Pakistan issues fatwa signed by 1,800 Islamic scholars against use of violence for religious purposes

Islamabad: Wracked by terrorism, extremism and sectarianism, Pakistan government on Tuesday issued a fatwa signed by over 1,800 Islamic scholars from different schools of thought against the use of violence, including suicide bombings, for religious purposes.

Titled as 'Paigham-e-Pakistan' (the message of Pakistan), the fatwa issued at a grand ceremony was prepared under the supervision of Islamabad-based International Islamic University.

The decree came at a time when US president Donald Trump has asked Pakistan to act against terror groups on its soil and warned against providing safe havens to terrorists.

 Pakistan issues fatwa signed by 1,800 Islamic scholars against use of violence for religious purposes

File image of Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain. AP

Addressing the ceremony, President Mamnoon Hussain said the launch of national narrative on counter-terrorism manifested that the whole nation was extremely serious on the issue.

"I believe that this decree, prepared in the light of true teachings of Islam, will transform their hearts and pave the way for their salvation in the hereinafter," he said, referring to militants and Islamic radicals.

In a statement, the government said the fatwa was part of the national narrative on extremism and terrorism. It was endorsed by religious scholars, parliamentarians, intellectuals and policy makers.

The fatwa also declares armed struggle against the country, its government or armed forces "illegal".

It acknowledges that it is the responsibility of the government to fully implement Islamic provisions of the Constitution, but it rejects the use of force for it and says that taking up arms to achieve this purpose amounts to 'Fasaad-fil-Arz' or spreading willful violence on earth.

Quoting verses from holy Quran and Hadith, the fatwa says suicide is unacceptable in Islam and a grave sin. Supporting such (suicide) attacks has also been described as tantamount to supporting a collection of sins.

President Hussain said the decree would not only promote a positive image of the Islamic teachings and Pakistani society in the world but would also help in overcoming the menace of extremism.

He said the roots of extremism and militancy lied in intolerance and in not appreciating different points of views, which fostered sectarianism by eliminating moderation.

He mentioned that renunciation of research, dogmatism and intolerance resulted in dreadful forms of sectarianism.

Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal said Pakistan is fulfilling its commitments in the war on terror but it is also for the international community to fulfil its obligations by listening to the voices emanating from Myanmar, Kashmir and Palestine.

In his remarks, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif expressed the confidence that the national narrative against militancy will prove to be a turning point for the country.

"We have rejected all forms of terrorism and extremism," he asserted.

"The land of Pakistan at no time shall be allowed to be used for the propagation of any kind of terrorism," Asif said, adding that this included training and recruitment of terrorists, along with execution of terror activities in other countries "and other such ulterior motives".

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Updated Date: Jan 16, 2018 22:02:36 IST