SOPs execution must to avert untoward incident in Muharram-ul-Haram: Ashrafi

ISLAMABAD, Jul 21 (APP): Prime Minister’s Special Representative for Interfaith Harmony and Middle East Hafiz Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi on Thursday said the execution of standard operating procedures (SOPs), devised in the light of ‘Message of Pakistan’ was must to avert any untoward incident in Muharram-ul-Haram.

In an exclusive talk with APP, Ashrafi, who is also the chairman of Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC) informed that the following SOPs had been designed after a consensus with the leaderships of all schools of thought.

He said the PUC had set up contact centers in Islamabad and Lahore for further liaison with Ulema and Mashaykh across the country and making all out efforts to implement the SOPs at every respective forum in letter and spirit. The PUC along with Muttahida Ulema Board would visit important cities for the purpose, he added.

Shedding light on the SOPs key points, he said sectarian hatred, violence and practice of imposing one’s ideology on others through force and coercion were contrary to the rules of Shariah while fanning anarchy and chaos was a national crime.

Ashrafi said religious scholars, Ulema, Mashaykh and Muftis of all sects had completely rejected the negative thinking leading to extremism.

He said it was moral and religious obligation to observe the sanctity of all Prophets, companions and wives of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him), and Ahl al-Bayt. Anyone who found involved in blasphemous practice would be condemned and taken to task as per law, he added.

He said the religious scholars had expressed their disassociation from those elements that used foul or abusive language against the faithful and adherents of various sects.

He said it was the duty of Ulema and Mashaykh to educate people about the distinction between right and wrong while declaring someone as an infidel (Takfir) was the jurisdiction of the state, which would be determined in accordance with the Shariah.

Ashrafi said non-Muslims were equally citizens of the state having full right to worship and practice their religious rituals in their worship places on the occasion of their festivals. The rights given to non-Muslims by the Constitution could not be usurped by any individual, group, party and organization, he added.

He said it was not permissible to kill non-Muslims living peacefully in the Islamic state, rather it was a sin. It is the responsibility of the state to punish those who violated laws of the land.

He said the soil of Pakistan was the sacred trust of Allah Almighty, so it should not be used for any kind of terrorist and extremist activities adding supporting any proscribed organization was illegal and against the Shariah as well.

Paying tributes to the armed forces for their precious sacrifices rendered in the line of duty, he said any terrorist activity against the government or national security agencies fell under the category of sedition, which was completely forbidden in Islam.

He said it was discretion of the Islamic state to initiate the aspect of Jihad.