Apologies: Rashid’s statement about seminaries ‘misconstrued’

Published: May 19, 2015
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Pervaiz Rasheed.  PHOTO: PID/FILE

Pervaiz Rasheed. PHOTO: PID/FILE

ISLAMABAD: Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid on Monday offered an unqualified apology for calling religious seminaries “hubs of ignorance and illiteracy”, clarifying that he was only referring to a handful of seminaries that promote the culture of terrorism.

The minister’s apology came weeks after he invited the wrath of religious scholars.

On May 3, addressing a national conference organised by the Pakistan Academy of Letters in Karachi, the minister had described seminaries as “centres”.

“If my words have hurt you (Maulana Attaur Rehman of the JUI-F), I tender an apology,” Rashid said in the Senate’s Monday session. “But my statement was actually meant for those seminaries that are promoting the culture of terrorism. I am sure you would believe me and help persuade those who have issued decrees to kill me.”

Responding to a point of order raised by Rehman, Rashid started his speech with the mention of Maulana Mufti Mehmood – Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Maulana Attaur Rehman’s father – and said: “Had he been alive, he would have defended me today.”

The minister clarified that his statement was misconstrued, saying that it was about the curriculum of the educational institutions all across the country and was not aimed only at the syllabus of the seminaries.

“No one can deny that there are flaws in our education system, as we have forgotten to teach our children the lessons of peace … and today even worship places are not safe. I was talking about the education that has divided the society and forced us to offer prayers under the protection of guns. I would not need a security guard if I were to offer my prayers in India or any other non-Muslim state.”

He lamented that decrees were issued and banners demanding his hanging put all across the federal capital. “This has not only put my life in danger but also the lives of my daughters.”

Holding his ground, the minister said: “I stand by my statement against those seminaries that are promoting terrorism, and if this is a crime and you want to hang me, then I am ready for that punishment.”

To substantiate his point, he said Shaykh Abu Ammar Zahid ar-Rashidi, a scholar who had developed the curriculum of seminaries, and Jamaat-e-Islami founder Maulana Maududi had also expressed their views on the same subject.

“I am standing in your ranks to defend you. I cannot even think of talking against Azaan. I only talked about misuse of loudspeakers.”

Rashid said he had great respect for Ulema-e-Haq. “Yes, I raised voice against Ulema-e-Soo, who have destroyed peace by inciting people to resort to terrorism.”

After the minister’s clarifications, Rehman said: “I believe that the minister’s intention was misunderstood.”

 

Published in The Express Tribune, May 19th, 2015. 

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Reader Comments (8)

  • A-No.1
    May 19, 2015 - 1:55PM

    PTI walas are laughing all the way.Recommend

  • jamal
    May 19, 2015 - 2:47PM

    Thanks God the minister is pardoned by the self claimed custodians of faith. I hope he gets back his right to live after the clemency from the righteous ulema.
    btw i am quite a practicing muslim and abide by 5 pillars of islam and still totally agree with the original statement of the minister. do i have a right to live?Recommend

  • Yasir
    May 19, 2015 - 4:01PM

    @jamal
    I totally agree with your views and i never thought i would ever agree with the cartonist darbari Pervais Rasheed but this time he is right.Recommend

  • salman
    May 19, 2015 - 4:28PM

    So the minister of information, can’t even get his own statement right the first time, how can he effectively communicate statements of others! Lol

    That’s pmln merit system for you..!!

    But agree that death threats against him are wrong. Recommend

  • Tariq Amir
    May 19, 2015 - 4:33PM

    The minister has apologized. Now what about those who threatened him and even assaulted a police party? Will they also apologize or simply celebrate their another victory to make this country truly Islamic?Recommend

  • Parvez Iqbal
    May 19, 2015 - 5:01PM

    Good comment Jamal. For once this man spoke that made sense and we all know how kids, because of their parents abject poverty, end up in madrassas and are brain washed by neem-hakeem, neem-mullahs with a distorted message and turn them against their motherland for money. Wish he had stuck to his guns and wish, oh how I wish, other “politicians” and institutions had supported him instead of hounding him. The country could have been rid of takfiris had all the mainstream political parties, media and intellectuals supported him instead of trying to drag him down. But we can never expect that from these “shers”, “captaans”, “saeens”, etc. who can’t see farther than the tip of their nose.Recommend

  • Ch. Allah Daad
    May 19, 2015 - 5:11PM

    Not handful, in reality majority of Madrasahs are involved in terrorism. If all terrorists are funded by RAW, then these Madrasahs and their mentors are also funded by RAW. We must get rid of them as soon as possible.Recommend

  • raider
    May 19, 2015 - 5:43PM

    he is habitual of spewing out balderdash but who had to tell him that imran khan was not ultimate target this time but fanatics, now also retract your poppycock talks about imran khan, you were history but be thankful to Musharraf who paved way of NRO and you with your masters enjoyed aftermath of that, killing just on disparity in opinion is condemnable in all possible termsRecommend

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