The Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC) has extended its support to the construction of a temple in Islamabad saying that those hampering are making the issue controversial.
According to Hafiz Tahir Ashrafi, who is also the chairman of Muthahida Ulema Board, while talking to media on Friday said that the Constitution of Pakistan categorically defines the rights of Muslims and non-Muslims living in the country.
“We denounce the controversy over construction of the temple. This [making it controversial] by extremist clerics is not correct. PUC will call a meeting and will also present its point of view to the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII),” said Ashrafi.
“To have their own place of worship and offer a life as per their faith and tradition are the right given to all non-Muslims in the Constitution and as well as in Sharia,” he said, adding: “Those opposing the construction of the temple have an incorrect interpretation of Sharia.”
He said the people of Hindu faith living in Pakistan were not citizens of any conquered land; therefore, the theory presented by various clerics about the rights of non-Muslims in Sharia is not applicable to Hindus and members of other religious minorities living in the country”.
Hafiz Ashrafi futher said the PUC has been playing a vital role for interfaith harmony in Pakistan and will continue to do so.
The ideology of PUC lies on the non-violence and moderate behaviours towards the minorities of the country, he said.
Hafiz Asrafi said, “Even in the Ulema Board there have been several unfounded complaints related to violations of the blasphemy law against the people of religious minorities but we not only turned them down but also warned the complainants in a few cases against lodging false complaints.”
He further added that there was no harm or threat to the faith or any other risk involved in establishing a place of worship for the non-Muslim minorities.
“Dozens of worship places have been established in the country for religious minorities and recently the government constructed the Kartarpur Corridor for Sikh pilgrims,” he said. “Did anybody observed any threat to Islam – No.”
Later, he announced that the PUC in coordination with the World Peace Council will soon host a convention in Islamabad in which representatives of different religious schools of thought and religions will be invited.