ISLAMABAD, Mar 15 (APP): President Asif Ali Zardari Monday called for focussing attention on teachings of peace, love and tolerance of the Sufi saints so as to counter extremism and the militant mindset.
Addressing an International Conference on Sufism and Peace arranged by Pakistan Academy of Letters here at the Aiwan-e-Sadr, President Zardari said Sufism has a crucial role to play in mankind?s struggle for a peaceful world.
Around 80 delegates from 30 countries around the world and 250 from Pakistan are participating in the conference.
The President said that the most important issue of the present era was peace – peace in the country as well as peace outside the borders.
President Zardari said extremism and militancy were a mindset, created to defeat a rival ideology in the region and the extremists were encouraged to use religion as the basis of their ideology.
He said the entire free world was responsible for its creation decades ago. But, unfortunately no attention was paid to this aspect once the objectives were fulfilled and the militants were abandoned to their fate.
?It is these very militants who have come to haunt all of us,? the President said.
The President said unlike the teachings of any religion, it has continued to be used as a weapons of war.
He recalled how his wife, Shaheed Benazir Bhutto once complained to Senior George Bush about the terrorists in the region.
He said the issue of extremism and terrorism can be addressed with the contribution of the great sufis who, through their words and knowledge, convert their hatred towards constructive tasks.
The President said his late wife always knew that an assassins bullet awaited her and said, ?I am not scared of death, for death is what I await.? He said he too in his capacity was trying to play a role to help the humanity.
?I am nothing more than a speck in the universe and am trying to do in my bit of that speck as it was my defined role,? he said and added that he would continue to contribute towards a better world.
He said the entire philosophy of Sufism revolves around purification of the souls and creating an environment where humanity was not threatened by few individuals trying to impose their narrow versions of religion upon a vast majority.
?No religion whether Islam or Christianity preaches extremism and militancy,? the President said.
President Zardari also quoted Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto who once said that ?money was lavishly given to the clerical parties. They were asked to set up schools to train robots in the use of arms and in the use of hatred. The declared purpose was to fight Jihad. The real purpose was to create a constituency, a cadre and the manpower to seize power by violent means should the dictatorship come unhinged.?
He described terrorists as enemies of Pakistan and Islam and of peace in the region.
?Pakistan will never bow before terror and will never allow the extremists to advance their murderous agenda within the country and the region,? he added.
President Zardari said Islam does not teach any of its followers to adopt violent means for realization of objectives. ?It preaches peace, tolerance and harmony and most importantly love – love for each other and for humanity,? he said.
The President Pakistan was home of great Sufi saints who dedicated their lives to promotion of peace and harmony and the vast majority of people believe in peace and universal brotherhood as enshrined in the teaching of Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) and Islam, the President said.
The President urged the gathering to play its part in making the world a better place to live.
?May we all live in peace throughout the world. The world needs the touch and care and the deep thought of sufism.?
He said the conference shows Pakistan?s commitment to the cause of peace and the deep bond of its people to the forces of love, harmony and brotherhood, which is the soul message of sufis.
The President commended the services of Chairman Pakistan Academy of Letters Fakhar Zaman for arranging this conference attended by a large number of eminent scholars, erudite writers and intellectuals along with foreign delegates.
He recalled that Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto had described Zaman as ?a writer par excellence?.
Chairman PAL Fakhar Zaman in his keynote address highlighted the importance of men of letters using their pens in establishing peace in the world.
He stressed for initiating a social and intellectual movement as need of the hour to remove the discrimination of race, sex and creed at global level.
He hoped the conference would help develop a culture of peace based on justice, dignity and human rights, and call for producing the independent and unbiased work devoid of cliches.
Peter Curman, a Swedish writer urged upon the writers to play role as ambassadors of peace and make efforts for developing mutual harmony amongst the people across the world.
Prof Dr Hugh van Skyhawk spoke on divine love and message of peace, the role of poetry and courage among the sufis to rid the world of the ills that afflict it.
Advisor to Prime Minister on Education Sardar Assef Ahmed Ali mentioned the role of sufi saints of the sub-continent that brought a sea change in the minds and lives of people with the divine message of ?Tasawwaf? based on love.
He termed religious extremism and terrorism in contrast with the teachings of Islam, which only promotes brotherhood and affinity.