Shia community hails new Iraqi border regulations

Muhammad Asad

ISLAMABAD: The government of Iraq has introduced new border regulations for Pakistani Shia devouts visiting sacred religious Shrines in its country. It was observed by famous Shia Religious Scholar and Central Secretary General Pakistan Shia Ulema Council, Allama Dr. Shahbir Hassan Mehsimi during a news conference along with other Shia religious clerics in Islamabad on Monday.

According to Dr. Mehsimi, the government of Iraq has opened the country’s border for Pakistani visiting devouts which has significantly reduced difficulties and monetary expenditures of the poor Shia faithfuls.

Pakistan Shia Ulema Council thanked Foreign Minister, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari for fulfilling the longstanding demands of the Pakistani Shia community which was facing unprecedented hardships during their visit to Iraq to perform religious rituals during the past many years.

Dr. Shahbir told the reporters that the Shia community was facing Police harassment for holding azadari meetings at their homes and FIRs are being lodged by the government against Shia Azadars on this ground. He said azadari has become a crime, while police arrests are detentions on these grounds are common in the country.

While speaking on the occasion, Mr. Ali Akhwanzada said that the constitution of Pakistan and the founding father of the country, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah had guaranteed equal rights to all citizens, while the Shia community is being punished for organizing religious meetings at their homes, which is contrary to all norms and laws.

He warned the federal and provincial governments to take notice of the situation and mentioned that the Shia community will not surrender its fundamental right. According to Akhwanzada, such situations did not exist in history while at the same time Shia community is facing problems in its ongoing flood relief activities in different areas. Millat-e-Jaffria is operating 150 flood relief camps in different parts of the country while opponents are propagating false and baseless propaganda against them, which is not only defaming the nation but also restricting relief activities in flood-hit areas, added Akhwanzada.

He appealed to the people to demonstrate unity, come forward and assist their brothers and sisters battling the devastation brought by the floods across the country.