ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC) and Dar-ul-Ifta Pakistan on Wednesday jointly issued a religious decree (Fatwa) strictly prohibiting political activism, sloganeering, and hoisting of banners or flags, in any form, at the holy sites of Makkah and Madina. The Fatwa was announced by PUC Chairman and Dar-ul-Ifta Pakistan President Hafiz Muhammad Tahir Mahmood Ashrafi along with prominent religious leaders, during a press conference. Emphasizing the sanctity of holy sites, Ashrafi urged the intending Hajj pilgrims to spend their time there in worshiping and praying to the Almighty instead of indulging in petty political activities. Expressing concern over attempts by some individuals to display banners and flags at the holy sites, he stressed that such actions were unacceptable and could lead to disturbance of peace in the holy precincts. He reiterated that adhering to the directives and laws of the Saudi Arabian government was imperative for all visitors and pilgrims, as otherwise they might land into trouble. Ashrafi highlighted efforts by PUC, International Tazeem-e-Harmain-e-Sharifain Council, and Hajj Organizers Association of Pakistan to organize educational sessions for pilgrims across the country. They were also striving to involve representatives from the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah in the training sessions, he added. He appreciated that all the arrangements made under the Government Hajj Scheme were in accordance with the Saudi instructions, while the private Hajj groups were also following suit. The cooperation of the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, and the Saudi Embassy in Pakistan was also appreciable, he added. To a query, Ashrafi underscored the historical cooperation between Pakistan and Islamic countries, particularly during the last government of Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif. He expressed optimism that with the establishment of Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC), the cooperation would be strengthened further in the future, anticipating enhanced collaboration with Arab countries under the upcoming elected government. He strongly condemned the harassment faced by a woman wearing a Kurta inscribed with Arabic script in Lahore. He said the woman was reportedly subjected to verbal abuse and harassment by individuals who objected to the Arabic script on her attire. However, he said investigations revealed that the script had no sacred connotations and was merely decorative, a common feature in clothing worn in many Arabic-speaking countries. Ashrafi urged the government to take concrete steps to protect the rights and dignity of all citizens, regardless of their background as the outcome of the above case would have far-reaching implications for the country’s reputation and its efforts to promote a more inclusive and harmonious society. He also praised Syeda Shahrbano Naqvi, Assistant Superintendent of Police, Gulberg for defusing a potentially volatile situation surrounding the woman’s attire adorned with the Arabic script.



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