The district administration has banned the entry of 37 religious leaders in the district and also issued gagging orders for 13 clerics during Muharram.
Deputy Commissioner retired Capt Anwarul Haq issued the directive to ban the entry of the 37 clerics in the district for two months. The order was issued after receiving reports from the Special Branch and local police that these clerics could disturb peace and harmony in Muharram.
The order stated that these religious scholars were in the habit of making provocative speeches and were likely to create sectarian tension.
“If these clerics are allowed to enter then they may create a law and order situation in the district,” the directive stated.
The DC also issued gagging orders for 13 clerics belonging to different schools of thought. “I am satisfied on the basis of teh city police officer report to prevent these persons from delivering speeches/sermons at public places and religious gatherings in the revenue limits of Rawalpindi district for 60 days with immediate effect,” he stated.
The DC told Dawn that the provincial government had asked the local police and law enforcement agencies to ensure security for processions and majalis.
To a question, he said peace committees had been activated to maintain peace and harmony in the district. He said religious scholars of all sects had been requested to play their role to promote brotherhood during Muharram and also create awareness about safety measures for Covid-19.
Earlier, the deputy commissioner called a meeting of organisers of majalis and licence holders of mourning processions. He assured them that the government would provide all facilities to them but they should cooperate with the administration and police.
The deputy commissioner requested the organisers not to call those zakirs and khateebs to majalis who had been banned and stopped to deliver speeches. He said a list had been issued and provided to the organisers.
The religious scholars, organisers and licence holders of mourning processions for Ashura assured the administration of their cooperation and pointed out some issues which should be rectified.