The government’s decision to constitute a Masjid Board to bar hate speeches has been met by criticism from opposition leaders, who have termed it”wastage of time and resources.”
“I say this on the basis of my years-long experience in the region,” said Janbaz Khan of Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz while talking to The Express Tribune on Wednesday. “Do you think a board will have the power to arrest those involved in spearheading sectarian violence?” he questioned.
The board, represented by 20 members (10 each from Shia and Sunni sects), will be responsible for implementing the code of conduct to reopen two mosques sealed in the aftermath of sectarian violence in the region.
The code, prepared by a parliamentary peace committee, binds prayer leaders of both central mosques from maligning each other’s beliefs or use harsh language against their rival sect’s revered personalities.
“Such boards tend to prove least effective while their members remain on government’s payroll, which results in wastage of resources,” he opined.
Khan suggested that a powerful jirga comprising influential people should be set up to deal with the issue as the jirga can muster support of clerics and prayer leaders.
The jirga, he said, has proved to be a successful experiment during the Chilas killings, where it handed over all the accused to the government.
The opposition leader said that a jirga should also be constituted in Gilgit to curb violence in the city, which has weighed heavily on its meagre resources.
The government has intensified its efforts to curb sectarianism in the region following bouts of sectarian violence in the region that left 20 people were dead. Several peace rallies and gatherings of mixed sects have also been organised to promote harmony and brotherhood.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 10th, 2012.
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