ISLAMABAD - PTI Chairman Imran Khan on Wednesday criticised Muslim leaders, West and religious scholars for failing to take action or stand against the blasphemous publication in a French magazine.

Addressing a gathering of clerics, ‘Ulema Mashaikh Conference’, here at a local hotel, Khan started his criticism by pointing finger at his rival Fazlur Rehman, the chief of JUI-F, and then lashed out at Muslim leaders, besides flaying Western democracies.

Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) chief even blamed rulers of the Muslim world for the publication of blasphemous caricatures, arguing that they should have played a role and should have stood against the sacrilegious act.

He said Islam is spreading rapidly in Europe, and blasphemous caricatures were published to provoke Muslims and alienate them in the Western societies, he told the convention organised by his own party. He said no religion could be insulted on the pretext of freedom of speech. “The French publication occurred due to the negligence of Muslim leaders.

“The West does not know to what extent we love Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).” He said that Muslim leaders should untidily convey message to the West that they would not tolerate insult of Islam, Quran and Holy Prophet (PBUH) and would boycott their goods if any country repeated this sin in future.

Khan pinned the deteriorating socio-political and economic plight of the country on the politicians, judges and generals alike. “Pakistan was supposed to become an Islamic welfare state but unfortunately it did not as a small fraction of the population is looting national wealth,” he said. He said the religious scholars were not playing their role in uniting the nation.

The clerics, he said, should have taken a stand against oppression long ago. He said the clerics should raise voice against the injustices like that of vote fraud by the means of which the sitting government came to power. He called for Ulema’s role in preaching true message and meaning of Islam. “Islam is all about humanity and justice”, he said.

“I have seen a lot of people, who do politics in the name of religion, selling themselves out, but a person of true faith is not a sold-out. No one can buy his conscience with money. And Islam is all about justice and zero subjugation,” Khan said. He maintained he had witnessed religious clerics being ‘sold off’. “There is a Maulana (cleric) who conveniently fits right in with those who are looting the country,” Khan said in an apparent reference to JUI-F chief.

Imran Khan said the entire nation has to unite against extremism and terrorism. Imran said that it was not fair to blame religious seminaries for fanning terrorism. But he said unfortunately name of Islam was being used for sectarian killing and violence and asked Ulema to play their role in promoting sectarian harmony. “Nobody has the right to declare anybody a non-believer.”

Calling for sweeping Madrassa reforms, PTI chief again resorted to scathing criticism of the PML-N government saying that huge money was wasted in unnecessary projects like multi-billion Metro Bus Project. “Why money is not spent to reform syllabus of seminaries and why billions are wasted in bus projects?” asked Khan. Khan called on the government to update the syllabi in seminaries on top of providing them with facilities/concessions as at least 2.4 million children were studying there.

IMRAN ASKS FOR MEASURES TO PROMOTE TOURISM IN KP

PTI Chairman Imran Khan has asked the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Sports, Tourism, Archaeology, Museums and Youth Affairs Department to devise short and long-term projects for the promotion of tourism and preservation of archaeological sites in the province There is a dire need to construct accommodation in or near the tourist spots and archaeological sites in line with eco-friendly and conservation principles to attract more tourists and visitors to the scenic valleys and historical sites in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, he said this at a briefing held in Bani Gala in Islamabad.

Advisor to KP Chief Minister on Sports, Tourism, Archaeology, Museums and Youth Affairs Amjad Afridi, Secretary Aftab Akbar Durrani, Additional Secretary Humayun, Managing Director Tourism Corporation Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (TCKP) Mushtaq Ahmad Khan, Director Archaeology & Museums Dr Abdul Samad, General Manager Administration and Properties TCKP  Sajjad Hameed, Adviser Tourism TCKP Dr Ali Jan attended the briefing.

PTI leaders Saifullah Niazi and Naeemul Haq were also present on the occasion.

Imran Khan said that he had now focused all the energies on the development of KP and will check a quarterly progress report of all the provincial government departments in the province.