A Hakeem, suspected of being an Ahmadi, was forced to pack up his business after he failed to satisfy the local authorities about his religious proclivities on Thursday evening.
However, Hakeem Sheikh Muhammad Arif claimed that although he was being forced to leave the district, his Muslim faith could not be questioned.
Ulema, belonging to different sects, had gathered at Tanawal House, residence of Qazi Abdul Haleem, district head of Majlis Tahafuze-e-Khatm-e-Nabuwat, to ponder the matter.
Hakeem Arif was also called in to testify that he was a true Muslim. The meeting was attended by religious leaders from Jamaat-e-Islami, JUI- F, Shaban Khatme Nabuwat and Muttahida Ulema Council.
According to the Ulema, two local religious leaders had visited the ‘Dawakhana Hakeem Sardar Ji Amratsar Waley’, owned by Arif. A picture of one of the associates of the Ahmadiyya faith founder was found hanging there.
When questioned, the hakeem initially asserted that the man in the picture was one of his elders. However, the same picture was later found whitewashed.
With their suspicions gaining further ground, the Ulema issued a warning to the local administration for the expulsion of Arif from the district.
The hakeem was summoned by the District Police Officer (DPO) who, according to Arif, asked him to stay out of Haripur till the matter was resolved.
Meanwhile, Arif obtained a religious decree from Jamia Ashrafia in Lahore along with two certificates carrying the signatures and seals of two Ulema in Lahore, testifying that he was a practicing Muslim and not an Ahmadi.
These were also faxed to various media outlets, including The Express Tribune. However, he was called at the gathering of Ulema again where he prepared a written statement, reaffirming his faith.
According to Arif, he also offered Maghreb prayers with the participants.
However, after the meeting, the authorities asked him to pack up his business and leave as he could not satisfy their doubts, while constantly changing statements.
They also asked the district administration to whitewash the wall-chalkings made in different parts of the district for marketing purposes of the Dawakhana.
When approached, Arif told The Express Tribune that even after proving his religious beliefs, he was made to wind up his business. He also alleged that he was framed by the owners of some private clinics as they perceived his Dawakhana to be a threat to their business.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 11th, 2011.
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