GILGIT: Shia and Sunni clerics offered Maghrib prayers together in Gilgit Town on Thursday evening to promote sectarian harmony.
Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Secretary General Liaqat Baloch visited the office of the Shia Ulema Council (SUC), a party headed by renowned Shia cleric Allama Sajid Naqvi, along with other party leaders and local elders as part of a goodwill gesture.
“It was time to offer Maghrib prayers when Baloch reached the Shia Ulema Council office located on Khazana Road with his delegation,” said Nazakat Ali, a local who also joined in the prayers. “The Shia clerics then invited Liaqat Baloch to lead the prayers, which he accepted.”
Shia clerics who offered prayers together included SUC President Mirza Ali, Syed Azhar, Sheikh Shahadat and MPA Didar Ali. Sunni clerics included JI leaders Abdur Rasheed Turabi, Maulana Sami and others.
Liaqat Baloch is currently on a visit to Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) to strengthen his party’s position in the region and is being accompanied by Abdur Rasheed Turabi and other senior leaders of JI. Earlier, Baloch gave a speech on religious harmony which was attended by dozens of Shias in Kashrote – a Sunni dominated area.
The gesture comes at a time when G-B faces multiple security threats from militants. A recent letter from the interior ministry revealed at least three militants from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa have infiltrated G-B and are planning to attack Muharram processions in the capital town.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 9th,2013.
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