Political activism, sloganeering in Makkah, Madina strictly prohibited: Ashrafi

Asim Yasin
Thursday, Feb 29, 2024

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC) and Darul Ifta Pakistan on Wednesday jointly issued a religious decree (Fatwa) that any form of political activism, slogan chanting, banners or flag waving in the holy sites of Makkah and Madinah were strictly prohibited.

The declaration was announced in a presser by PUC Chairman and Darul Ifta Pakistan President Hafiz Muhammad Tahir Mahmood Ashrafi, along with other prominent religious leaders.

Emphasising on the sanctity of the holy sites, Ashrafi urged all pilgrims to devote their time to worship there instead of indulging in petty political activities.

Expressing concern over attempts by some individuals to display banners and flags in the holy sites, the PUC chairman stressed that such actions were unacceptable and could lead to disturbance of peace in the holy precincts.

He reiterated the importance of adhering to the directives and laws of the Saudi Arabian government for all visitors and pilgrims, emphasising that any violation of the Saudi laws would result in appropriate action by the Saudi government.

Ashrafi highlighted the efforts by PUC, International Tazeem-e-Harmain-e-Sharifain Council, and Hajj Organisers Association of Pakistan to organise educational sessions for pilgrims across the country. He said that they were making efforts to involve representatives from the Ministry of Saudi Arabia for Hajj and Umrah in these training sessions. He acknowledged the completion of the government Haj scheme and ongoing arrangements by private Haj groups in accordance with Saudi instructions. The PUC chairman appreciated the cooperation by the Saudi Ministry for Hajj and Umrah and the Saudi Embassy in Pakistan.

In response to a query, Ashrafi underscored the historical cooperation between Pakistan and Islamic countries, particularly during the tenure of the previous government of Shehbaz Sharif.

He expressed optimism that with the establishment of Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC), this cooperation would further strengthen in the future, anticipating enhanced collaboration with the Islamic Arab countries under the upcoming elected government.

He strongly condemned the harassment faced by a woman wearing a dress inscribed with Arabic script in Lahore, saying that the woman was reportedly subjected to verbal abuse and harassment by individuals who objected to the Arabic script on her attire.

However, he said the investigations revealed that the script had no sacred connotations and was merely decorative, a common feature in clothing worn in many Arab countries.

Ashrafi urged the government to take concrete steps to protect the rights and dignity of all citizens, regardless of their background, adding that the outcome of this case would undoubtedly have far-reaching implications for the country’s reputation and its efforts to promote a more inclusive and harmonious society. He also lauded Syeda Shahrbano Naqvi, Assistant Superintendent of Police, Gulberg for defusing a potentially volatile situation surrounding the woman’s attire adorned with Arabic script.