LAHORE: Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC) chairman Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi has announced formation of a 20-member masalihati (reconciliation) council to address issues related to sectarianism and attacks on minorities. He said the council would consist of representatives of Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid, Pakistan Peoples Party, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Muttahida Qaumi Movement, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Sami, Hindus, Sikhs and Parsis. Ashrafi said the council would hold its first meeting next week. The headquarters of the council would be in Lahore. There would another office in Islamabad, he said. Ashrafi said the decision to form the council was made at a recent meeting of the PUC in Karachi. He said the council would help address sectarianism, misuse of blasphemy laws and attacks on minorities’ worship places. He said recently a temple had been burned in Hyderabad and a church destroyed in Karachi but the government had not acted. Ashrafi said he would be the council’s convener. Its chairman would be elected from among the nominated members, he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 21st, 2014.