Ahsan Iqbal asks clerics, religious leaders to condemn 'jihad fatwas' posted on social mediaPakistan
Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal on Friday called on clerics and religious leaders to denounce "the fatwas for jihad" posted by people on social media.
While addressing the National Assembly, Iqbal said, "Only the state can declare jihad; no group of people has the right to declare jihad against another group."
He added that enemies of the state want Muslims pitted against each other. "We need to prevent that from happening and I humbly request religious leaders to condemn the fatwas posted on social media."
"If we let this go on, the country will turn into a battlefield with various groups and ethnicities pitted against each other," Iqbal said.
"If we start handing out fatwas on kufr [cardinal sin] in every street and neighbourhood, and the maulvi in every street mosque starts handing out fatwas about who is kafir [an apostate] and who is Muslim, then [there will be chaos]. It is only up to God to decide who is going to heaven and hell — it is not our job," Ahsan thundered.
"Another thing people do is give out fatwas about who can be murdered — that is not for individuals to decide, only the state can decide such matters. No individual has the right to do that."
The interior minister also condemned the suicide bombing at Dargah Pir Rakhel Shah in Fatehpur, a small town in the Jhal Magsi district of Balochistan, that took place Thursday night.
He said that security forces were working towards arresting the facilitators of the blast, adding "The country is telling the sponsors of terrorism that their cowardly attempts [at creating fear] will not crush our defiant spirit."
At least 20 people lost their lives in the suicide bombing that took place at the entrance to the dargah at a time when scores of people had gathered to pay their respects.
Thursdays are usually busy in terms of attendance at shrines as the day is considered spiritually significant, but the day was also significant for the dargah as it was hosting a bi-monthly event.
In a press conference Friday evening, Iqbal said: "Finality of prophethood is such an article of faith, it is such a base and pillar of faith that even thinking of compromising on it is itself apostasy."
He then went on to repeat that only the state has the right to declare who is Muslim and who is not.
"State has monopoly over three things. It decides who is Muslim and who is not. As you know when Qadianis were declared non-Muslims, it happened through parliament."
"Secondly determining whether one is liable of punishment is also the prerogative of the state.Thirdly, in an Islamic state, the state will decide whether to declare Jihad or not," the interior minister said.
He clarified that the amendment to the Elections Act 2017 was made unanimously after political parties noted the technical change.
Iqbal also condemned social media users targeting the former prime ministers and members of the cabinet and declaring them non-Muslims.