Pakistan: Shia leader wants Muharram events open for all sects

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SHAFAQNA – The Shia Ulema Council (SUC) on Thursday demanded the government ease security protocols and facilitate the local population, including those belonging to the Sunni school of thought, to participate in Muharram activities.

“As the terror threats have reduced with the collective sacrifices and efforts of the nation, including the civilian set-up and the military, the local authorities should now start facilitating the mourners,” said Allama Arif Wahidi, the SUC secretary general.

Speaking at a press conference at the National Press Club, he said sacrifices rendered by Imam Hussain for the cause of Islam were the key unifying factor among the Muslims.

“The most serious conspiracy against the country was hatched in Muharram a few years ago, but now the army has revealed that Taleemul Quran incident occurred due to the nefarious plan of a ‘qari’ to push Rawalpindi into chaos.”

He also referred to the testimonials of the terrorists presented by the army that they attacked Taleemul Quran seminary in Rawalpindi on Ashura in 2013 wearing black clothes.

“Now when the real culprits (fasadi) have been caught, it is the responsibility of the authorities to contain such elements.”

The SUC leader said it was also the responsibility of religious segments, including clerics, to follow the footsteps of elders such as Allama Sajid Naqvi, the late Qazi Hussain Ahmed, Shah Ahmed Noorani and Professor Sajid Mir and maintain sectarian harmony in society.

Despite enormous foreign funding and wicked designs by their local players, there was no sect-based discord in Pakistan mainly due to the efforts of these religious elders, he said.

He said Shias as well as Sunnis, both Barelvis and Deobandis, had been observing Muharram with sanctity as per their beliefs, but the activities of a few terrorists disturbed the harmony during the last 20-30 years.

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