Minister says Israel’s Mossad fueling sectarianism in Pakistan through social media

Pakistan’s Minister for Religious Affairs Pir Noorul Haq Qadri during a press conference on Aug. 11, 2020. (Photo courtesy: Ministry of Religious Affairs)
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Updated 11 August 2020

Minister says Israel’s Mossad fueling sectarianism in Pakistan through social media

  • Pir Noorul Qadri says a conspiracy is being hatched to destabilize Pakistan by creating riots among different sects
  • The minister also urged the Council of Islamic Ideology to promote sectarian harmony in the country

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Minister for Religious Affairs Pir Noorul Haq Qadri claimed on Tuesday that Israel’s secret service, Mossad, was trying to spread sectarianism in Pakistan by using fake social media accounts.
“A female Mossad operative in Israel is spreading sectarian material in Pakistan by using a fake account,” he told a gathering organized by the Council of Islamic Ideology in Islamabad to commemorate the National Minorities Day. “This woman identifies herself as Aisha, has good command of Arabic, and regularly shares sectarian material on social media.”
The minister did not provide further details, and Arab News could not independently verify his claim. However, he added that “ignorant people” using these platforms spread the material without considering its implications.
Addressing the event that focused on pluralism and sectarian harmony, he said that the government had organized the convention to raise awareness about this issue and request scholars and general public not to fall for the Israeli conspiracy.
“We have noticed that blasphemous material related to sacred religious personalities gets frequently distributed [on social media]. It’s all planned,” he warned.
“For four decades, the conspiracy to destabilize Pakistan along linguistic, religious and ethnic lines has failed,” Qadri said. “Now the last attempt is a conspiracy to spread riots among Shias, Sunnis, Barelvis, Deobandis and Salafis.”
The minister said that the Council of Islamic Ideology should introduce a “new national charter” to promote harmony and understanding among different sects.
“The Muttahida Ulema Board Punjab, Milli Yakjehti Council and Inter-Faith Harmony Committee have made separate efforts to eradicate sectarianism. The Council of Islamic Ideology should put all these efforts together in the form of a new national charter,” he added.
“The state will maintain its writ in any case,” Qadri continued. “It is unfortunate that administrative officials have been urging scholars to remain peaceful before the arrival of Muharram [the first month of the Islamic calendar] since scholars should do it themselves.”


Peshawar to resume BRT service after getting clearance from Chinese experts

Updated 1 min 15 sec ago

Peshawar to resume BRT service after getting clearance from Chinese experts

  • PM Khan described the Bus Rapid Transit as ‘the best metro bus service available in Pakistan’ while inaugurating it in August
  • The facility was suspended within a few weeks after several buses caught fire while they were carrying passengers

PESHAWAR: A team of technical experts of a Chinese bus manufacturing company has arrived in the provincial capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to inspect the vehicles used by the city’s metro bus service after some of them caught fire recently, making commuters wonder if it was safe to travel on them.
Nearly a month after its inauguration, the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service was indefinitely suspended on Wednesday after two more buses caught fire in the upscale Hayatabad locality of Peshawar.
According to the Rescue 1122 emergency service, there were no casualties and the fire that erupted in the air conditioning compartment was immediately extinguished.
“Yes, it was the fourth unfortunate incident in which two buses caught fire … Now a 20-member expert team of the bus manufacturing company has arrived from China to inspect our entire fleet and identify the causes of such incidents,” Muhammad Umair Khan, focal person for the BRT facility, told Arab News while declining to name the Chinese bus manufacturer.

In this undated photo, a metro bus can be seen in an upscale Peshawar neighborhood. The BRT facility was inaugurated by Prime Minister Imran Khan last month who called it "the best metro bus service available in Pakistan." (Picture courtesy: TransPeshawar)

Launched in October 2017 at an estimated cost of Rs49 billion, the 27-kilometer-long BRT corridor had to be completed within a span of six months. However, the project got delayed and missed at least four deadlines in 2018 and 2019.
The long-awaited service was inaugurated by Prime Minister Imran Khan in the second week of August who called it “the best metro bus service available in Pakistan.”
The provincial adviser on local government, Kamran Bangash, told Arab News that the BRT service was suspended on the recommendation of Chinese experts.
“The manufacturers of these buses have assured us that the service will be restored at the earliest. However, we cannot give any timeline and we will not take any risk until we get clearance from the experts,” he added.

Noorshad Wazir, a student at the University of Peshawar, told Arab News that the suspension of the service was creating problems for commuters, though he added that people were also scared to travel on theses buses.
Video footage of the latest fire incident was widely shared on social media, showing thick black smoke coming out of the bus last Wednesday.
Shortly thereafter, TransPeshawar, the company that operates the service, announced its suspension in “the best public interest” to ensure passenger safety.
Muhammad Nouman, who works as a laboratory technician in the city and frequently used the facility after its inauguration, said that the BRT was “mired in controversies such as poor management” from the outset.
“It saved many people from traffic congestion,” he said. “But now I seriously wonder if the project has provided us relief or compounded our troubles. I am also not sure if it will be safe for us to travel on these buses in the future.”
TransPeshawar has already acquired a fleet of 220 hybrid air-conditioned buses to cover the BRT corridor in the city.
“We will make sure to prevent such incidents in the future,” said the BRT focal person. “We will only resume the service after thoroughly checking all the buses and rectifying the problem.”