Speakers at a two-day conference on Tuesday stressed the need to reconstruct an inclusive Islamic society in Pakistan with an aim to empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all irrespective of their age, sex, race, ethnicity, origin, religion and economic status. The conference titled Reconstruction of an Inclusive Islamic Society in Pakistan in the Light Of Paigham-e-Pakistan, jointly organised by the Islamic Research Institute (IRI), International Islamic University Islamabad and Department of Islamic Studies and Bahauddin Zakariya University (BZU), was attended by a large number of faculty members, ulema and representatives of the civil society. Energy Minister Dr Akhtar Malik was the chief guest on the occasion. BZU Vice Chancellor Dr Masood Akhtar chaired the session while Dean Faculty of Islamic Studies and Languages Dr Shafqatullah, IRI Director General Dr Ziaul Haq, noted religious scholar Dr Tahir Khakwani and Dr Saeedur Rehman addressed on the occasion. Speaking on the occasion, BZU VC Dr Masood Akhtar called for promoting the true message of humanity given in the Charter of Madina for salvage of the society caught up in the clash of interests. “Islam advocates granting due rights to the rightful, giving relief to the oppressed and treating the marginalized generously irrespective of their religion, caste, colour or creed,” he said, adding that an inclusive approach was vital to negate the narratives of extremism, hate and terrorism and promote peace, harmony and respect for others in the society. He said the Paigham-e-Pakistan narrative was key to countering extremism and a way forward for the country to march on the path of peace and prosperity. In his address, BZU Faculty of Islamic Studies and Languages Dean Dr Shafqatullah argued that reasoning and debate was the right way to convince others as enforcement of beliefs through force or coercion had very serious consequences for peace and tranquility in a society. He said founding fathers of Pakistan had dreamt of a society in which all citizens enjoyed equal rights. He said Islam preaches peace and harmony and gives very clear message of the respect of humanity. “Saints and Sufis have always propagated love and brotherhood there is no place for terrorism, extremism, intolerance and narrow mindedness in Islam,” he asserted. Dr Zia ul Haq called for promoting a culture of accommodation, tolerance and harmony across all kinds of divides. He emphasised that university faculty members must inculcate values of tolerance, tranquility and pluralism among youth to promote inclusivity and peaceful coexistence. “We need to build bridges of cooperation, positive interaction, dialogue and mutual sharing rather than barriers and walls that divide us and cause mutual distrust and conflict,” he said. Dr Tahir Khakwani laid emphasis on the inclusive citizenship as all citizens, whether Muslims or non-Muslims, enjoy equal rights in a true Islamic society. “Declaring anyone infidel by an individual is against the teachings of Islam. It is very dangerous approach and the Muslim Ummah should play its role to counter such trends,” he said, adding that punishing anyone for any wrongdoings is the purview of the state and the judiciary. “Individuals must not take law into hand for punishing the sinners or wrongdoers,” he added. The basic objective of the activity was to sensitize the students, faculty members and civil society about the horrific dangers and risks associated with the wave of terrorism and extremism and train them vis-à-vis ways and methods to safeguard the community from these threats. Published in Daily Times, November 28th 2018.