Paigham-i-Pakistan narrative

AT a ceremony that truly reflected national consensus and aspirations, President Mamnoon Hussain launched counter-terrorism narrative called ‘Paigham-i-Pakistan’ sending highly positive signals not only to people of Pakistan but to the international community as well. The document envisages Fatwa (religious edict/decree) against militancy duly endorsed by religious scholars of all schools of thought. Under the auspices of International Islamic University, the document has been gifted to the nation after consultations amongst different segments of the society including religious scholars, parliamentarians, intellectuals and policy-makers.
Thanks to internal, external factors and reasons, terrorism and extremism have become Pakistan’s number one problem and challenge threatening the very future and existence of the country. So far the focus has been on use of force to tackle the menace and sacrifices by thousands of Pakistanis and personnel of law-enforcing agencies have helped restore some semblance of normalcy but there is universal consensus that terrorism and extremism is a mindset and it requires a long-drawn fight on ideological front to effectively counter the menace. In this backdrop, one must appreciate religious scholars representing different schools of thought to have arrived at a consensus document that assumes as significance as the Constitution of Pakistan itself. The contents of Fatwa, if respected with the same spirit not only by different sects but also state institutions, can make a big difference for the country. It rightly lays emphasis on protection and preservation of Islamic provisions of the Constitution but categorically declares that taking up arms to get these provisions implemented is nothing but mischief on the earth, Fasad fil Arz. Going a step further, it declares those involved in activities against the government in the name of implementation of Shariah are in fact committing high treason against the State as per Islamic injunctions and should be dealt with accordingly. Another important point that has satisfactorily been addressed by framers of the document is their unflinching faith in democracy and this assumes significance in the backdrop of frequent setbacks to the democratic process with the collusion of some political and religious parties and groups. The document has the potential to address not only the challenge of terrorism on a sustainable basis but also counter propaganda against Islam. The genuine question: Implementation in letter and in spirit. Constitution of Pakistan and 22-point National Action Plan against Terrorism are already there but despite consensus and verbal commitments to them, they are assigned to the dustbin whenever it suits anyone.

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