Supreme Leader’s decree, a source of inspiration to overcome divisions: Pakistani Religious Minister

Islamabad, Jan 13, IRNA -- Pakistan's Minister for Religious Affairs appreciating the pivotal role of the Iranian Religious leaders in strengthening Ummah unity and combating sectarianism said the fatwa of Supreme Leader Seyyed Ali Khamenei is a source of inspiration to overcome the phenomenon of Takfir and prevent sectarianism.

Pir Noor-ul-Haq Qadri expressed these views during a meeting with the Ambassador of Iran to Pakistan Seyed Mohammad Ali Hosseini here on Wednesday.

The two sides discussed a wide range of issues related to Iran-Pakistan bilateral relations, the unity of the Islamic world, strengthening cohesion and unity among Islamic nations against the plans of enemies and the efforts of arrogant powers to create division, cooperation in religious and cultural fields. The two countries also discussed the strengthening of religious tourism.

The Iranian ambassador and minister of religious affairs during the meeting stressed the need to strengthen a common front against Islamophobia, Takfir and extremism.

Emphasizing the inseparable friendship and love of the people of Pakistan for the people of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Pakistan’s Minister of Religious Affairs said there is no need to provide reasons for a strong bond between two brotherly nations because Iran and Pakistan always stand together in any situation.

He mentioned the Islamic Revolution as a promise of new life for Muslim nations saying after the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, the enemies of the two countries tried to spoil the relations between Iran and Pakistan however they failed.

Pir Noor-ul-Haq Qadri said the Islamic Republic of Iran for four decades has been facing sanctions and conspiracies of the arrogant powers, Pakistan also experienced similar challenges, but the two friendly and stable countries resisted these problems.

He added Iran and Pakistan have never witnessed a dispute between each other, and if there is a misunderstanding, the two countries, like a brother and a member of a family, have tried to resolve it immediately and constructively.

The Pakistani Minister of Religious Affairs called the sectarianism and incitement to sectarianism a more serious problem than the US-Zionist joint conspiracies and stressed the need to take concerted steps to counter the conspiracy of the enemies of unity and to seek effective solutions, especially from Iran and Pakistan.

He said Pakistan has always strived to promote brotherhood, friendship among Muslim nations, and Prime Minister Imran Khan, with the same attitude, tried to help ease tensions in the region and mediate between Iran and Saudi Arabia, whose main goal is to prevent the interests of enemies.

Pir Noor-ul-Haq Qadri referred to the deplorable situation in Islamic countries in the Middle East, the war in Yemen, the situation in Syria, Libya and Iraq, and said these cases have caused a blow to the Islamic world from within.

He spoke of some efforts to ignite sectarianism in Pakistan and to provoke bloody clashes between Shiites and Sunnis in the country and the immediate response of the government and the religious community to neutralize it.

**Praise for the role of Iranian Religious scholars in the unity of Muslims

Recalling his meeting with late Ayatollah Taskhiri in Lahore, the Minister of Religious Affairs said the late Ayatollah termed Takfiris as mercenaries of colonialism.

“We appreciate the historic fatwa of Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran, that blasphemy is forbidden, and his fatwa has always been featured in important programs of the Ministry of Religious Affairs and has even been broadcast in three languages: Urdu, Arabic and English,” he noted.

In response to a controversial film the Lady of Heaven, the Pakistani Minister of Religious Affairs said making this film is an action against unity. We have asked the Prime Minister of Pakistan to raise this issue with the British government through diplomatic channels.

He added Pakistan calls on the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to convene forum with representatives from all members of the organization to specifically monitor measures such as the production and screening of anti-Islamic films.

**The efforts of the enemies of Iran and Pakistan are doomed to fail

Appreciating the firm stance of Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan against Islamophobia, especially his outspoken opposition to the conspiracy to compromise with the Zionist regime, the ambassador said Islam is the main axis of friendship and interaction between the two nations and two brotherly countries of Iran and Pakistan.

Seyed Mohammad Ali Hosseini added strong commonalities between Iran and Pakistan have always prevented any attempt to create misunderstanding between the two countries.

He considered the strong bond and interaction between the two nations and the officials of Iran and Pakistan as a factor of unity and said the attempt of the common enemies of both the countries to create a misunderstanding has always failed.

"Over the past months, we have witnessed some attempts in Pakistan to fan the flames of sectarianism, but the Pakistani government and the minister himself have defeated the enemies of Islam, and failed this conspiracy," Hosseini said.

He described the release of a film called "the Lady of Heaven" as the latest conspiracy by foreign powers to stir up sectarian strife and destroy the atmosphere of peace and brotherhood among Muslims.

He said the Islamic Republic of Iran considers any action that causes division as a betrayal to Holy Prophet of Islam, Hazrat Mohammad Mustafa (PBUH).

The Iranian ambassador to Pakistan, referring to the ominous phenomenon of Takfir and the important position of the fatwa of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution stating that Takfir is forbidden by Sharia, said about five years ago, he explicitly banned this film and even forbade watching it.

He added according to the fatwa of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, Takfir and serving the camp of infidelity is polytheism and betrayal to Islam.

Hosseini said: "35 years ago on January 13 Ayatollah Khamenei paid a historic visit to Pakistan and in his speech in Lahore, he delivered a message of unity from Imam Khomeini, the great founder of the Islamic Revolution.”

In the message he stressed upon the unity of Ummah against the conspiracies of the enemies of Islam.

Appreciating the efforts of the Pakistani government, especially the Prime Minister, to de-escalate tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia, he said the Islamic Republic and all its officials appreciated and supported Imran Khan's mediation efforts and we hope the Saudi government will give a constructive and positive response to the proposal of the Prime Minister of Pakistan.

Hosseini announced the readiness of Iranian embassy to cooperate with the Ministry of Religious Affairs to hold Quranic events and invite the distinguished readers of the two countries.

He noted that the embassy in cooperation with the National Arts Council of Pakistan has been hosting cultural activities and competitions on Islamic unity.

At the end of the meeting, the Pakistani Minister of Religious Affairs emphasized the use of the strong potential of the two neighboring countries in the fields of culture, Quran and public awareness about unity and combating division.

Pir Noor-ul-Haq Qadri added the draft of the new pilgrim policy of the ministry is under consideration of the cabinet and is expected to be approved next week which will be submitted to the relevant institutions for implementation.

He said the main purpose of the new policy is to facilitate the pilgrimage of Pakistanis to Iran and Iraq, and ‘we look forward to Iran's cooperation and assistance in serving the pilgrims and facilitating their travel, especially by land.’

272**1424

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