Pakistani Ulema extend support for construction of temple

Islamabad: Criticising those who were making the issue controversial, the Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC) has announced support for the construction of a temple in Islamabad.

Pakistan’s daily Dawn has quoted Hafiz Mohammad Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi, the chairman of PUC as saying: “We denounce the controversy over construction of the temple. This [making it controversial] by extremist clerics is not correct. PUC will call a meeting and will also present its point of view to the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII).”

Defining the rights of Muslims and non-Muslims living in the country, Hafiz Ashrafi said as per the Constitution of Pakistan all non-Muslims have the right to own place of worship and lead a life as per their faith and tradition. He claimed that those opposing the construction of the temple have an incorrect interpretation of Shariah.

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Hafiz Ashrafi who also chairs Muthahida Ulema Board, Punjab, clarified that since the Hindus living in Pakistan were not residents of any conquered land, the interpretation presented by certain clerics about the rights of non-Muslims in Shariah is not applicable to Hindus and members of other religious minorities living in the Pakistan.

Saying that the Constitution of Pakistan categorically defines rights of Muslims and non-Muslims living in country, PUC chief claimed that Pakistan Ulema Council has been playing a frontline role for interfaith harmony in the country. He hoped that it will continue to do so in future as well.

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Hafiz Ashrafi asserted that no extremist group or individual should be allowed to usurp the rights of minorities in the country.

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