“I have never used religion for political gain,” said Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) vice chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Sunday.
He was talking to newsmen on the closing ceremony of the 775th death anniversary of Bahauddin Zakariya.
“Sufism has given me strength to do politics,” he said. “I advocate peace and tolerance in the face of opposition. Sufism has always stopped militant politics in the country.”
He said his brother had been encouraged to defame him by “some political parties.”
“I have never dragged devotees of sufi saints in political matters,” he said. “Those who vote for me do it of their free will.”
He said his son would become the custodian of shrines after him. “No one can take that away from him.”
Meanwhile, his brother Mureed Hussain led a protest against the PTI.
He said Shah Mehmood was using the names of sufi saints for political gains. He said Qureshi had encouraged members of the Ghausia Jamaat to join the PTI.
Hussain said Qureshi was using donations to the tune of Rs7 million per month for the PTI.
He said he was not being transparent with the money donated by followers of sufi saints. Hussain said, “I made him the successor to the seat of sufi saints by binding a turban on his head. Today I take it back. He has proved that he is not worthy of the honour.”
“Ghausia Jamaat have been our followers for many decades. They have been wrongly pushed in politics,” he added.
He said Shah Mehmood had defamed the sufi order by putting his political ambition before his responsibilities.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 1st, 2014.