ISLAMABAD: Amid preparations for a protest march led by the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam, over 70 ulema (religious leaders mainly belonging to the Barelvi school of thought) on Thursday called on Prime Minister Imran Khan and offered to stage Aman (peace) March.

A participant of the meeting, who did not want to be named, told Dawn that after the meeting ulema rejected Azadi March’s call by JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and termed it a bid to create instability in the country.

“We can also hold Aman March on same dates when opposition plans to stage the Azadi March,” a senior religious leader was quoted as saying.

Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri and Punjab’s Auqaf Minister Pir Saeedul Hassan also attended the meeting.

Some prominent ulema who met the prime minister were Pir Shamsuddin Jami of Golra Sharif, Pir Nazimuddin Jami, Pir Sultan Ahmed Ali of Sultan Bahu, Pir Azmat Sultan Qadri of Rawalpindi and Pir Sultanul Arifeen.

The ulema fully supported the prime minister’s stand against the Azadi March.

“Prime Minister Sahib, we all are with you and each of us has hundreds of thousands of followers,” a participant of the meeting quoted one of the senior ulema as saying.

According to JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, ‘Azadi March’ will kick off on Oct 27 from Sindh and it would reach the federal capital on Oct 31.

The ulema congratulated the prime minister for what they called representing the entire Muslim Ummah in his address to the United Nations’ General Assembly on Sept 27.

Speaking on the occasion, Prime Minister Imran Khan stressed the need for highlighting teachings of Sufi saints to protect youth from influence of external traditions.

Published in Dawn, October 25th, 2019

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