Pakistani religious scholars pass fatwa against terrorism

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Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain described the fatwa as hugely significant during the release ceremony in Islamabad on Tuesday. (Photo/Press Information Department, Ministry of Information, Pakistan)
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Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain described the fatwa as hugely significant during the release ceremony in Islamabad on Tuesday. (Photo/Press Information Department, Ministry of Information, Pakistan)
Updated 06 February 2018
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Pakistani religious scholars pass fatwa against terrorism

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s prominent religious scholars have delivered a fatwa in which they unanimously declared all forms of terrorism and suicide attacks un-Islamic.
Their fatwa (decree) was summed up in a document called “Paigham-e-Pakistan” — or “Message from Pakistan” — which was released at a ceremony they attended at the Presidency in the presence of the leading stalwarts of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) party.
Expressing his confidence in the decree, President Mamnoon Hussain told the audience that the document would be pivotal in countering sectarianism, terrorism, and extremism. He said that the consensus among religious scholars to issue the decree was a monumental step toward progress, adding it would not only present a positive image of the country but also highlight Islam as a religion of peace.
A copy of the 49-page document obtained by Arab News is signed by 1,829 clerics from all Islamic schools of thought in the country. Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif urged the citizens to accept the decree and support state institutions in their war against terrorism.
Asif said that the government would not allow Pakistani soil to be used for militant training and recruitment or launching attacks against other countries.
“The fatwa, which condemns terrorism and extremism, has also been endorsed by Pakistan’s Ministries of Interior, Foreign Affairs, Education and Religious Affairs,” said President House spokesperson Farooq Adil, adding that it “is also our comprehensive state narrative against terrorism.”
Adil told Arab News that the decree document was drafted on the request of the state. The task was given to the International Islamic University, which not only has religious experts but also communicates with other religious scholars, sects, and civil society. After numerous meetings and deliberations over a span of several months, the decree was unanimously drafted and agreed.
Sharing its salient features, Adil said the fatwa was based on the Constitution of Pakistan, which “is an Islamic constitution that is built upon the Qur’an and the Sunnah.”
Some of the major points of the decree state that the “Constitutions of Pakistan is an Islamic and Democratic document and it is a social contract between all (federating) units of Pakistan, which enjoys the support of (Islamic) scholars of all schools of thought.”
The document adds that “in accordance with the requirements of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic, there is nothing in Pakistan which is contrary to the Qur’an and the Sunnah and no individual or group has the right to start any sort of armed struggle against the state of Pakistan and its institutions in the presence of this constitution.”
The document also condemns the groups who use force in the name of implementing Shariah, saying their acts are repugnant to the basic teachings of Islam. “Moreover, revolt against the Constitution of Pakistan and imposing one’s own ideology on others with force is contrary to the injunctions of Shariah and is thus riot on earth. This is also a national crime according to the constitution and laws of the Islamic Republic. In order to put an end to such destructive activities, comprehensive administrative, educational, ideological and defense measures will be taken.”
Paigham-e-Pakistan also maintains that “there is a need for modern establishment of Pakistani society in line with the requirements of the Constitution of Pakistan, which eradicates the tendencies of hate, narrow-mindedness and intolerance.”
“We have seen many fatwas in the past, but this is a comprehensive one and has covered all issues in an effective manner,” said Qari Mohammed Hanif Jalandhri, secretary-general of the largest federation of Islamic seminaries, Wafaqul Madaris Al-Arabia, while speaking with Arab News.
The decree may not be enough to stop terrorists acting as “soldiers of Islam,” but it would prevent misinterpretation of the religion, said Dr. Yaseen Zafar of the Salafi Madrasa Board.
“We wanted to send out a clear message that all religious scholars are against extremism and terrorism. Hopefully, this will also deoxygenate militant networks and gradually make them irrelevant,” Zafar told Arab News.
Former Chairman of the Madrasa Education Board of Pakistan Dr. Amir Tauseen agreed that it was important to issue a fatwa with consensus. However, he added that what was more important was its implementation.


Taliban’s Ghazni assault sparks new Pak-Afghan tensions

Updated 18 August 2018
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Taliban’s Ghazni assault sparks new Pak-Afghan tensions

  • Pakistan’s Foreign Office says Afghanistan has not shared any evidence to support its recent allegations against Pakistan
  • Imran Khan’s idea of a soft border between Pakistan and Afghanistan may have suffered a big setback in the wake of the Ghazni attack

PESHAWAR: In the backdrop of the Taliban’s brazen assault on the southern city of Ghazni in Afghanistan, President Ashraf Ghani alleged that the bodies of the perpetrators had arrived in Pakistan, though Islamabad maintained that Kabul had not officially shared any information or evidence in this regard.
Soon after that, the Afghan president said in a fiery speech to a jirga in Ghazni: “I have a message for Pakistan. Dead bodies (of the Taliban) have arrived in (Pakistan). Peace cannot be forcefully imposed on Afghanistan. Where did they (Taliban) come from and why are they being treated in (Pakistani) hospitals?”
But Pakistan strongly rejected reports claiming that some Taliban fighters involved in the Ghazni attack had been offered medical treatment in its hospitals.
In the absence of any official communication through regular channels established bilaterally, such reports cannot be given any credence, said Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Saturday.
Haq Nawaz, a senior Peshawar-based security analyst, told Arab News that the newly elected Prime Minister Imran Khan faced a string of daunting challenges, such as economic revival, political stability, tackling corruption, and improving relations with his country’s immediate neighbors.
However, he added that recent developments in Afghanistan, where the Taliban have stepped up violent activities, will probably constitute a much bigger predicament for the new political administration.
He recalled that Khan had mentioned in his victory speech that he wanted a European Union-style soft border with Afghanistan, claiming that the idea had seemingly received a setback after the Ghazni attack.
“The latest bout of allegations will have a negative impact on the process of reviving good relations between the two neighboring countries,” Nawaz noted.
Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa also expressed “deep concern” over the recent surge in violence in Afghanistan and lamented in a statement released by the military’s media wing the loss of precious lives.
Bajwa reiterated that Pakistan was not supporting terrorist activities inside Afghanistan. He added that the allegation about the movement of injured or dead terrorists from Ghazni to Pakistan was incorrect.
However, the army chief noted that there were scores of Pakistanis working in Afghanistan, and that some of them periodically fell victim to acts of terrorism along with their Afghan brothers inside Afghanistan. “Terming such victims as terrorists is unfortunate,” he maintained.
Yet, the Afghan president sought an explanation from Pakistan’s civilian and military leadership on the Ghazni attack.
“Imran Khan, you are the son of Pashtun parents. Investigate this and give me an answer. General Bajwa, you have repeatedly given me assurances over phone calls that special attention would be given to the issue of peace in Afghanistan once elections took place in Pakistan. Now give me an answer,” Ghani said while addressing a group of tribal elders attending the jirga.
Bajwa said that different factions of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan hiding in their sanctuaries in Afghanistan after assuming Afghan identities, were transported to Pakistan for medical help after receiving injuries.
Nawaz said the Afghan government should share relevant evidence with Pakistan in this case, arguing that using the media or social media to deal with such serious and sensitive developments can worsen the situation.
He said it was not just a statement or allegation from an ordinary official since the claim was made by a head of state, adding that both countries should settle such teething issues through dialogue and diplomatic channels.
However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted in its statement: “Such reports can only be viewed as malicious propaganda to vitiate the existing cooperation between the two countries.”