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Banned Outfit ASWJ’s Member Contesting Gilgit-Baltistan Elections

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Asif Usmani, a member of the banned Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ), is contesting elections in Gilgit-Baltistan as an independent candidate even though the group he is a member of is on the Ministry of Interior’s list of banned organisations.

In a tweet, journalist Bilal Farooqi urged GB Election Commission to intervene and bar Usmani from contesting the election for having affiliation with a banned militant outfit.

Earlier this month,  the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) and Ahl-e-Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) held separate rallies in Karachi against the minority Shia community.

During the ASWJ rally, the participant chanted hate slogans, such as ‘Shia kafir’ against the members of the Shia community and demanded a ban on Muharram processions.

In another rally held in Islamabad, the ASWJ called for a ‘social boycott of the members of the minority Muslim community.

During the demonstration in the federal capital, a speaker asked the participants to make a promise that they would cut all ties with the Shia community.

The speaker urged the government to enact laws against the Shia community who make ‘insulting remarks’ against certain companions of the Prophet (PBUH). “The government should legislate against Shias just like it did against the Ahmadiyya community,” the speaker added.

In a speech laden with hate, the cleric urged the government ‘cut the tongues’ of Shias over their alleged remarks against the Prophet’s companions. He said if the government will not take action against them, they will take law in their hands to silence the Shias.

Reacting to the rally, journalist Bilal Farooqi had said that the outfits participating in these rallies are on the interior ministry’s list of proscribed organisations. He questioned how are these groups allowed to organise gatherings in the presence of the National Action Plan.

Action demanded against banned outfits

In the wake of anti-Shia rallies being held by banned outfits across Pakistan to incite hatred against the minority Muslim community, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Senator Sherry Rehman has asked the federal government to act against the proscribed outfits in line with the National Action Plan.

Speaking in a parliament session, the senator said the government has to control these outfits as it is the responsibility of the state to protect ‘oppressed segments’ of society. She urged the ministers to give a statement against these marches and ensure that citizens are protected.

“We know that speaking against such outfits will land us in trouble, but what is the use of being a parliament if we are unable to raise our voice for the oppressed people,” the senator added.

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