Poverty, lack of education cause extremism: Zafar

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Minister for Information, Broadcasting, National History and Literary Heritage Barrister Syed Ali Zafar Tuesday said growing poverty, lack of education and galloping population were causes of extremism and religious intolerance, and everybody should come together to resolve the issues.
Speaking here at a consultative session on “Minority Rights, Freedom of Religion or Belief; Faith for Rights”, he said the Quaid-e-Azam had personified the vision of Pakistan and quoted him as saying: “You are free; you are free to go to your temples. You are free to go to your mosques or to any other places of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion, caste or creed— that has nothing to do with the business of the state.” He said extremism of any kind was a curse and religious intolerance that led to violence was its worst form. However, it was an issue not only in Pakistan but a worldwide phenomenon also.
In many cases, the reasons for extremism and violence against minorities were personal vendetta or political and territorial ones, he noted.
The minister said extremism should not be associated with religion. “No religion that I have studied talks about committing violence against other religions. No religion teaches intolerance and every religion teaches love.”
He said the people of Pakistan were peace loving just like others elsewhere in the world. “In Pakistan, we just don’t shake hands, we embrace one another so that the spirit of love is transmitted.” The minister said the government, which was open and transparent, would want a powerful National Commission for Human Rights, which should be given funds and made self-sufficient. If the commission were not given funds it would be subservient to the government, he emphasized.—APP

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