Naushad Shamimul Haq, Arab News
Published — Monday 7 June 2004
Last Update 7 June 2004 3:00 am
JEDDAH, 7 June 2004 — Visiting Pakistani Minister for Religious Affairs Ejazul Haq met with Muhammad Al-Subaiyyel, one of the imams of the Grand Mosque in Makkah, yesterday and discussed challenges facing the Ummah.
The Pakistani minister briefed Al-Subaiyyel on the efforts Islamabad was making to unite Muslims and referred to the proposal by President Pervez Musharraf for the reorganization and restructuring of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC).
He said there was a need to propagate Islam accurately and dispel misconceptions about it.
He said Musharraf had suggested the restructuring of the OIC to make it a vibrant forum for meeting the challenges Muslims face today.
The imam also said Muslims should project the true message of Islam, which advocates peace and moderation.
Al-Subaiyyel expressed regret that “some misguided people” were trying to destabilize Pakistan, a staunchly Muslim country.
He said Saudi Arabia greatly valued its relationship with Pakistan.
Al-Subaiyyel expressed grief about terrorist acts in Karachi and prayed for the progress of Pakistan.
The Pakistani minister condemned the recent terrorist attacks in Riyadh and Alkhobar. He invited the imam to visit Pakistan.
The meeting was attended by Pakistani Ambassador Abdul Aziz Mirza, Director General of Haj Shahid Khan and Haj Director Baharullah Khan Hazarvi.
Upon his arrival in Jeddah on Saturday, the Pakistani minister said bomb blasts and violence in Karachi were the result of army operations in South Waziristan.
The Pakistani Army had launched an operation in South Waziristan in order to flush out foreigners with suspected links to the Al-Qaeda organization.
The minister said Al-Qaeda operatives were trying to create problems in Karachi but added the situation had improved after religious scholars from all sides of the spectrum had asked their followers to help contain terrorism.
“The Karachi problem is not an ethnic or a sectarian one. It is caused by disgruntled Al-Qaeda operatives who want to cause terror,” said Ejaz.
He said there was harmony among Shiites and Sunnis and neither group wanted violence.
Sunni worshippers from a nearby mosque had helped injured Shiite worshippers in removing them to hospital after the blast in Hyderi Mosque in Karachi.
He said the terrorists who carried out the mosque blasts belonged to the same group that carried out suicide attacks against President Musharraf. Ejaz warned political parties against exploiting the situation in Karachi.
The minister also attended a meeting of Pakistan Haj Directorate officials.