Mufti Taqi Usmani Demands Ban On Muharram Processions


Islamic scholar Mufti Taqi Usmani has urged the government to impose a ban on processions led out by the Shia community to commemorate Muharram, saying these gatherings are not an 'integral part of the Shia belief system'.

The cleric said these processions result in obstruction of routine life and business and if they are not 'mandatory' then there is no reason for the government to allow these gatherings.

"If it is not possible to impose a ban on these gathering, then they could be contained in a specific area so that they do not cause suspension of businesses and other activities," he suggested.

According to Usmani, he suggested this to the government for the sake of national security.

In the same statement, the cleric urged the government to award punishments to people who ridicule 'companions of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH)' in processions and make relevant laws so that such incidents could be curtailed.

Rise in anti-Shia sentiments:

Over the past month, extremists held two rallies in Karachi against the minority Muslim community. In a rally held in the second week of September, the participant chanted hate slogans, such as ‘Shia kafir’ against the members of the Shia community and demanded a ban on Muharram processions.


Since the start of Muharram, there has been an increase in hate campaigns against Shia groups and subsequent blasphemy allegations for reciting Ziyarat-e-Ashura — a prayer that denounces the killers of Imam Hussain. Moreover, a number of Shia orators were detained across the country for allegedly making blasphemous statements against some companions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

Sudden rise in blasphemy cases against Shias:

At least 42 cases pertaining to blasphemy were registered across Pakistan in a single month. Most of those accused of blasphemy belonged to the Shia community, who have been booked under 295-A and 298 sections of the Pakistan Penal Code for allegedly ‘insulting the companions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)’.

Similarly, members of Ahmadiyya and Christian communities are also among the people accused of blasphemy. Blasphemy accusations arhighly inflammatory in deeply conservative Pakistan and have in the past sparked mob lynchings, vigilante murders, and mass protests.

Amid a rise in such cases, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) said it was ‘gravely concerned’ at the recent surge in blasphemy cases being registered against sectarian and religious minorities, particularly the Shia community, and the potential for ensuing sectarian violence. It said the police must also refrain from registering blasphemy cases so promptly, knowing full well the sensitive implications of doing so when such complaints are often fabricated and spurred on by personal vendettas.

Anti-Shia wall chalking appears in Karachi ahead of PM’s visit:

Days after a Shia cleric was booked for alleged blasphemous remarks, anti-Shia wall chalking — a hate practice common since the 80s — has reappeared in various neighbourhoods of Karachi.

According to a post shared on Facebook, the wall chalking also had flags of banned sectarian outfits next to it. “Today, Prime Minister and COAS are coming to Karachi and we can see how the decades-old wall chalkings of “Shia Kafir” started reappearing on the street walls of various neighbourhoods in Karachi with the flags of the banned militant outfits.”


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