ISLAMABAD: A session of the Council of Islamic Ideology turned violent on Tuesday when a scuffle broke out over an argument between CII chairman Maulana Mohammad Khan Sherani and council member Maulana Tahir Ashrafi.
CII members and eyewitnesses said the scuffle took place when the council was discussing the status of Ahmadis under the Constitution and Sherani and Ashrafi got into a heated debate.
At a press conference following the CII session, Ashrafi accused Sherani of grabbing him by the collar and torturing him before others intervened to end the scuffle.
Ashrafi claimed that the CII chairman had opened a discussion on a matter that would cause unrest in society.
“The CII chairman had brought up a discussion on whether Ahmadis are Non-Muslims or Murtads (apostates), an issue which has already been settled in the Constitution of Pakistan. We were opposed to reopening this discussion as it would cause unrest in society. We wanted them to clarify that this discussion was not included in the agenda by CII members,” said Ashrafi.
Ashrafi accused Sherani of making the CII a controversial forum, and said he was neither worthy of being CII chairman nor a member of the National Assembly.
“Maulana Sherani should answer whether attempts to torture a CII member are part of his responsibilities. Can a person who resorts to torture be the head of the CII?” said Ashrafi.
But, speaking to reporters at a separate press conference, Sherani denied Ashrafi’s allegations, saying the matter was taken up by the council because the Ahmadi issue is a contentious matter in society.
He denied hitting Ashrafi, saying that he had only removed him as he was standing in his way.
The Council of Islamic Ideology is Pakistan’s top religious body that advises the legislature whether or not a certain laws are repugnant to Islam. It is not a lawmaking body but only has the authority of forwarding its non-binding recommendations to Parliament.