Gilani calls for promotion of tolerance


* Former PM expresses grief over loss of lives and damages to public and private property by miscreants on Friday
ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Saturday said that it was the collective responsibility of the political leadership, religious scholars, civil society and media to portray and promote tolerance in the country and discourage those who were planning to divide the society.
Gilani expressed deep grief over the loss of lives and damage to the public and private property by miscreants on Friday and said it was done at the behest of those who wanted to harm the cause of Islam, the country and democracy.
He said that the essence of Islam and the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) were based on tolerance and respect for others regardless of their caste, creed or religion and those who opted to tread on the opposite path were alien to religion of Islam.
Gilani, who is also the senior vice chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), underscored the importance of forging unity to face multifarious challenges.
He said that the elements who wanted to create a division should be marginalised as their mindset was not prone to reason and the imperatives of the day to day life.
He said that extremists would never succeed in derailing the nation to achieve their goal of a moderate, democratic, pluralistic and prosperous country as envisioned by the founding fathers.
The former prime minister said that the coalition democratic government was taking up the matter at all forums, including the OIC, and at the forthcoming UN General Assembly session by President Asif Ali Zardari. Pakistan is the only country in the Muslim world that officially declared a protest against the anti-Islam film and vowed to mobilise to get support to formulate a mechanism to prevent the production of such films in future, he added.
He said that the protest in the Muslim world against the film had sent a strong message to the international community.
It will pave the way for international convention to circumvent the production of such hate material hurting the feelings of more than one billion Muslims, he hoped.
The former PM appreciated the statement of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon in which he categorically rejected and condemned the contents of the film. app

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