Anti-Taliban Pak Cleric To Hold Rally In Srinagar

Anti-Taliban Pak Cleric To Hold Rally In Srinagar

29 December 2013
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Azhar Qadri

Srinagar: Anti-Taliban Pakistani cleric Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri will address a rally during his first visit to Kashmir next month. Members of the cleric’s Minhaj-ul-Quran International (MQI) organisation said the cleric would speak at the Hazratbal shrine on January 20. “He (Qadri) will address a gathering at Hazratbal and the post-mid-day speech will be for two hours,” Abdul Rashid Khan, president of the MQI’s Kashmir unit, told The Tribune. The cleric, now based in Canada, has been vehemently opposing the Taliban and Al-Qaida militants and condemned suicide bombers with a 600-page fatwa, condemning them “to hell”. Qadri has also been opposing Pakistani militants fighting in Kashmir, saying “Islam does not allow” that Pakistani men should fight in other countries. Khan said the details of Qadri’s Kashmir visit could not be shared. “It has not been decided when he will be arriving or where he will be staying here because of security reasons, but he will address a gathering at Hazratbal on January 20,” Khan said. Qadri will also host various deputations of local clerics, prayer leaders and address the members of his organisation’s Kashmir unit at the Sher-i-Kashmir International Conference Centre in Srinagar on January 21-22. In March last year, Qadri had addressed two rallies in Mumbai when he reportedly also authorised the formation of the MQI’s Kashmir unit. Qadri’s 2014 India tour will include nine cities and begins on January 8. Qadri, a preacher of mystical Sufi sect, was in the news early this year when he led hundreds of protesters in Pakistan capital Islamabad, paralysing the city for four days.