Forced conversion a crime in Islam, says Nawaz Sharif in Holi message
Sharif insisted that in Pakistan, everyone was free to practice his or her religion.world Updated: Mar 14, 2017 22:48 IST
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday warned against the forced conversion and destruction of worship places of other religions, describing them as “crime in Islam” as he greeted the Hindu community on Holi.
Addressing a function in Karachi to celebrate Holi, he insisted that it was not anyone’s job to decide who will go to hell or heaven, but to make Pakistan a heaven on earth. In his inclusive message to minorities, Sharif said “no one can force others to adopt a certain religion” in Pakistan.
“Islam gives importance to every human being regardless of his caste, creed or religion and I say it clearly that forcing anyone to convert his religion is a crime and it is our duty to protect the worship places of the minorities in Pakistan,” Sharif told the gathering.
Leading members of the Hindu community and minority lawmakers attended the function where the prime minister insisted that in Pakistan the fight was between terrorists and those who wanted to see the country progress.
“There is no fight in Pakistan over religion. If there is any fight it is with these terrorists and miscreants who use religion to mislead people and kill innocent people and don’t want to see this country develop or prosper,” he said.
Sharif admitted that in the past some miscreants had attempted to create divisions on the basis of religion but insisted that Pakistan was created where everyone was free to practice his or her religion.
“Pakistan didn’t come into existence to be against any religion. It is wrong to consider any religion inferior. I want to see a Pakistan where there are equal opportunities for every person of any religion to progress and make a good life for himself and his family. And there is peace and protection for everyone,” the prime minister said.
The Hindu community has constantly complained about their people in the rural areas being forced to convert to Islam and their women being kidnapped and forcibly converted.
The premier noted that since 2013 the law and order situation had improved in Karachi and other parts of Sindh and there had been a marked decrease in cases of Hindu traders and businessmen being kidnapped for ransom.
“Pakistan has the best future in Asia but for that we need to ensure every citizen is given equal opportunities and equal rights no matter what is his religion or belief.”
Sharif also announced 500 million Pakistan rupees for the welfare of the Hindu community.
First Published: Mar 14, 2017 22:35 IST