State within state will not be allowed: Gilani

ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani has urged the Ulema and Mashaikh to play their role in projecting the true image of Islam and to counter extremism and terrorism. Addressing the National Ulema and Mashaikh conference here at the National Library auditorium on Tuesday, Premier Gilani said, The Ulema played an important role in Pakistans creation and now again it is time that they should stand united to protect the country from all challenges. He minced no words in saying that state within state would not be allowed in any case. The conference organised by the Ministry of Religious Affairs came at the heels of an All Parties Conference that backed on Monday the ongoing military operation against militants and terrorists in Swat and Malakand. The conference aimed at gaining support of the religious scholars to speak with one voice against the militants and extremists who, in parts of NWFP, were trying to carry out their subversive activities in the garb of religion. The Prime Minister recalled that the APC gave a clear indication that the nation today stood united against terrorism and extremism and said, There were no differences and no Sindhi, Balochi, Punjabi or Pakhtoon, they all spoke with one voice for Pakistan. The Prime Minister thanked the Ulema from all over the country for making the event a success and to discuss the serious issues which threaten the country. He said, Terrorism has neither any religion nor region, as the terrorists can strike anywhere, anytime. Similarly no religion preaches violence or bloodshed. Islam is a true religion that has always abhorred violence and spoken of tolerance, understanding and brotherhood. He regretted that some of the arrested terrorists were wrongly quoting Quranic verses and Hadith to support their views that brought a bad name to the religion and the Muslims as a whole. He said it would be difficult to make the small group of obscurantist and extremists who had chosen the path of terrorism through brainwashing, to listen to something sane. However the vast majority of the people could be brought out of their influence with the help of Ulema and their preaching, Gilani added. The Prime Minister said the government believed in resolving all issues peacefully through talks. He said that despite all reservations and criticism the government went ahead with the peace deal, Nizam-e-Adl, in Swat. However, he regretted that the other party reneged on the deal and challenged the writ of the government. He said the government decided to take the extreme step, after all other means failed to ensure the writ of the government. Gilani recalled that he had always spoken of dialogue, deterrence and development and would continue to pursue it. He said, However, if the life and property of common man, parliamentarians and government functionaries are not safe and the entire system is challenged, the government is left with no other option but to resort to military operation. Gilani said hundreds of thousands of locals had turned as refugees overnight and despite difficulties, the government was trying to provide best possible facilities to the people. He said that with the help of the people of Pakistan the sufferings of the displaced people would be addressed. He said it was the responsibility of every Pakistani, whether he was a common man, a politician or a government servant, to reach out to the displaced people and help them in whatever way it was possible. Gilani said the IDPs were in fact rendering a great sacrifice for the nation as they had to leave their homes so that the security forces might eliminate those who posed a serious threat to the sovereignty of the country. He said he was proud of belonging to a family whose ancestors stood by the founder of the country Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah and cited a detailed study that was published on 14th August 2006. Gilani said, We are proud to be Pakistanis. He said, I stand for Pakistan as this country came into being through a divine arrangement and will defy all challenges it might face.

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