National Ulema and Mashaikh Council Act close to being a reality soon


ISLAMABAD: In order to curtail sectarianism in the country, the federal government has geared up efforts to make a ‘National Ulema and Mashaikh Council Act, 2018′, Pakistan Today has learnt.

“The draft has been prepared by the ministry of religious affairs and a National Ulema and Mashiakh Council will be constituted under the proposed draft with a representation of religious scholars from all schools of thought,” explained the official sources in the federal government.

The official sources told Pakistan Today that a final meeting will be held in the ministry in the next couple of days where the draft would be finalised. After that, the draft would be sent to the provincial ulema and mashaikh councils.

Similarly, the ministry would take input from law and interior ministries which would result in the final draft being sent to the cabinet division and then the parliament.

Under the proposed draft, after the establishment of the council, the federal minister of religious affairs and interfaith harmony will be its chairman.

The council is to have 50 members who will be picked up by all provinces including Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit-Baltistan (GB).

The council will take input from all provinces to take practical steps for curtailing sectarianism and regular meetings will be held in this regard.

According to the draft, only the federal government will have the authority to remove the chairman of the council.

Similarly, two committees would be constituted under the council, a steering committee and a curriculum committee. The Terms of Reference (TOR) of the steering will be to suggest practical steps for the promotion of sectarian harmony and peace in the country in the light of recommendations made by the council earlier.

Similarly, the TOR of the curriculum will suggest ways to eradicate hate literate from the syllabus of madrasas. The committee will recommend changes and improvements in the madrasa curriculum all over the country.

The ministry believes that the draft will be a landmark in the country’s history which will definitely help to promote interfaith harmony among all sects.

Another senior official of the ministry said that in 2016, the federal government had notified a National Ulema and Mashaikh Council Act, 2018 through an executive order. However, it has no legal value as it could be deemed dysfunctional any time. Therefore, the government has decided to make a new draft in which a new council would be established with a legal status.

When asked about how many meetings over the matter have been held, the official claimed that over a dozen of the meetings were held in different parts of the country and the council has been given many recommendations but the recommendation will be valuable once the draft has become a proper act.