Ashrafi condemns Swat incident, calls for speedy trial of similar cases

LAHORE   -   Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC) Chairman Hafiz Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi has called for joint efforts to eliminate extremism from the country and to educate society. Addressing a press conference at Lahore Press Club here on Sunday, he strongly condemned the tragic incident of Swat, emphasising that neither Islamic laws nor the Constitution and laws of Pakistan permit the killing or immolating any human being. Ashrafi expressed his deep regret over the increasing frequency of such incidents, highlighting that the measures taken against the perpetrators have been insufficient. It is responsibility of the state and judiciary to administer punishment to an accused of blasphemy acts or desecration of the holy book, he said. He also condemned the ongoing trend of individuals taking the law into their own hands, acting as judge, jury, and executioner, as wholly unacceptable. He stressed that cases of blasphemy, religious disrespect, and holy books’ desecration should be resolved within three months, calling on the chief justice to prioritise these cases over political and other matters. In a passionate call for unity and mutual cooperation, he urged local religious and political leaders and authorities to have an effective collaboration and liaison to usher in positive changes in society. He underlined the principles of Islam that laid full emphasis on social peace, cohesion and security.  The PUC chairman said that during Hajj 2024, some pilgrims violated the Saudi regulations and guidelines, leading to unfortunate fatalities. The Saudi government advised pilgrims to avoid going outside during peak heat hours. He said this year, 168,000 Pakistanis performed Hajj, with 90,000 under private arrangements and the rest through government system. He mentioned that the number of deaths among Pakistani pilgrims was lower compared to the previous year and also less than those from other countries.

He pointed out that most of the deceased were those performing Hajj without proper authorisation. Regarding complaints from pilgrims, Pakistani officials are present in Saudi Arabia to address them. Ashrafi assured that any grievances would be resolved and that the facts about the challenges faced in the government system would soon be made public.

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