KARACHI - The Pakistan Ulema Council will actively participate in the next general elections and forge an alliance with the likeminded political and religious parties before the elections.

It was stated by Chairman of Pakistan Ulema Council Hafiz Muhammad Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi during a press conference at the Karachi Press Club. Ashrafi said the council was all set and willing to participate in the next general elections likely to be held in 2018. He said that no political party in the country could win the elections without the support of the religious parties. He said the council would get into an alliance with the likeminded religious and political parties.

He said that PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari and other notable leaders of his party and the Sindh government would be moved against all un-Islamic sections of the minorities law, which was recently passed by the Sindh Assembly.

He announced that the second International Message of Islam Conference would be held on March 1 at the Convention Centre, Islamabad. Prevailing challenges facing the Muslim world and elimination of terrorism, extremism and sectarian violence would come under discussion at the conference, he said.

On this occasion, Ashrafi was accompanied by Secretary General of Pakistan Ulema Council Sahibzada Zahid Mehmood Qasmi and council’s Sindh leaders Maulana Saad Zikriya, Maulana Abdul Majeed Pitafi, Qari Azam Farooqui, Maulana Saad Ullah Shafiq, Allama Ahsan Siddiqui, Maulana Inam-ur-Rehman Hijazi, Shoaib Memon and other notable ulemas, scholars and office bearers of the council.

Addressing the press conference, Ashrafi said that conspiracies were being hatched to divide the Muslim world on sectarian lines. He said that enemies of Islam were making nefarious designs to sabotage peace in Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Bahrain after playing havoc in Libya, Iraq and Syria. He said that efforts were being made to disrupt peace in Pakistan and Turkey. In this scenario, he said, political and religious parties of Pakistan should come forward with a unanimous stance on unity of the Muslim world, Ashrafi said.

He said that conspiracies against Pakistan had gained momentum since inception of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which was a symbol of Pakistan’s progress and prosperity.

He said that Pakistan had rendered enormous sacrifices for the Afghan people, but today the Afghan president was issuing anti-Pakistan statements at India’s behest. He said that situation had come to the point that Afghan soil was being used for anti-Pakistan activities. With the grace of Allah Almighty, he said, all conspiracies of the enemies of Islam and Pakistan would fail.

Responding to a question, Ashrafi said that CPEC was the project for progress and prosperity of Pakistan and the ongoing political mess in Pakistan should be settled in consultation with all political stakeholders of the country.

Commenting on peace in Karachi, Ashrafi said that Operation Zarb-e-Azb and the Karachi operation played a vital role in restoration of peace in Karachi and all over Pakistan. He said that all points of the National Action Plan should be implemented. He said the action plan should not be limited mosques and seminaries only.  Replying to another question, Ashrafi said that non-Muslim communities living in Pakistan should not feel insecure. He said that Ulema and religious leaders had always played a key role in protecting the minorities and they would ensure rights for them as defined in the Constitution of Pakistan.