Get united to eliminate hatred, intolerance: Ahsan Iqbal tells NA

Islamabad: Terming hatred and intolerance as a major threat to peace, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal Wednesday called on all political forces to join hands to combat the menace.

“No society can go forward and progress with such kind of a mindset,” warned the minister in his address to the National Assembly, days after he was shot and injured in a failed assassination attempt during a visit to his constiutency.

The assailant, a member of religious party, confessed to his involvement in the shooting, saying he targeted the minister over a recent amendment in election declaration. “It is very important to root-out the seeds of hatred, which we had sown in this country. If we don’t deal with the issue, the will burn us all,” he said.

The interior minister particularly appealed to the country’s religious clergy to play their role to counter extremist tendencies. “No individual or group has the right to punish anybody when state institutions like the parliament and judicial system are functional,” he stressed.

The minister said that there was dire need of a long struggle against the hatred culture, expressing the hope that all the parties should look how to overcome this challenge. “We have carried so many dead bodies and witnessed bloodshed. We now have to decorate flowers of peace and for this we need to overcome hatred at all levels,” the minister remarked.

The minister said individuals and groups have no right to issue decrees of killing on the basis of religion, saying that “who is Muslim and who is non-Muslim, the constitution of the country decides, the parliament decides, we cannot issue decrees in streets on it.” Similarly, regarding Jihad, he said that over 2000 prominent ulema of Pakistan had given decision in Payam-e-Pakistan that no individual or group could give order for jihad as it was the prerogative of the state only.

He categorically rejected division on the basis of race, religion and colour, saying that whosoever holds Pakistani Identity Card, should be respected and loved without any prejudice. He said that prejudice against Muslims in India was the reason behind the creation of Pakistan and that was why Muslims demanded their homeland where they were not subjected to such prejudice.

“If any group in Pakistan was subjected to the same prejudice, this would be negation of basic ideology of creation of Pakistan,” he remarked. He thanked Imran Khan for sending him a bouquet but lamented that those who had brought the bouquet were defending the assassin outside the hospital.

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