The coronavirus pandemic has been used to stoke sectarian tensions and provoke people, said a joint press release from the Wafaq ul Madaris Al Arabia Pakistan on Tuesday.
The ulema said that the behaviour exhibited by government officials, representatives and targeting of the religious community is condemnable.
“Using the coronavirus situation in Pakistan, mosques, madressahs and religious matters are being targeted, which is very disappointing,” read the declaration.
“Coronavirus was used to stoke sectarian tensions and provocations,” read the press release, giving credit to the country’s religious leadership for its efforts to make those efforts in vain.
The press release said that when the zaireen affected by COVID-19 were brought back to the country, members of the Tableeghi Jamaat were also targeted to fan sectarianism.
“Ban on Itikaf and the events that took place on Yaum-e-Ali indicated that attempts were being made to give rise to sectarian tension in the country.
“Pakistan is being presented as a non-religious, sectarian country,” read the press release, adding that efforts were being made to ensure that the religious and cultural reasons for which the country was created, failed.
The press release called on state institutions and the government to pay attention to elements who were trying to create a sectarian divide in the country and target the religious leaders by using the coronavirus issue as an excuse.
The Wafaq ul Madaris called on religious leaders to sit together and organise themselves from scratch, vowing that the ulema will always play their part in promoting the role of religion on society and defeating efforts to stoke sectarianism in the country.
The declaration has been issued by Maulana Dr Abdul Razzak Sikander, Maulana Anwar ul Haq, Maulana Mufti Mohammad Rafi Usmani, Maulana Mufti Taqi Usmani, Maulana Muhammad Hanif Jhalandari and other scholars.