when something is shared without context, it helped promote hatred in the society.

The president said that hatred would never be tolerated in Pakistan as followers of all religions enjoyed equal rights in the country. He said that Pakistan was now a new Pakistan where followers of every religion work for peace in the country.

“No doubt, the state is responsible for maintaining harmony, but at the same time, it is also a responsibility of leaders of all religious and political schools of thought to take measures for ensuring peace,” he added.

About the Kashmir issue, President Alvi said that Kashmiris were struggling for freedom of their land and they had offered sacrifices for this cause. He said Pakistan would never accept occupation of their land.

Hindu religious leader Haroon Dayal, Bishop of Peshawar Humphrey Sarfaraz Peter, Sikh leader Bishon Singh, Bahai leader Dr Romani Mughredi, Bishop of Lahore Sebestian Francis Shaw and Muslim scholar Abdul Khabir Azad and MNA Shanila Raut also addressed the conference.

Later, the president lit the ‘candle of peace’ on this occasion.