25 ulemas to be banned in Pakistan at Muharram

Islamabad, Oct 9 (IANS) Pakistan’s Islamabad police have proposed that the entry of 25 ulemas into the city during Muharram should be banned by the local administration. Seven more ulemas may also be banned from delivering speeches during the month.

Out of 25 ulemas (Muslim scholars who are recognised as having specialist knowledge of Islamic sacred law and theology), 10 were from the Sunni sect and five from the Shia sect, Dawn online quoted sources as saying.

Most of them come from Punjab and frequently visit the capital during Muharram. Officials said many are invited by local scholarly bodies from their respective sects.

Many of the ulemas and their hosts were previously warned not to deliver heated sermons, but they did not comply.

Seven local ulemas from both sects may also be barred from delivering sermons during Muharram. The ban would also prevent them from speaking publicly about religion or sects.

Officials said senior functionaries in the police in the capital and in Rawalpindi and administration met the Rawalpindi corps commander in order to review security arrangements for Islamabad, Rawalpindi and Attock.

The proposal to ban certain ulemas was also made at this meeting. Another meeting was also scheduled to finalise security plans.

Several ulemas from both sects, who are residents of Islamabad and are considered a threat to law and order, would also be under close scrutiny.

Officials said over 80 such ulemas have been identified in the city.

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