ISLAMABAD   -   Special Adviser to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan on Friday underlined the need for national unity to confront the challenges being faced by the country.

Addressing a seminar on “Pakistan Towards Peaceful Coexistence”, she said that dialogue was the only way forward to resolve issues. She said Ministries of Religious Affairs, Law and Justice and Information and Broadcasting needed to sit together and prepare a roadmap for encouraging dialogue in the society. “Instead of talking about differences, we all need to highlight the commonalities that bring us closer,” she added.

Firdous said confrontation could never be a solution of an issue, adding “When a nation gets united to overcome challenges, it emerges successful.”

She said Pakistan’s foundations were laid on an ideology. She said Prime Minister Imran Khan wanted to make Pakistan a state on the vision of state of Madinah, with the main features of rule of law, equal opportunities, justice for all, respect for human rights including those of minorities.

She said Islam stands for peace and it has no link with hatred and extremism.

She said a handful of individuals and some groups held hostage the entire society in the name of religion, whereas in reality they had no link whatsoever with Islam.

She said that state’s intervention had become imperative to stop those groups and individuals in the better of interest of its people.

Firdous said it was a matter of pride that Pakistan was among the top five countries of the world where people donate in the name of charity. “We are proud that our religion ordains us charity. As Muslims, we believe that our earnings become only pure when we donate for the deserving and needy individuals of our society. The followers of such a religion can never even think to inflict pain to others,” she stated.

About hate speech issue, she said that Islam does not allow anyone to impose his personal thoughts on others forcibly. “Our religion gives all the right of freedom of expression. But neither our religion nor our law allows anyone to impose his thought or ideology upon others by force. The extremist attitudes and thoughts are negations of basic philosophy of Islam,” she added.

She said that the faith of a Muslim remains incomplete if there is no balance between Huquq-Allah and rights of people.

She said that Islam had given a code-of-conduct to its followers and provided them the best Charter of Human Rights through the Holy Quran, which, she said was also incorporated by the United Nations in its Charter.

“Islam is the first religion which lays emphasis on grant of women rights, servants and downtrodden segments of the society”, she added.

Underlining the need to redefine priorities for putting the strayed on the right path, she asked religious scholars to play their due role for that purpose.

“We can facilitate you, but you have to play the real role for that,” she said.

She said that religious scholars, being the custodians of Islamic teachings, could play a pivotal role in promoting rule of law and tolerance in the society.

She said that interfaith harmony was the first roadmap for tolerance.

“In Naya Pakistan, we need to promote it under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan,” she said.

“It is our responsibility to provide citizens their rights in accordance with country’s Constitution and Islamic principles”, she added.

She said that the issues of hate speech and extremist mindset needed to be tackled with a moderate and progressive vision, linking it with true Islamic philosophy.

She said that in the current changing scenario ‘Ijtihad’ (the process of deriving the laws of the Shari’ah from its sources) had become an important component, adding, that the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) had challenged several status quo decisions and in Naya Pakistan, it had defined new traits to shape the society in accordance with the Holy Quran and Sunnah. 

She said that Pakistani nation would have to defeat extremist mindset for country’s territorial integrity, sovereignty, overall national interest and recognition at international front. She asked the religious scholars to develop consensus on important issues after holding dialogue ,adding, after that it would be her responsibility to communicate that to the masses.

She said that Pakistan would have to achieve economic stability and it could only be done when Pakistani nation would become aware about its responsibilities and play its role for that.

She said that it was for the first time in country’s history that civil and military leadership was on the same page.

She said that Prime Minister Imran Khan previous day talked about the economic challenges being faced by the country and today Chief of Army Staff in his speech at a seminar supported him by discussing the same issue.