Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s eponymous faction of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) has rejected as ‘Western agenda’ a plan of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government to hire educated clerics (pesh imams) in mosques.
The provincial government is considering a proposal to appoint educated pesh imams in mosques across the province and pay them a monthly stipend.
“I’ve been told that the imams will be paid from funds [coming from the West] – and that the JUI-F will also get its share,” the Maulana said after a meeting with tribal elders on Saturday.
He also claimed that after the 2013 elections his party had been offered an ‘ amount of money’ in return for joining the PTI-led coalition government in K-P.
“The K-P government is implementing the Western agenda by proposing appointment of paid imams in mosques,” he alleged. “The Ulema of K-P will never accept salary from the government because they are not up for sale.”
Maulana said Ulema were running Islamic seminaries and imparting education to students at their own expense. “They have limited resources. Nonetheless, they will never accept money from the government for the implementation of Western agenda.”
The K-P government has proposed appointment of educated imams in mosques across the province. And the provincial Auqaf department has been directed to make necessary measurements for this purpose. “We have started collecting data on mosques on the direction of the chief minister,” Minister for Religious Affairs Habibur Rehman said the other day.
Talking about the proposed Fata reforms, the JUI-F chief said his party supported the tribal elders’ take on bringing Fata into the national mainstream. He clarified that his party was not opposed to Fata’s merger with K-P but believes a hasty merger would not benefit the tribal people. “Nobody should impose their will on the tribal people. Instead they should be allowed to choose the kind of reforms they want in their region.”
The cleric announced that his party would organise a FATA youth conference on October 14. He called upon the tribal people, the youth in particular, to attend the event in large numbers to show their strength.