More than 1,800 Muslim clerics in Pakistan have jointly issued a fatwa against suicide bombings in the country and labelled such attacks "un-Islamic". All the clerics or ulemas belong to various Islamic schools of thought.
Suicide bombings are one of the deadliest methods employed by extremist groups not just in Pakistan but also elsewhere in the world in order to cause heavy damage. Militant leaders often brainwash would-be suicide bombers into believing that it is a holy war.
Releasing a book which contains the latest fatwa, Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain said: "This fatwa provides a strong base for the stability of a moderate Islamic society. We can seek guidance from this fatwa for building a national narrative in order to curb extremism, in keeping with the golden principles of Islam."
Pakistan's Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif, who was also present at the ceremony, said: "With this narrative, we make it clear to the entire world that all national institutions are united against terrorism. We have rejected all forms of terrorism and extremism."
According to the fatwa, individuals who launch suicide attacks, those who motivate them to carry out attacks, as well as trainers are all considered anti-Islamic.
The fatwa also wants Pakistan, an Islamic state, to punish the perpetrators.
"Only the Islamic government has the right to declare jihad, which allows armed struggle," reads the fatwa and adds that "imposing your ideology on others on the basis of power is equivalent to spreading violence".
The fatwa is backed by a number of prominent clerics across the South Asian nation, which has been witnessing a sharp increase in armed insurgency in recent years.
The move also has the backing of the civilian and military leaderships which are often criticised for not being tough on radical organisations.