Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi was forced to leave a seminar on the finality of prophethood at Jamia Ashrafia in Lahore for heaping praise on Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan earlier this week.
Supporters of the Jamiat-Ulema-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) were behind the incident – the first of its kind in the history of the religious seminary belonging to the Deoband school of thought – insiders told Minute Mirror. Considered as the prime seat of Islamic learning in Pakistan, the seminary was founded in Lahore in September 1947 by the late Mufti Muhammad Hasan. Chaudhry’s family has long been enjoying a good relationship with the family of the founders, including the incumbent principal Maulana Fazlur Raheem.
Elahi was invited to address the event as the chief guest on September 6. But when he started appreciating former prime minister Imran Khan for raising the matter of the protection of the sanctity of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) at international forums during his speech, some participants began shouting anti-PTI slogans.
Then the chief minister made a veiled criticism of JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, further enraging them and turning the situation worse. Sources said that those who raised anti-PTI slogans were seminary students and staunch followers of the JUI-F chief. The administration failed to control the situation despite making repeated appeals, forcing Elahi to leave the event in the middle of his speech.
Aalmi Majlis-e-Tahaffuz Khatm-e-Nabuwwat (the international council for the protection of the finality of prophethood)-a conglomerate of different organizations belonging to all schools of thought-had organized the seminar. Pir Nasirud Din Khakwani, the chief of the council and Maulana Allah Wasaya, the council secretary, avoided commenting on the issue but some religious scholars of Deoband school expressed anger and regret over the incident.
“Elahi was a guest speaker. The supporters of Maulana should have listened to his speech in a civilized manner,” a seminary teacher said. What happened on Tuesday was against the norms of the seminary, he added. He went on to say that the event was apolitical but it should be recalled how Maulana Fazlur Rehman had taken advantage of such gatherings in the past to deliver political speeches.