KARACHI: A convention of Ulema held under the auspices of the Pakistan Ulema Council on Sunday announced that a joint struggle against terrorism and extremism would be launched by observing a peaceful protest day on Feb 13 against the Peshawar and Shikarpur tragedies and ongoing targeted killing of Ulema, professors, doctors and workers of political and religious parties in Karachi.
Leaders of over 28 political and religious parties participated in the convention presided over by PUC central chairman Hafiz Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi.
Also read: Ulema council seeks end to ‘armed struggle’
In a joint communiqué the leaders observed that every section of society had been affected in the country by incidents of terrorism, extremism and sectarian violence.
Protest planned for 13th against Peshawar and Shikarpur tragedies
Describing the National Action Plan as a right step, they called for making a joint struggle against the menace of terrorism and staying beyond all expediencies.
According to the communiqué, the Ulema asked the government to take effective measures to protect religious scholars, professors, doctors and activists of religious and political parties and demanded that the national reconciliation council was made more effective and those involved in the tragedies of Peshawar, Shikarpur and targeted killing in Karachi were arrested at the earliest.
The convention endorsed a code of ethics of the Pakistan Ulema Council and called upon Ulema (religious scholars), Khateebs (those who deliver sermons), and prayer leaders of mosques to refrain from illegal use of loudspeakers, hate speech and writings.
“Madaris are serving the cause of Islam and Pakistan, but certain forces want to use Madaris and mosques to get their political objectives and those hurling accusations of terrorism at Madaris should present proof,” it was stated.
Addressing the convention, Hafiz Tahir Ashrafi said that Madaris were fully cooperating with the government and the armed forces for the elimination of sectarian extremism and terrorism.
He urged the government to opt for negotiation with managements of Madaris and their representative organisations for their registration. The government should take action against terrorism without any discrimination, he added.
The participants in the convention expressed their satisfaction over the measures taken by the government for resolving the issues among followers of different religions and schools of thought.
Pleading for ensuring rights to all Pakistanis, including non-Muslims, in accordance with the Constitution, the Ulema convention expressed concern over reports from the interior of Sindh about forced marriages and pointed out that Islam did not allow anyone to convert anyone to Islam forcibly, nor did it permitt forced marriages with women and girls of any other religion. If anyone was involved in forced conversions or marriages, the government should take severe action against him, they said.
The other speakers at the convention included Provincial Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon, Abdul Haseeb Khan of the Muttahida Quami Movement, Senator Dr Abdul Qayum Soomro of the Pakistan Peoples Party, Mohammed Mushtaq Kalota of the Islamic Ideology Council, Ali Akbar Gujjar of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Allama Jafar Subhani of the Shia Ulema Council, Maulana Yusuf Qasuri of Ahle Hadith, Prof Mohammed Salafi of the Ghurba-i-Ahle Hadith, Mufti Abdul Quadir of the Islami Yekjehti Council, Allama Ahsan Siddiqui of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Pakistan, Maulana Mohammed Abdullah Badakhshani of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam, Maulana Abdul Razzaq of the International Khatm-i-Nabuwat, Qari Allahdad of the Tahafuz Madaris Diniah, Maulana Tayyeb Madani of the Wifaq-ul-Masajid, Sahibzada Zahid Mehmood Qasmi of the Pakistan Ulema Council, Christian leader Bishop Joseph Koats and Hindu leader Lal Sharma, etc.
Published in Dawn, February 9th, 2015