By Syed Irfan Raza , DAWN
Monday, 18 May, 2009
A large number of Ulema and Mashaikh attending the National Ulema and Mashaikh Convention organised by Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan in Convention Centre, Islamabad.—APP
ISLAMABAD: Leading Ulema of the country declared on Sunday that suicide attacks and beheading of people were ‘un-Islamic’ acts and said that militants in Swat and Fata were pursuing the agenda of Pakistan’s enemies.
The edict was issued at a convention of Ulema and Mashaikh from different parts of the country. This is the first time that prominent Ulema and religious scholars, mostly belonging to the Sunni school of thought, have denounced the Taliban and their inhuman acts in such a categorical manner.
A unanimous resolution adopted at the convention said: ‘The assassination of Ulema should be stopped and sacred places, including shrines, should be cleared of extremists. Suicide attacks and beheading is Haram’.
The convention also condemned the killing of innocent people in the US drone attacks and urged the government to raise the issue at the United Nations.
The Ulema said the US drone strikes were challenging the country’s sovereignty. ‘The government must take effective measures to force the US to halt these strikes.’
They supported the military operation in Swat and other parts of Malakand and declared it a ‘war for Pakistan’s integrity and sovereignty’. The elements engaged in creating a state within the state must be crushed, they added.
The convention also adopted a resolution backing the all-parties conference convened by the prime minister. Maulana Sahibzada Fazal Karim, a leader of Jamiat Ulema-i-Pakistan, said in his address that those trying to harm the integrity of Pakistan should be severely dealt with.
He and other Ulema stressed the need for forging unity against militancy. Some of them expressed readiness to form their own Lashkar against the Taliban if security forces needed their help to eradicate terrorists from the troubled areas.
‘We played our role during the independence movement and we will protect the country and foil every design of the enemy,’ Sahibzada Karim said, adding that the operation in Swat was the need of the hour because some sections of society were forcing people to accept their brand of Islam.
‘These elements kill those who opposed them,’ he said. The JUP leader also vowed to enforce Sharia in the country. He said a number of agencies were working against the integrity of Pakistan and were trying to destabilise its economy.
‘These agencies were pouring millions of dollars and large quantities of weapons into areas along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border,’ he said.
Ruet-i-Hilal Committee chairman Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman criticised the establishment for patronising the militants for almost three decades. ‘We are now harvesting the crop we sowed three decades ago.’
He said the practice to surrender before the gun should end and called for a decisive offensive against the militants. Mufti Muneeb said those who were fighting in the name of Sharia must first abide by Islamic laws.
He said the Taliban were even slaughtering children. ‘This is contrary to the teachings of Islam which calls for protecting people who are not involved in battle,’ he said.
‘If the Taliban have any respect for Islamic values, they should give up bloodshed because it was harming national integrity,’ the Mufti said.
The Ulema also called on the Organisation of Islamic Conference to come forward to help the displaced people of Swat and other parts of Malakand. Dr Sarfaraz Naeemi called upon Ulema to forge unity in their ranks against the conspiracies of the Taliban, Sufi Mohammad and enemies of the country.
He urged the government to reject the US agenda of controlling Madaris. Sarwat Ejaz Qadri said the Taliban had tarnished the image of Islam across the world. ‘All Muslims should stand up against them.’
Haji Hanif Tayyab said security forces were fighting the militants to save the country. He called for trying Sufi Mohammad for mutiny.