Gilgit-Baltistan: Govt. Forms Ulema Advisory Council on the recommendation of Parliamentary Peace Committee

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GILGIT (ET): The Gilgit-Baltistan government has formed the Ulema Advisory Council to help forge sectarian unity among various sects inhabiting the region, stated a press release issued from chief minister’s media cell on Tuesday. The council would consist of renowned scholars and legislators who would help regulate matters concerning sects, the press release added.

The initiative has been taken on the recommendations of the parliamentary peace committee which was formed by the government a few years ago to broker peace after sectarian strife engulfed the region, leaving several dead in violent clashes. Members of the parliamentary peace committee Amjad Hussain, a G-B council member, and Jamil Ahmed, G-B Assembly Deputy Speaker, met Chief Minister Mehdi Shah on Monday and reportedly submitted the committee’s recommendations.
According to the press release, the advisory council will be represented by 18 members. A bill drafted after consultations with the council will be tabled at the next session of the G-B Legislative Assembly to be considered for legislation. The advisory council’s members will serve for a period of three years, however, its elected chairman would serve for a year. Two members from the G-B Council will also act as honorary members and help ensure that the council runs smoothly.
According to sources privy to the development, the advisory council will be represented equally by Sunni and Shia clerics, with each sect represented by six members. Similarly, Ismaili and Noorbakhshia sects will also have two members each in the council. Prominent Sunni leaders in the council include Maulana Ataullah Shahab, Maulana Khalil Qasimi and Maulana Khan Bahadur, while Shia clerics include Sheikh Mirza Ali, Sheikh Nayyar Abbas and Sheikh Nasir Zamani.

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