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May 20, 2015

Pervaiz sticks to his remarks on seminaries

National

May 20, 2015

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Pervaiz Rashid Monday stood by his remarks he gave in Karachi, saying what he said was directed at those who had spread hatred, divided the nation and indulged in terrorism, and also targeted the JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman.
The minister was responding to a point of public importance raised by the JUI-F Senator Attaur Rehman, who claimed that the clerics and seminary students across Pakistan were unhappy with him because of what he called his objectionable remarks, being intolerable to them.
“I used these words for those, with whom you are also unhappy and I never talked about seminaries but gave a general statement about the educational syllabi that had forgotten giving the lesson of love, peace, brotherhood and friendliness,” the minister said.
He claimed that had his father Maulana Mufti Mehmood been alive, he would have defended him (over his remarks).The minister said today because of this kind of education, worship places of neither Muslims nor of non-Muslims were safe in Pakistan.
“I had talked about this system of education that pits a Muslim against the other Muslim and today I offer prayers under the shadow of guns, which I don’t need while praying in India, England or any other country or even if I do so in Jewish localities,” he noted.
He asked who were those who paved the way for this kind of environment in Pakistan that one felt as though a suicide jacket could explode anytime in the rows of those offering prayers and kill even children.
“I had made reference to that kind of education. If this is the punishment for such words that banners have been hung in Islamabad, calling me Kafir, Murtad and liable to be hanged, I am ready for that,” he remarked, amid chants of shame, shame by the opposition senators.
Senator Rashid was summoned to the House by the Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani after Attaur Rehman tried to raise the issue Friday. But the chair urged

him to wait till Monday so that the senator should also be present.
The minister clarified that his remarks on the use of loudspeaker five times a day were about its blatant misuse, which had spread hatred and divided Pakistan.
Rashid said he was from Rawalpindi and had seen the Muslims celebrating Eid Miladun Nabi (SAW) and observing the month of Muharram together. But he noted that in the same city, both Masajid and imambargahs were attacked and asked who was responsible for this.
“If speaking against this trend is a crime, I have committed this crime. I am here, file a case against me and get me sentenced but you hold court on roads and prosecute and award sentence on your own,” he contended.
He regretted that his life and that of his daughters had been put at risk by misinterpreting what he said on May 3 and pointed out that on May 04, 05, 06 and 07, there was no reaction at all. The minister had to discontinue in view of the call for prayers (Azaan).
And, after that, Rashid said during Azaan, there was a change in his approach and he would shorten his statement. He referred to some prominent scholars, including late Abul Aala Maudoodi about their views about seminaries.
The minister announced to forgive those, who had displayed banners and leveled charges against him and tried to create misunderstanding and those, who had put his children’s lives in danger.
Rashid said he whole-heartedly respected the religious scholars, who preached love and amity and could not agree with those who divided Pakistan, promoted terrorism and killings.After Attaur Rehman, Professor Sajid Mir also wanted to speak on the issue but was not allowed by the chair, as this could lead to a debate, prompting other senators to also express their views.
“I am glad that Prof. Sajid Mir tried to support Maulana Attaur Rehman, as otherwise, they may not enter each other’s seminary. But today they are united and it is unity through which we can combat those who are after our lives,” the minister said.
Earlier, Attaur Rehman said the minister’s remarks against seminaries and Azaan had deeply hurt hundreds of thousands of clerics and students.He defended the seminaries, saying that these NGOs safeguarded faith and trained Muslim children without any reward or fee.
He told the minister that hurling insulting remarks at clerics, seminaries or other symbols of Islam would not be tolerated in future. He said the state had failed to cater for the needs of a big population that was diverted to seminary students for education and food.
The senator asked the minister if they ever talked about holding the NGOs accountable but always opted for defensive position with regard to seminaries. He asserted there would be no compromise on the question of seminaries and asked for changing attitude towards them.After hearing the minister, Attaur Rehman said had he clarified this during his speech in Karachi, it would have been a lot better.

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