Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday said there was no precedent in Islamic history for forcibly converting others and those who do so “know neither the history of Islam nor their religion, the Quran or Sunnah”.
The premier made these remarks while addressing an event around the National Minority Day hosted at the Aiwan-e-Sadr.
The premier said that Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) life was a road map for people to follow until the day of judgement. He explained that the Prophet (PBUH) himself had given minorities religious freedom and protected their places of worship, “because the Quran orders that there be no compulsion in religion”.
“How can we then take it into our own hands to forcefully convert someone to Islam — either by marrying [non-Muslim] women […] or on gunpoint or to [by threatening to] kill someone because of their religion?” he asked.
“All these things are un-Islamic. If God hadn’t given his messengers the power to impose their beliefs on someone, who are we [to do so]?” he asked, explaining that the messengers’ duty was only to spread the word of God.
The premier said that since coming into power, he had said that the Riasat-i Madina was the only model for Pakistan, which had been created in the name of Islam.
Imran shared that Allama Iqbal had said that when a Muslim rises, they aspire to this model (the model of the state of Madina), and when they fall, they deviate from this model.
“This is why I want this model to be studied in the country. What was Riasat-e-Madina? We are trying that universities teach courses on the Riasat-i-Madina,” he said.
Prime Minister Imran also said that though the government was merely implementing the law against previous leaders, they were raising a hue and cry.
President Dr Arif Alvi, who was also attending the event alongside the prime minister, said the concept of a modern Islamic state was incomplete without principles of social equality.
He assured the religious minorities in the country of complete freedom to practice their faith.
“Pakistan belongs to its all communities regardless of any religion which unitedly make a beautiful bouquet of inter-faith harmony,” the president said.
President Dr Alvi said the country’s leadership was determined to make Pakistan a true reflection of the ideals of State of Medina, vision of the Quaid and the philosophy of national poet Allama Iqbal.
“You have a steadfast prime minister, and I tell you, he will not inch backward until he achieves his goal of a welfare state,” the President said. He said all religious minorities were an important part of Pakistan and lauded their contribution for the country in diverse fields.
He quoted a saying of the Holy Prophet (Peace be upon Him) that “anyone becoming tyrant towards a non-Muslim would be contested by me on the Judgment Day”.
The president mentioned several occasions where the Holy Prophet PBUH) greeted 40 Christian delegations at Masjid-e-Nabvi and allowed them camping within the vicinity of mosque.
Federal Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Pir Noorul Haq Qadri said for the last one year, the ministry had taken special steps to mark holy events of all faiths including Christmas, Holi, Dewali, Besakhi, and others.
He said the government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf made appointment of Chairman Evacuee Trust Board on merit after proper advertisement and interview, regretting that earlier the kitty was misappropriated by the political appointees of previous government.
Representatives of different religious communities shared their views on the occasion and expressed commitment to continue contributing for the country”s solidarity and prosperity.
Bishop of Lahore Irfan Jamil said the Christian community was playing significant role in fields of education, medicine, social work and even in the armed forces.
He called for implementation of five percent reserved job quota for minorities in true letter in spirit, elimination of hate material from syllabus and also legislation related to Christian marriage and divorce.
Parliamentary Secretary for Human Rights in National Assembly Lal Chand Malhi representing the Hindu community expressed satisfaction that presence of both the President and the Prime Minister at the event for minorities showed their seriousness in making Pakistan a reflection of the Quaid”s vision.
Isphanyar Bhandara speaking on behalf of Parsi community said protection of minorities was linked with the country”s solidarity and urged the goverment to rename the major roads as earlier in the names of non-Muslims prominent personalities.
Dr Seema Fozdar representing the Baha”i community said Pakistan”s minorities presented a beautiful mix of religions that needed tolerance and harmony for a peaceful society