In meeting with Ulema, COAS says no space for intolerance, extremism

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RAWALPINDI: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Syed Asim Munir on Friday warned that the use of force and armed action by any militia, entity or group other than the state is “unacceptable”, read a statement issued by the military’s media affairs wing.

According to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the army chief remarked during an interaction with the leading Islamic scholars of all schools of thought, who called on him at the General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi today.

“Pakistan belongs to all Pakistanis without any religious, provincial, tribal, linguistic, ethnic, sectarian or any other distinction,” said Gen Munir.

He warned that there is no space for intolerance and extreme behaviour by any entity against anyone, particularly against minorities and vulnerable segments of society.

The COAS, while lauding the Paigham-e-Pakistan Fatwa by religious scholars to nullify misleading propaganda disseminated by extremists and terrorists, called upon the Ulema and Mashaikh for its propagation and implementation in letter and spirit and shun internal schisms.

Speaking on the occasion, Gen Munir also signified the role of Ulema in harnessing youth towards understanding of Quran and Sunnah and character building alongside other academic knowledge and technical skills.

During the meeting, the Ulema and Mashaikh unanimously condemned extremism, terrorism and sectarianism and pledged their continued support for the untiring efforts of State and security forces for bringing tolerance, peace and stability to the country, read the statement.

The participants of the meeting underscored that Islam is a religion of peace and harmony and any skewed and distorted interpretations of religion by certain entities are for their vested interests only and have nothing to do with Islamic teachings.

The forum unanimously supported the government’s measures to harden the state including repatriation of illegal foreigners, implementation of One Document Regime, anti-smuggling and hoarding measures and anti-power theft drive, said ISPR.

It also fully acknowledged Pakistan’s position and concerns on terrorism emanating from Afghan soil and urged serious actions by Afghanistan to address Pakistan’s concerns.

The forum also expressed anguish on the ongoing conflict in Gaza and atrocities being committed against the hapless people of Gaza and termed them as crimes against humanity, read the statement.

With the Israeli aggression on Gaza entering day 42 today, more than 11,500 Palestinians — including over 4,700 children — have lost their lives in unabating bombardment and airstrikes in residential areas, even on hospitals, in the besieged enclave.

During the past 48 hours, 24 patients have died at Al Shifa hospital owing to power cuts, as Israeli forces searched the facility, which they claimed, for Hamas hideouts.

According to the reports, the Israeli troops were operating in northern Gaza. Last week, Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant claimed that their forces had cut the strip in two.

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