Ulema want end to protests after Geo apology
ISLAMABAD: Sunni Tehreek (ST) chief Sarwat Ijaz Qadri, Shia Ulema Council (SUC) Central President Syed Sajid Ali Naqvi, Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan (JUP) leaders Mufti Muhammad Arif Golravi and Sardar Muhammad Khan Leghari, and Pakistan Federal Union of Columnists’ members have expressed explicitly that the Geo TV administration has apologised for the controversial morning show; hence, the issue should now be settled peacefully.
Sunni Tehreek (ST) chief Sarwat Ijaz Qadri said that the biggest problem the country is facing is terrorism, and for eradicating terrorism, it is necessary for the nation to stand shoulder to shoulder with the army.
He said this while addressing a rally in Karachi on MA Jinnah Road, organised by the ST for the eradication of terrorism from the country, and in favour of the Pakistan Army and ISI. Others who spoke on the occasion included ST Provincial President Noor Ahmed Qasmi and Rashid Qadri of the Shah Sector.
The Pakistan Army has globally worked the most for the sake of peace, but today the enemies of the country are busy in a heinous conspiracy maligning the Pakistan Army, Qadri said.
Qadri further said that not did Geo TV commit blasphemy but before this, ARY, Samaa TV, and other television channels had telecast such programmes which hurt the emotions of millions of Muslims.He opined that to prevent such incidents in future, an advisory board of Ulema should be established to oversee such television channels.
He said that after the incident that happened in the Geo TV morning show, the Sunni Tehreek made four demands to Geo, and Geo acted upon them immediately. These demands included that Geo apologise, sack the administration of the morning show and probe the matter.
Thousands of workers of the Sunni Tehreek participated in the rally. They were carrying the Pakistani flags and banners, on which slogans in favour of the Pakistan Army and against the menace of terrorism were written.
The chief of the Sunni Tehreek was of the view that the country was passing through a critical phase. He said that to get out of all the problems, it was necessary for the nation to unite, because no war could be won without the support of the people. He said that the problems that the country faced not only included those related to the Pakistan Army and Geo but also those related to the economy, education, poverty and terrorism.
Qadri said that rulers of the country did not want to eliminate terrorism because elimination of terrorism would lead to the discontinuation of funds.
He noted that the Pakistan Army decided not to take part in politics which was certainly laudable. “Now it is the responsibility of the rulers to stop maligning the Pakistan Army,” he further said.
He noted that today those banned outfits which murdered soldiers and policemen, were also organising rallies in favour of the Pakistan Army.
Qadri said that the Ahl-e-Sunnat were loyal to the country. He said that it was sad that the terrorist groups, under different names, were organising rallies in favour of the Pakistan Army, but in reality, they were murderers of the army, police and the nation. He also called upon COAS General Raheel Sharif to look into the matter.
He suggested that there should be a code of conduct for the media. He said that the day when the controversial incident took place, they made four demands to Geo. He said that the demands also included forming an Ulema Board. “Geo has made an apology and promised to probe the issue,” he said adding that they would abide by the decisions of their leaders.
He further remarked that those who caused harm to more than 50 shrines in Pakistan were pretending to condemn the harm made to the holy tombs in Syria. He termed all such parties deceivers. He opined that if a complete ban was not imposed against such elements, a Mumtaz Qadri would be given birth to each day.
He said that the catwalk with Sufi poetry in the background, should be banned as it hurt the heart of every lover of the Prophet (PBUH).
Speaking to a public gathering in Jand at the Jamia Jafarya, Shia Ulema Council (SUC) Central President Syed Sajid Ali Naqvi said that the Geo TV administration has apologised for its unintentional mistake acting upon Quranic injunctions (Ref. Sura Nahal, verse 119). The channel has apologised to Allah, the Prophet (PBUH), his pious family and Muslim Ummah, leveling their path to forgiveness.
He said other channels committed the same mistake by airing the sacreligious content repeatedly. He said this conspiracy should now be brought to an end.
Talking to journalists at the press club in Pakpattan, JUP leader Mufti Muhammad Arif Golravi said after the apology, there is no justification for negative propaganda against Geo TV and Jang Group.
He said some vested interests are giving a religious shade to the issue because of personal biases. He said the Geo TV morning show was objectionable, an violated the sentiments of the Muslims, but the management of the channel apologised to Almighty Allah immediately after committing the mistake. He said Allah says that if somebody repents after committing sins, He not only forgives but also converts sins of the sinner into noble deeds. He said the channels that are airing the programme repeatedly are also committing the sin and should also repent.
He said the fatwas (edicts) that have been issued on this matter hold no value in Sharia as they aim to please some institutions.
Citizens expressed solidarity with Geo and Jang Group. Traders’ leaders, and social and political personalities including PML-N General Secretary Jamil Faridi, LPJ Association Pakpattan President Mian Iqbal Dhedi, Marketing Committee Administrator MD Butt, PPP District President Hamyon Sarwar Bodla, Teacher’s Leader Munir Shami, Haji Ikram Javed, Trader Leader Rao Rafaqat Ali, PPP leader Rao Jamil Hashim and others were among those who expressed solidarity with Geo and the Jang Group.
JUP Provincial Leader Sardar Muhammad Khan Leghari said after the apology, the matter should not be propagated. He said masses should not be provoked and they should remain peaceful. Talking to The News in DG Khan, he said to err is human and Islam gives us a message of forgiveness. He said the Jang Group is Pakistan’s largest media group and after it sacked those responsible for the mistake, the protest has lost any logic.
Pakistan Federal Union of Columnists members Sajjad Mir, Sulman Abid, Athar Khuram, etc said different media houses have opened a front against Geo TV and Jang Group.
Talking to the second annual training workshop in Lahore, they said if Geo had made any mistake, some other channels did not do justice with it. They said some other channels are also exploiting freedom of expression. If everybody becomes a judge and tries to impose their ideas on others, the system will deteriorate, they said.
They said criticism should be constructive. They said principles are needed to be framed for the freedom of expression. They said where the state is responsible, freedom of speech is effective.
Our Lahore correspondent adds: Meanwhile, Pakistan’s National Labour Assembly Speaker Azam Owais in a meeting in Lahore on Sunday said banning Geo TV will result in unemployment of more than 50,000 workers and their economic murder in the country.
Instead of shutting down the channel’s operations and revoking its licence, an investigation should be conducted against those responsible for the airing of offensive and insensitive content.
Owais told the meeting more than seven million people are currently unemployed in Pakistan, and millions of others in government departments and in the private sector are on the verge of joblessness due to the ongoing electricity crisis in the country. He said it was against the country’s interest to shut down Geo TV.
The meeting was attended by assembly members Iftikhar Butt, Rafaqat Kazmi, Malik Ahmed, Mohammad Riaz, Mian Mohammad Akbar, Mir Aslam, Najeeb Nazi, Nadra Parveen, Malik Hamid, Khalid Iftikhar and others.