ISLAMABAD: Selfies with model and social media sensation Qandeel Baloch cost a cleric dearly.
Mufit Abdul Qavi lost his membership of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf after his ‘controversial’ selfies with Qandeel went viral on the social media. Not only that, the mufti’s membership of the Ruet-e-Hilal Committee (RHC) and the National Ulema Mushaikh Council was also suspended.
“The PTI has suspended the basic membership of Mufti Abdul Qavi,” the party’s media cell said in a statement without elaborating.
The mufti, who joined Imran Khan’s party in 2013, was elected president of the religious affairs wing of PTI’s Punjab chapter. He was instrumental in arranging meetings of religious scholars with the party leadership.
Sources, however, told The Express Tribune that the mufti was not an active member of the party. He had visited D-Chowk a couple of times during the 126-day-long dharna of the party in August 2014.
In a video shared on social media thousands of times, Mufti Qavi assures the Facebook celebrity that he would arrange her meeting with PTI Chairman Imran Khan after Ramazan.
Earlier in the day, Minister for Religious Affairs Sardar Yousaf suspended Mufti Qavi’s membership of the RHC calling the selfies with Qandeel ‘controversial’, the religious affairs ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.
“Mufti Qavi will not be allowed to attend meetings of the RHC and National Ulema Mushaikh Council until further orders,” the spokesman said.
Mufti Qavi is also mohtamim of the Darul Uloom Qadirabad seminary in Multan.
The action against Mufti Qavi came a day after JUI-F Senator Hafiz Hamdullah took a jibe at Mufti Qavi during a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Religious Affairs over the video. “Now, Qandeel Baloch can also become a part of the RHC,” he said. “If you recommend, then we can do that,” retorted the minister in a lighter vein.
Of the video and selfies, Mufti Qavi said Qandeel had requested for a meeting with him. “She wanted to meet Imran Khan,” he said. “She also promised that he would fast during the entire month of Ramazan.”
“Qandeel Baloch requested me for a meeting,” he added. “This was the reason I called her to a hotel for the meeting.” Qavi told reporters.
PTI spokesman Naeemul Haque denied Mufti Qavi’s claim. “The head of PTI’s ulema wing is Mufti Saeed – not Mufti Qavi. The PTI dissociates itself completely from Mufti Qavi’s behaviour,” he wrote on Twitter.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 23rd, 2016.