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Khattak’s presence at Difa-i-Pakistan Council rally stirs controversy

Khattak’s presence at Difa-i-Pakistan Council rally stirs controversy

PESHAWAR: After an electoral alliance between Maulana Samiul Haq’s Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-S) and the Pakistan Tehreek Insaf (PTI), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak went a step further to appease religious groups, including some hardcore elements, by attending a public meeting of the Difa-i-Pakistan Council (DPC) here on Sunday.

The council’s ‘Tahaffuz Baitul Muqaddas Conference’ was also addressed by Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, who carries a bounty of $10 million announced by the United States for his suspected involvement in terrorist activities, via telephone.

The PTI has not joined the DPC — a conglomerate of 40 political and sectarian groups including JuD ­— but it recently entered into an electoral alliance with the JUI-S.

Hafiz Saeed addresses the moot via phone; council to hold multiparty conferences against US threats

JuD’s senior leader Prof Hafiz Abdur Rehman Makki was present on the stage in the absence of Hafiz Saeed who, according to the organisers, was stopped by the Punjab government from attending the conference. The participants chanted slogans against the Punjab government.

The participation of Chief Minister Khattak in the conference stirred controversy in the political circles.

Awami National Party’s information secretary Zahid Khan said that Mr Khattak’s participation in the moot showed that the PTI had formally joined the DPC. “Imran Khan was strong critic of the DPC, but his party’s chief minister shared the stage with leaders of extremist groups,” he added.

When contacted, KP Edu­cation Minister Muhammad Atif Khan said: “I can’t comment on it, but it’s clear that the PTI is not a member of the DPC.”

The KP government’s spokesman, Shah Farman, was not available for his comment on the matter.

In his address at the conference, Chief Minister Khattak said his government had focused on the social sector, including education and health, during its four-year tenure and also continued its efforts to serve Islam.

He said the KP government had made a chapter relating to the finality of Prophethood of Muhammad (peace be upon him) compulsory in text books as well as recitation and translation of the Holy Quran till grade 12 to produce good Muslims.

Mr Khattak said the KP government had provided the solar system to mosques and fixed honorarium for prominent prayer leaders. He criticised liberal forces for interfering in religious matters.

Addressing the conference, Maulana Samiul Haq, who is also chairman of the DPC, said US President Donald Trump had declared “war against Pakistan” by issuing threatening statements. He warned that the United States could take action against Pakistan and called for national unity. He said the government would be responsible if America attacked Pakistan.

The Maulana said Pakistan had lost over 5,000 military officers and soldiers in the so-called war on terror and suffered socially and economically. He said that transportation of equipment and goods meant for Nato forces in Afghanistan had badly damaged the country’s road infrastructure.

“America should not consider Pakistan a piece of cake. Its forces had suffered defeat in Afghanistan and Pakistan will be the worst graveyard for Americans,” warned Samiul Haq, who is referred to as “Father of Taliban”.

He said Jihad was compulsory for every Muslim in the current situation, adding that the DPC was formed to counter Christian and Jewish lobbies. He said Hafiz Saeed had been put under house arrest because he was a staunch supporter of the people of India-held Kashmir.

In his telephonic address, Hafiz Saeed said the US, India and their allies were trying to create problems for Pakistan, adding that the Americans, after their defeat in Afghanistan, could never succeed against Pakistan. He said India would never become a supper power.

The conference called upon the Muslim rulers to avoid dealing in the US dollar and introduce an “Islamic currency”. It was decided that the DPC would launch a countrywide movement to foil nefarious designs of Christian and Jewish lobbies against Pakistan.

The council will hold multiparty conferences in Faisalabad on Jan 12 and in Lahore on Jan 13 against the US threats to Pakistan.

Maulana Fazal Rehman Khalil, Sheikh Rashid Ahmad and other leaders of the DPC also addressed the conference.

Published in Dawn, January 8th, 2018

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