54 elders, clerics from KP turn down invitation for anti-Taliban conference


Fearing threats to their lives, at least 54 leading tribal elders and clerics from various parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and the tribal areas have declined an invitation by Afghanistan for a joint conference in Kabul.
The Afghan government is organising a joint conference of Muslim scholars belonging to various schools of thoughts. The purpose of the scheduled conference is to discuss the ongoing violence and issue a joint fatwa (decree) against suicide attacks and other terrorist acts.
Through some highly-placed sources, Pakistan Today has learnt that at least 54 invitees from the KP province and its adjoining tribal areas have refused to attend the scheduled conference. Those who refused to proceed and attend the conference in Kabul include 35 prominent religious figures. According to sources, the religious scholars who have refused to attend the conference are associated with leading religious institutions and parties. One of them had served as chairman of the District Zakat Committee in the previous government.
Most of those who have refused to attend the conference are reluctant to talk to the media on this issue, and others want to remain anonymous. So far the invitees have not given any reason for their refusal, but sources say that they are reluctant to become signatories of a fatwa against the Taliban. A number of leaders of the Milli Yakjehti Council, headed by Allama Tahir Ashrafi, have already declared that they would not go to Afghanistan either for attending the Ulema Conference or to become part of a resolution aimed at denouncing militancy especially suicide attacks.