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Ban imposed on 11 clerics in Islamabad

Updated September 27, 2016

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ISLAMABAD: Vigilance has been mounted around 11 local clerics after a ban was imposed on them by the capital administration to avoid sectarian tension in the city.

Besides, the entry of 16 ulema into the capital city has been banned.

A notification issued from the office of the district magistrate, Mushtaq Ahmed, stated: “Your utterances are likely to ignite the tension already existing between various religious sects of the district which may result in loss to public life and property and may also create law and order situation.”

The notification said the local ulema cannot deliver speeches at any public gathering within the limits of the district of Islamabad for two months. Four of the clerics belong to the Deobandi school of thought, four to the Shia community and three are Barelvis.

Through another notification, the entry of 16 ulema belonging to other districts was banned in the capital for two months. The firebrand speakers were likely to indulge in sectarian activities, deliver provocative speeches and sermons aiming at creating hatred between different sects.

“In the current security environment coupled with threat perception of terrorism, it is apprehended that any breakdown of law and order due to sectarian violence may be used by terrorists as an opportunity to achieve their objectives,” the notification added. Seven of the ulema were from the Deobandi school of thought, five Shias and four Barelvis.

Published in Dawn, September 27th, 2016