United in religion, divided in politics
ISLAMABAD, Nov 11: All major religio-political parties and groups in the country Sunday agreed to present a united front on religious issues, irrespective of the politics they practice.
Ulema belonging to different schools of thought and leaders of the mainstream Islamic parties through a declaration at a two-day conference vowed to resist any move to change the blasphemy laws, threatening to launch a full-fledged protest movement if any effort was made in this direction.
The religious leaders had gathered to attend the Ittehad Ummat conference organised by Milli Yakjehti Council.
They all agreed that a person who committed blasphemy deserved the capital punishment in accordance with the laws of the country and Shariah.
“We will reject any amendment to the country’s blasphemy laws. We oppose any such move through unity,” said the seven-point declaration read out by Hafiz Hussain Ahmed of the JUI-F on the opening day of the two-day conference.
Prominent among those who attended the event were JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Jamaat-i-Islami chief Syed Munawar Hassan, former JI Ameer Qazi Hussain Ahmed, head of Jamiat Ulema-i-Pakistan (JUP) Sahibzada Abul Khair Zubair, Jamaatud Dawa chief Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, Sajid Ali Naqvi of the Shia Ulema Council, Mufti Munibur Rehman, Asadullah Bhutto and Pir Haroon Gilani.
Through the declaration, the participants of the conference have agreed that they will refrain from any writing or speech that could cause injury to the sentiments of the people belonging to a particular sect.
“Mischievous books, pamphlets, and writings would not be published and distributed,” read the declaration.
The participants of the conference also condemned terrorism and killings taking place in the country, in the name of religion and announced to disassociate themselves from all such activities.
The declaration also calls for immediate withdrawal of the US and Nato forces from Afghanistan which, it says, a must for world peace.
The declaration calls for unity among Muslims belonging to all the sects to counter the efforts being made to target Muslims throughout the world.
Though, the religious leaders expressed their desire for unity and agreed to carry out a movement for the enforcement of Islamic system in the country from a joint platform, the heads of the two main religious and political parties – the JUI-F and the JI – in their speeches indirectly criticised and blamed each other’s policies for the failure of the religious parties to revive the six-party Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA).
JI Ameer Syed Munawer Hassan without naming the MMA said the alliances that were made overnight could not be durable. He also said that those trying to revive the alliance would also have to tell the people as to why the alliance had become non-functional.
“If you are part of an alliance, then the members will ask questions and you will have to respond,” the JI chief said in his apparent criticism of Maulana Fazlur Rehman of the JUI-F, who had last month announced that the MMA was being revived without the JI.
Responding to the JI chief’s remarks, Maulana Fazlur Rehman said that those who wanted to play some role in the country did not boycott the elections.
The JI was the clear target of the Maulana’s speech since it was because of the JI’s decision to boycott the 2008 general elections that the MMA became dysfunctional.