With distressing news coming from nearly all sectors: political, economic, law and order, etc, it was indeed a pleasure to learn from a report published in The Nation on May 19. that former Jamaat-e-Islami amir Qazi Hussain Ahmed has been mandated by his party to host a conference in a five-star hotel in Islamabad, the main objective of which would be to form an alliance of ulema representing various sects, in an attempt to build up an organised mechanism to create harmony among people representing different sects and beliefs, starting with Shia-Sunni sects. The alliance, which has been declared to be non-political, has ambitious plan to replicate the efforts on international level at a later stage.

There is a particularly good suggestion that efforts will be made to introduce a system whereby sermons delivered at Juma prayers from all mosques will be on the same subject. If successful, such a mechanism could, over time, help in isolating and eliminating extremists within our fold who, misusing religion, spoil things for all of us. Mutahidda Qaumi Movement has been instrumental in eliminating Shia-Sunni riots in areas under its influence though the terrorists, either on their own, or in tandem with foreign saboteurs do try to stir up trouble by targeting people from various sects, including Ulema.

I congratulate Jamaat-e-Islami and Qazi Hussain Ahmed for taking up the initiative on an important issue that concern us all. I hope the leaders also make some attempt to create in our country more tolerance towards the minorities, who on occasions, get a raw deal, not that the rest of us are getting a fair deal all the time, or even most of the time.


Karachi, May 20.