LAHORE - Leading religious scholars of different schools of thought called on Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar at his office on Monday.

They had a detailed discussion about the situation in Indian occupied Kashmir and steps for promotion of religious harmony and unity during the holy month of Muharram.

The participants in the meeting condemned revocation of the special status for Occupied Kashmir and Indian atrocities against Kashmiri people and expressed solidarity with them. They paid tribute to Kashmiris martyred by the Indian forces in the occupied valley as well as the sacrifices rendered by the Pakistan Army. The Auqaf minister prayed for freedom of Kashmiri people from the Indian oppression. The religious scholars assured the chief minister of their full cooperation in maintaining unity, peace and harmony in the society.

Speaking on the occasion, the chief minister said that respect for religious scholars is a social norm in Pakistan and these scholars played their role in curbing terrorism and fanaticism in Pakistan. Religious scholars always rendered invaluable services and their role in security and solidarity of the country is a bright chapter of Pakistan’s history, he said.

In fact, he said, they played a worthwhile role in establishment of an Islamic welfare society free of sectarianism. “During the holy month of Muharram, religious scholars display religious tolerance and efforts of the government as well as religious scholars are proof of this,” he said. He said that anti-social elements are trying to sabotage peace in the country amid rising tension on the Pakistan-India border. “It is sanguine that terror incidents have decreased considerably due to collective efforts of the Pakistan Army, police and other law-enforcement agencies. In the prevailing situation, possibility of a terror attack cannot be ruled out. The Punjab government is giving special attention to these issues keeping in view sensitivity of the situation and consultation with religious scholars is praiseworthy. I believe that our religious scholars will not disappoint the nation like the past,” he said.

Buzdar said that hands of the Modi government are stained with the blood of innocent Kashmiris. Freedom of Kashmir is nearer, he said. He said that India has given a message of stubbornness to the international community by revoking the recognised controversial status of occupied Kashmir. “Situation on the border is tense and we have to counter cunningness of the enemy with unity. The Punjab government is actively taking all possible steps for the wellbeing of religious scholars and students of seminaries. Sehat Insaf Card Scheme is going to be introduced for them. Now, families of religious scholars and students could get free treatment from private hospitals. The PTI government will take steps for seminaries and stakeholders,” he said.

Law Minister Raja Basharat said that demands of religious scholars would be met.  Auqaf Minister Saeedul Hassan Shah said that Chief Minister Usman Buzdar has taken steps for promotion of religious harmony in Muharram and it is hoped that environment of peace and harmony will prevail.