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December 28, 2016

Pakistan Ulema Council to contest 2018 general elections


December 28, 2016

Council registered as political party with election commission, says Tahir Ashrafi

The Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC) has planned to contest the general elections in 2018 as a political party, claiming that the next government would not be formed without their support.

PUC Chairman Maulana Tahir Ashrafi told a news conference at the Karachi Press Club on Tuesday that the council had already got itself registered as a political party with the Election Commission of Pakistan.

Ashrafi was accompanied by General Secretary Sahibzada Zahid Mehmood Qasmi and Sindh President Asad Zakariya.

The PUC chief said the controversial Sindh Criminal Law (Protection of Minorities) Bill 2015 was against the Holy Quran, the Sunnah, the Constitution of Pakistan and Pakistan’s ideology.

On November 24 the Sindh Assembly had unanimously passed the bill into law in a bid to prevent and criminalise forced religious conversions and subsequent forced marriages.

Since then religious parties in Karachi have been trying to pressurise the provincial administration into repealing the law.

Ashrafi demanded that the Pakistan People’s Party-led government in Sindh withdraw the bill immediately. He asked why such a “poorly drafted” bill was passed in a hurry. He challenged the government to prove a single case of forced conversion in the province.

Meanwhile, regarding the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, the PUC chairman advised the federal government to give priority and incentives to the underdeveloped areas in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa instead of “benefitting Punjab alone”.

He also announced that a Paigham-e-Islam Conference would be held on January 1 in Islamabad under the aegis of the PUC.

Leaders from different Muslim countries and 5,000 Ulema and scholars from all over Pakistan are expected to participate in the event.

He stressed that unity was the sole and ultimate solution to address the challenges faced by the Muslim Ummah, adding that the conference was a positive initiative in the right direction in this connection.

He said the elements trying to link extremism to Islam were not serving the religion, adding that with the guidance of Quran and Sunnah, the challenges faced by the Muslim world could be redressed. He also said Ulema were willing to play their due role in this regard.

Ashrafi vowed that the PUC would continue their endeavours for promotion of peace in Pakistan and all across the Muslim world.

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