Special Aide to Prime Minister on Interreligious Harmony and the Middle East Hafiz Muhammad Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi on Wednesday demanded early release of incarcerated Dr Aafia Siddique, a US citizen of Pakistan origin.
On July 30, Dr Aafia was assaulted by a fellow inmate at FMC Carswell in the United States. Pakistan on August 21 lodged a formal complaint with the authorities to investigate the assault, the Foreign Office said.
“We lodged a formal complaint with the relevant US authorities to thoroughly investigate the matter and ensure the safety and well-being of Dr Aafia Siddiqui,” the FO spokesperson said in response to media queries.
“We learnt of an assault on Dr Aafia Siddiqui by a fellow inmate at FMC Carswell on July 30, 2021,” he said and added that the embassy in Washington DC, as well as the Consulate General in Houston, immediately took up the matter with the US authorities concerned.
Addressing Ulema Convention, Maulana Ashrafi said that there was no cogent reason to put Dr Aafia behind bars following the end of the Afghan war.
He said that Dr Aafia should be repatriated to Pakistan, adding that the government is also making efforts to provide solace to her. The convention titled ‘Pakistan Stability Ulema and Mashaykh Convention’ was organised by the Pakistan Ulema Council.
Leading religious scholars of different schools of thought asked world powers to cooperate with the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan for restoring peace and stability in the war-ravaged country.
The convention had issued a joint declaration in which the scholars emphasised that Afghanistan must not be left alone in the current situation.
“The peace in Afghanistan would strengthen regional countries besides enhancing trade, economy, Ashrafi added.
The scholars lauded the government’s Afghan policy and urged the world leaders to not leave Afghanistan alone in the current situation.
They assured the government and security agencies their optimum support in thwarting Indian conspiracies being hatched to fan sectarian hatred in the country.
They said that after failure in Afghanistan, India is still conspiring to ignite sectarian violence to create chaos and anarchy in Pakistan. “To thwart such conspiracies, Ulema, religious and political organisations would support the government,” they said, adding that the Pakistan Army and security agencies are frustrating Indian nefarious designs.
“India should be prevented from spreading instability in the region through the connivance of international terrorist organisations,” the scholars said.
The Ulema vowed thwarting all such conspiracies with joint efforts as peace in Afghanistan was imperative for a stable and peaceful Pakistan. By practising norms of Islam, and unity, anti-state elements could be reined in, they added.
The Ulema welcomed the Taliban’s declaration of a general amnesty and their resolve to establish a strong and stable national government.
They lauded the government’s evacuation efforts of foreigners from Afghanistan and hoped that the country would continue playing a similar role in promoting peace in the region and especially strengthening the Pak-Afghan relations.
The joint declaration also asked Saudi Arabia to summon the session of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) for devising a Muslim Ummah’s joint strategy on the Afghan issue.
They urged fellow Ulema to forge unity among their ranks for achieving lasting peace in the region. The Ulema-Mashaykh appealed to the scholars, preachers and Zakirs to fully abide by the ‘Paigham-e-Pakistan’ code of conduct.
The convention condemned persistent attempts to attack Pakistan’s border checkpoints from the Afghan side for the last one week and suicide bombing at the Afghan airport.
The Ulema condemned incidents of abuse and harassment against women and gave their consent to the proposal of Prime Minister Imran Khan to form a committee for a permanent solution.
The Ulema also stated that the trial of 10 cases including Noor-e-Muqaddam and Minar-e-Pakistan should be expedited and decisions to give public punishments should be made.
“All pornography and nudity websites and social media sources fanning obscenity should be closed,” the declaration stated. Islam commanded women to wear ‘hijab’ and men to keep their eyes down, so all aspects should be taken into consideration, they added.
The Ulema appealed to clerics and preachers from all over the country to observe, upcoming Friday as “Unity of Ummah Day’.
The Ulema-Mashaykh will hold conventions, conferences and seminars from September 1 to 10 and pay homage to the Martyrs of Pakistan and demonstrate resolve to carry out efforts for ‘Tahafuz-e-khatam-e-Nabowat’ Protection of the Belief in the Finality of Prophethood (PBUH).
The convention strongly condemned the Houthi rebels’ continued attacks on Saudi Arabia, saying that the defence of the Harmain Al-Sharifain is the defence of Pakistan. “For Ulema, the Harmain Al-Sharifain is the Red Line. Therefore, the world leaders, including United Nations and OIC, should take immediate notice of this matter and stop the attacks on Saudi Arabia.”
Leading Ulema-Mashaykh present on this occasion included Maulana Muhammad Khan Leghari, Allama Abdul Wahab Rupari, Maulana Asad Zakaria Qasmi, Maulana Syed Ziaullah Shah Bukhari, Allama Abdul Haq Mujahid , Mufti Muhammad Zia and others.