Top leaders of the country’s politico-religious parties are set to launch a new apolitical front on Monday in an effort to put the genie of sectarianism back into the bottle.
The proposed Islamic Front will be launched at a daylong conference in Islamabad and will try to resolve myopic sectarian differences by harmonising Friday sermons in the country’s mosques.
It will also lobby for the implementation of the recommendations of the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII), the apex constitutional body which advises the government on the Islamic status of the country’s laws.
“Nearly 40 leaders and representatives of politico-religious parties and groups have been invited to the conference, titled Ummah Unity and Islamic Solidarity,” Qazi Hussain Ahmed, former chief of the Jamaat-e-Islami, told The Express Tribune.
He preempted the impression that the front would be a rival of the right-wing bloc, the Defence of Pakistan Council, or that it would be the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal reincarnated.
“It’ll not be a political grouping or an electoral alliance. It’s going to be an ideological platform which will work for safeguarding national interests and guide the nation in religious matters,” Ahmed said.
Asked about the rationale for a new right-wing bloc in the presence of DPC, Ahmed said that the Islamic Front would try to settle sectarian differences and bring different schools of thought close to each other.
“Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan, Karachi and some tribal regions are in the grip of sectarian violence. Religious scholars will try to extinguish the fire of sectarianism and save innocent lives,” he added.
The front will have a ‘reconciliation commission’ which will take immediate steps to resolve internal disputes. A general council, having representation from all schools of thought, will be constituted to explore the possibility of gelling together an Islamic Solidarity Front.
An ‘education commission’ will also be formed which will conduct researches and liaise with different schools of thought in order to bring them closer to each other.
A subcommittee will offer guidelines to prayer leaders for Friday sermons in light of the Holy Quran and traditions of the Prophet (pbuh), so that the clerics focus more on moral, economic and social problems of society.
“The committee will try to create conformity in sermons,” the former JI chief said. A central secretariat will be established and resources and manpower will be put at its disposal for this purpose.
“The front will organise a peaceful constitutional struggle to push the government for the implementation of CII’s recommendations,” he added.
Ahmed said that in face of an onslaught from secular forces and a Western cultural invasion, it is necessary to protect the Islamic ideology of Pakistan. And for this purpose, it’s necessary to harmonise the voices coming from the country’s mosques.
Top scholars from Deobandi, Barelvi, Ahle-Hadith and Shia schools of thought will attend the conference. They include Maulana Fazlur Rahman (JUI-F), Hafiz Muhammad Saeed (Jamaatud Dawa), Allama Sajid Ali Naqvi (Millat-e-Jafria), Maulana Samiul Haq (JUI-S), Munawar Hasan (Jamaat-e-Islami), Owais Noorani and Sahibzada Abul Khair (JUP), Alama Muhammad Amin Shaheedi (Wahdat-e-Muslimeen), Sahibzada Fazal Karim (Sunni Council), Sahibzada Sultan Ahmad Ali (Tanzimul Arifeen), Hafiz Akif Saeed (Tanzim-e-Islami), Qari Hanif Jalandhri (Wifaqul Madaris), Pir Haroon Gilani (Tehrik-e-Faizan Aulia), Mufti Muneebur Rahman (Chairman Central Moon-Sighting Committee), Maulana Abdul Malik (Ittehadul Ulema), Allama Ibtesam Elahi Zaheer (Jamiat Ahli-Hadith) and Senator Sajid Mir (Markazi Ahle Hadith).
Published in The Express Tribune, May 19th, 2012.