Firebrand clerics banned from entering capital during Muharram

Published: September 22, 2017
ICT administration mutes over two dozen; thousands of cops deployed. PHOTO: FILE

ICT administration mutes over two dozen; thousands of cops deployed. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad Capital Territory Administration (ICTA) on Thursday barred 11 firebrand clerics from making speeches during Muharram while banning 14 others from entering the capital for two months.

The clerics, who were muted keeping in view their past record, include former Lal Masjid khateeb Abdul Aziz, Majlis Wahdat-e-Muslimeen (MWM) Ameen Shaheedi and Nasir Abbas Jafri, as well as Khadim Hussain Rizvi and several Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) leaders.

Orders issued by the district magistrate on Thursday said that 25 clerics who have been banned were “sectarian agitators, firebrand speakers and likely to indulge in sectarian activities.”

The clerics barred from making speeches include Abdul Aziz of Lal Masjid; ASWJ General Secretary Abdul Rehman Muaviah, Sector F-8/3 Qasmia Mosque khateeb Qari Ahsanullah, and Sector G-9 Markaz Abdullah Bin Masood Mosque khateeb Abdul Razzaq Haidri.

Similarly, MWM General Secretary Jafri and MWM leader Shaheedi have also been placed under the speech ban. Two other Shia clerics included in the list are Agha Shifa Najfi of Imam Al-Sadiq Imambargah in Sector G-9, and Sheikh Mohsin Ali Najfi, who is the principal of Jamia Ahle Bait in Sector F-7/4.

Clerics from the Barelvi school of thought who have been barred from addressing crowds include Zafar Iqbal Jalali, Imtiaz Hussain Kazmi and Liaquat Rizvi.

Some other firebrand clerics who have been banned from entering the capital during Muharram include ASWJ’s Aurangzeb Farooqi as well as Tahir Ashraf; Ilyas Ghumman from Sargodha; Muhammad Saddique from Wah Cantt; and Abdul Khalique Rehmani from Kabeerwala.

Barelvi sect’s  Khadim Hussain Rizvi, Yousuf Rizvi alias Tokay Wali Sarkar; Pir Irfan Al-Mashadi and Dr Asif Ashraf Jalali have also been barred from entering the limits of ICT for two months.

Shia clerics banned from entering the capital include Syed Zakir Maqbool Hassan of Chakwal; Hafiz Tasaddaq Hussain from Lahore; Muhammad Iqbal from Chichawatni; Ghazanfar Tunsavi from Bahawalpur; and Jaffar Jatoi from Lahore.

“[These] ulemas shall not enter, reside or remain in the revenue limits of District Islamabad for a period of two months from the date of issue of this order,” the magistrate’s order read. Citing a report from the police special branch, it said the clerics banned from entering the capital were “in the habit of making inflammatory, objectionable and fiery speeches on sectarian issues”.

Guarding processions

As many as 12,000 personnel of the Islamabad Police, Pakistan Rangers and FC would perform security duties during Muharram and maintain high vigilance to thwart any untoward incident.

As many 1,500 personnel from the Rangers and 500 personnel from the Frontier Constabulary will also assist Islamabad Police in ensuring security. Islamabad SSP Sajid Kiani said that in view of the National Action Plan (NAP) and directions from IGP Islamabad Khalid Khattak, all wings of the Islamabad police have been directed to ensure complete coordination for the success of the security plan.

As per the strategy, the special branch will monitor activities of people put under the fourth schedule and members of proscribed organisations. A total of 909 religious gatherings (majalis) and 177 processions will be held. Rangers and police commandos would secure Imambargahs, while the DSP of Crime Investigation Agency would be the focal person for security arrangements of these gatherings.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 22nd, 2017.

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