BY OUR CORRESPONDENT
GILGIT: As elections draw closer, Gilgit – Baltistan government has issued a strict warning to clerics and prayer leaders asking them to stay away from using mosques for political gains.
“The mosques are God’s house so are sacred. Therefore it should not be used for electioneering,” read a warning issued by the G-B government to mosques on Tuesday.
“Those violating it will be dealt with under National Action Plan against terrorism,” stated the warning comes days after the interim government announced elections for G-B legislative assembly will be held on June 8.
The decision is said to be a critical step in a region where mosques have remained traditionally powerful due to political vacuum created by the undecided constitutional status of the region. The sectarian bloodshed in 2011-12 in which scores of Shias and Sunnis were killed added more to the power to the mosques, prompting authorities to figure out measures to contain its role.
The Tuesday warning also published in local newspapers asked mosques to away from interfering in officials matters on sectarian lines besides making statements against forces including army and police. Likewise it barred clergy against holding protest demonstrations, rallies and strikes that could fuel sectarian hatred in the region, Outpost has learnt.
The religious leaders were also asked to ensure a peaceful atmosphere for Shias, Sunnis, Ismailis, Nurbukhashis and Ahle-Hadith living in the region.
In addition, parties have been asked to seek prior approval if they want to invite political and religious leaders from outside G-B in rallies
An official in G-B government said the decision was taken to ensure freedom of expression in the upcoming elections.