Religious leaders unite to combat interfaith disharmony following Sargodha blasphemy incident

May 27, 2024

Religious scholars and leaders from various schools of thought, in the wake of a recent blasphemous incident in Sargodha, have come together under the auspices of Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC) to pledge a united front against attempts to incite interfaith disharmony in the country.

The incident, which has stirred tensions within the community, is being seen by many as a deliberate effort by certain elements to destabilize Pakistan by exploiting religious sentiments.

Key religious figures expressed their firm commitment to countering any attempts to sow discord among different religious communities in Pakistan. They emphasized that unity and mutual understanding are essential to safeguarding national stability and preventing violence.

Addressing a press conference accompanied with Ulema and Mashaykh here at Deputy Commissioner Office, PUC Chairman Hafiz Muhammad Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi said the incident in question involved allegations of blasphemy, a highly sensitive and incendiary topic in Pakistan, which has historically led to significant social unrest.

However, in this instance, the swift and measured response from local law enforcement agencies played a crucial role in preventing the situation from escalating, he said adding that their prompt action has been lauded by religious leaders, who recognize the importance of maintaining peace and order in such volatile situations.

Ashrafi stated, “We will not allow anyone to destabilize our country through interfaith disharmony. It is our collective responsibility to promote peace and understanding among all communities.” He further highlighted the critical role of religious leaders in guiding their followers towards tolerance and harmony.

He reiterated his stance that religion should be a force for unity rather than division and called on all Pakistanis to reject any rhetoric or actions that aim to pit one religious group against another. He stressed the importance of education and dialogue in dispelling misunderstandings and building a more cohesive society.

Ashrafi also commended the immediate response of law enforcement to the Sargodha incident as their efficient handling of the situation prevented potential violence and ensured that justice would be served through appropriate legal channels rather than mob action. He said this response is seen as a model for dealing with such incidents in the future, highlighting the importance of a measured and lawful approach.

In addition to addressing the immediate incident, the PUC chairman announced plans to hold interfaith dialogues and educational programmes for fostering a deeper understanding and respect among different faiths in the country. He said these initiatives are part of a broader strategy to create a resilient society that can resist attempts to incite hatred and violence.

Ashrafi said the unity displayed by the religious leaders in response to the Sargodha incident has sends a powerful message that Pakistan’s diverse religious communities can stand together in the face of challenges. By promoting peace and understanding, he said they intend to ensure that the nation remains strong and united against any forces that seek to create division.

As the situation continues to be monitored, the collective efforts of religious scholars, law enforcement, and the community at large, he said remain crucial in maintaining peace and stability. He said the commitment to countering interfaith disharmony reflects a broader resolve to protect the integrity and unity of Pakistan, ensuring that such incidents do not undermine the nation’s social fabric.