LAHORE - Opposing Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F)-led Azadi March, religious parties from Barelvi school of thought have blamed the opposition of trying to divert attention from the issues of national importance.

Addressing separate press conferences here on Tuesday, Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) Chairman Sahibzada Hamid Raza and Tehreek Labaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLYR) chief Dr Ashraf Asif Jalali appealed to all democratic forces to stay away from chaotic politics as the country was facing serious internal and external challenges.

Jalali accused the JUI-F chief of following the agenda of the country’s enemy, saying the march would actually divert public attention from the genocide of Kashmiri Muslims. Flanked by JUP-Niazi leader Pir Masoom Hussain Naqvi, Pir Jalil Sharaqpuri, Pir Khalid Sultan, Razaul Mustafa Naqshbandi and leaders of 25 parties and groups from Barelvi school of thought, Hamid Raza said the march just before the holy month of Rabiul Awwal was part of the foreign agenda to create instability in the country.

Term it attempt to divert attention from national issues

All leaders made it clear that students of Sunni seminaries would stay away from Azadi March or any such activity that could endanger the national security and unity. They welcomed Prime Minister Imran Khan’s announcement to remove the reservations of religious seminaries’ heads over the government’s proposed reforms. They announced to observe countrywide Kashmir Solidarity Day on October 25 and hold Solidarity of Pakistan Convention at the Convention Center Islamabad on Oct 26 to oppose Azadi March and express solidarity with the Kashmiri Muslims. They said that rallies, demonstrations and seminars would be organised across the country. They also read out the names of 25 religious parties on the occasion, which declared they had nothing to do with the Azadi March.

Addressing a press conference at Lahore Press Club, Dr Ashraf Asif Jalali said both Maulana Fazlur Rehman and the government were an issue for the country. “We cannot expect from Imran Khan to build Pakistan on the model of state of Medina. Similarly, it is futile to expect from Maulana to work for the enforcement of Islamic system in the country. Both are befooling the masses,” he said. He accused the government of looking for excuses to put the struggle of Kashmiris on the backburner. He also accused the JUI-F chief of giving an excuse to PM Imran to desert the innocent people of Indian occupied Kashmir. He also criticized Maulana Fazlur Rehman for doing nothing for Kashmir during his two-decade long tenure as Chairman of Parliament’s Kashmir Committee.

Now the JUI-F chief, he said, was using seminaries card to bail out the government from discharging its moral duty of liberating besieged Kashmiris. He demanded the government to immediately declare Jihad for liberating Kashmir from the Indian occupation, and send army to the occupied territory in order to protect the Muslim daughters from Indian goons, before it was too late.

He demanded the PM to give up stubbornness on revising seminaries’ syllabus, adding that seminaries had already been imparting contemporary college and university education to the students. He announced to hold “Kashmir Freedom Conference” and “Afkar-e-Raza seminar near Minar-e-Pakistan on October 26.