ISLAMABAD - Interior Minister Rehman Malik on Wednesday asked the Taliban to surrender arms and pursue the path of peace, which was imperative for the development and prosperity of Pakistan and the world.

“Taliban are not doing any good for the country and the coming generations. All of us should make efforts to convince them to follow the path of peace as this is the only way we can make our place in the developed (countries), and put Pakistan on the path of progress,” he said while addressing an intra/interfaith peace conference.

The World Council of Religions (WCR) organized the conference entitled Pakistan, a Peaceful Welfare State our responsibilities to discuss as to how harmony can be promoted in the country.

Chairman WCR Maulana Muhammad Hanif Jalandhary presided over the conference.

Rehman Malik urged the Ulema to initiate dialogue with Taliban and made them realize the importance of peace and assured that he would extend full support to them in this regard. “We like to see them (Taliban) good and respectable citizens of Pakistan.”

The minister said he had also asked the Taliban earlier to surrender arms to the government.

He said the terrorists, who are killing the innocent people for the sake of a few thousands rupees, were not human beings but were savages. They should realize that their negative designs are exposed among the people, who have courage to defeat the enemies trying to destabilise Pakistan, he added.

Highlighting the importance of peace, Rehman Malik asked the media to dedicate some of their time and energies for programmes on peace which was need of the hour. “All religions in the world promote peace and call for joint efforts in this regard,” he added.

He said the people of Pakistan were peace loving and the rumors    that Hindus were migrating from Pakistan, were wrong. The minorities contribution for the betterment of the country is also commendable, he added.

Rehman Malik said that the government was going to set up an inter-faith council to create religious harmony in the country and announced that an international conference on inter-faith harmony would be held during the last week of September.

The other speakers of the conference included Minister for National Harmony Akram Gill, Advisor to Prime Minister for Minorities Affairs Dr Paul Bhattti and renowned scholars of different scholls of thought.