Peace committees have been constituted on part of the Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC) at provincial and district level all over the country for restoration of peace and harmony during Muharram. PUC Chairman Hafiz Muhammad Tahir Mahmood Ashrafi while addressing a press conference on Wednesday, stated that the PUC with coordination of religious leadership of the country will ensure complete support to the government and law enforcement agencies to avert any untoward incident during Muharram. “We also expect that religious scholars, clerics, zakirs and ulemas will also ensure implementation of Code of Conduct to ensure religious harmony during Muharram,” Hafiz Muhammad Tahir Mahmood Ashrafi said, adding that religious leadership of the country will not support any organisation, religious group and individual violating the Code of Conduct for Muharram. He also announced that appeals to collect donations for Diamar-Bhasha Dam will be made during Friday congregation in mosques all over the country. Tahir Ashrafi also resolved that PUC will keep endorsing initiatives of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government as taken in accordance with Sharia and Constitution of Pakistan. He also demanded of the government to take first steps to resolve outstanding challenges of seminaries and mosques. Consultation should be made with leadership of Madaris-e-Arabia ahead of making any change in curriculum and syllabus of seminaries. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia share a strong relation based on faith and belief in one another which cannot be affected, he said. Responding to a query, Ashrafi stated that decision of Prime Minister Imran Khan to visit Saudi Arabia hinted at the fact that foreign policy of Pakistan is moving in the right direction. In the past, poor understanding was witnessed regarding brotherly relations of Pakistan and other Islamic countries including Saudi Arabia; however the ruling government is taking this mutual relationship on the right track. Ashrafi stated that with the consent of all the religious schools of thought and sectarian groups, the following Code of Conduct has been drafted to ensure peace and harmony during Muharram in the country. There is no space for terrorism, extremism and sectarian violence in the name of Islam in the country and leadership of all religious sects should announce to disassociate themselves from all elements that are accomplices in the menace of sectarian violence, terrorism and extremism. Any scholar, orator or cleric during public sermons will not use sacrilegious remarks for prophets, their family and wives of the holy Prophet (PBUH), caliphs, imams and about Imam Mehdi and any religious sect will not support or endorse any blasphemer. Any Islamic sect should not be declared ‘infidel’ and any Muslim or non-Muslim should not be pronounced ‘worthy to be killed’ and people of Pakistan and believers of all religious sects will live their lives as per rights defined in the Constitution without affecting others. There should be a complete ban on usage of loudspeakers except for Azaan and Friday Sermon. Loudspeakers can be used however after seeking permission from the local administration. There should be a complete ban on publication of violent religious content, hateful-speeches, outrageous literature, books based on hateful content, compact discs and websites carrying seditious content. Similarly there should be a complete ban on hurting and outrageous religious slogans and no sacrilegious remarks will be made. Joint religious congregations will be held at public level to demonstrate the message of solidarity within all religious sects. It is the responsibility of the government to ensure protection to the sacred and worship places of the minorities living in Pakistan, therefore the government of Pakistan should strictly handle all the elements that are accomplices in posing threats to the minorities and worship places of the minorities and their properties in the country. The government should ensure implementation of the National Action Plan without any discrimination. A cohesive coordination mechanism should be maintained between the local administration and administrators of majalis. In case of any untoward incident and accident, members of the Respective Peace Committee will reach the spot immediately and make every possible arrangement to thwart public from being violent and provocative. Published in Daily Times, September 13th 2018.