ISLAMABAD  -  Pakistan on Monday strongly condemned the deliberate and wanton attack on the holy sites including the recent attack on Syeda Bibi Zainab’s (RA) shrine in Damascus.

Foreign office Spokesman Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry in a statement said the trend of desecration of the holy sites has hurt the sentiments of Muslims in Pakistan as indeed the world over. Such violations, which also fan sectarian strife, are most reprehensible. He said, “Pakistan calls upon the government of Syria to ensure safety and security of all holy shrines and buildings in Syria.”

The spokesman said Pakistan also called upon all parties to the conflict in Syria to observe international humanitarian law and help protect the common heritage of mankind respecting the sanctity of the holy buildings and places of worship.

The Charge d’ Affairs of Syria in Islamabad has been called at the Foreign Office to convey the concerns of Pakistan government and people on desecration of the holy shrine of Syeda Bibi Zainab (RA).

Separately, President Asif Ali Zardari has also condemned the attack on the shrine of Syeda Hazrat Zainab Bibi (RA) in Damascus as the “most hurtful and despicable” and said only lowest and the meanest could perpetrate this act. The presidential spokesperson quoted the President as saying that desecrating the holy shrine and places of worship not only hurt the sentiments of the Muslims in Pakistan and the world over but also threatened to widen the sectarian divide. Fanning sectarianism and further widening the sectarian divide is the last thing the Muslims can afford, the President said. The President said it was incumbent upon all parties in the conflict in Syria to ensure that the sanctity of holy shrines and places of worship was maintained and these were not desecrated.

MWL flays attack

Staff reporter adds from Lahore: Minhaj-ul-Quran Women League organised a peaceful demonstration, protesting against the attack on the shrine of Syeda Zainab (RA).

Hundred of women gathered out the Press Club here Monday were carrying placards and banners. They were shouting slogans against the nefarious attack on the shrine. The protesters demanded the United Nations, OIC and Syrian government to take immediate notice of the attack and bring the perpetrators of such heinous crimes to book.

Addressing on the occasion, MWL central secretary Noshaba Zia condemned the attack in the strongest words. She likened the heart-rending act to a great tragedy of human history, saying that feelings of millions of Muslims were injured throughout the world. She said those who planned and executed such a crime did not even deserve to be called human beings as doing so was humiliation of humanity.

Noshaba asked the Muslim community to respond to such challenges peacefully both at individual and collective levels and play their role to fulfil legal, moral and religious requirements against such nefarious acts which violated not only religious injunctions but also international law.

She said the worst form and manifestation of terrorism was that even religious symbols and personages were not safe from the hands of evil forces. Such an act as an attack on the shrine of Syeda Zainab (RA) was a blot on the face of humanity.

Paying a glowing tribute to the granddaughter of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), Noshaba Zia said that a dignified, courageous and an honourable personality like Hazrat Zainab (RA) was a metaphor of pride for the entire humankind who stood her ground before the might of Yazid and kept the banner of human freedom afloat. She further said that those who undertook attack on the shrine of such a revered personality had hung the humanity’s head in shame.

MWL Lahore president Ms. Irshad Iqbal said the people of Pakistan are demanding the Syrian government to apprehend all the elements involved in this attack and fulfil all religious, moral and legal requirements, ensuring no such thing could occurred again. Sajida Sadiq and Gulshan Irshad also spoke to the demonstration.