Local clerics in Kohistan have handed down their “final edict” against non-governmental organisations (NGOs) operating in the district, terming their activities “haram” and demanding that the local administration revoke their NOCs immediately.
In a meeting at Jamia Masjid Kamila, over 150 clerics from across the remote district vowed that they will not offer funeral prayers (Namaz-e-Janaza) for the people who continue to be beneficiaries of any NGO. They also formed a 34-member committee for the purpose of ensuring that the NGOs pack up and leave the area as soon as possible. The committee will meet on July 14 to decide on a future line of action if the NGOs are not driven out from the district.
The clerics had earlier given the NGOs until June 29 to pack up.
Former Member National Assembly from Kohistan, Maulana Abdul Haleem, blamed NGO workers for launching a campaign against Kohistani customs and Islamic codes. He said that despite repeated warnings they did not stop ‘hatching conspiracies’ against the ulema and their customs.
Former members of provincial assembly Maulana Dildar and Maulana Abdul Khanan of Kundiya valley, Maulana Fakhrul Islam, and Maulana Noor Nabi Shah also spoke at the meeting.
According to official sources, the district administration has been persuading the clerics to allow NGOs to work by following their local customs. Earlier, Kohistan District Coordination Officer Aqal Badshah held a meeting with the clerics in this regard but they refused to rescind their decision.
There are over 500 local youths working with NGOs in the district and a majority feel that their jobs are now at risk, said a local social activist requesting anonymity.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 2nd, 2012.
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