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Pakistan Distances Itself from Controversial Cleric’s Comments

large-Hafiz Tahir Ashrafi addresses a press conference

Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said on Monday that the head of the country’s Ulema Council Allama Tahir Ashrafi denied he had made any justification on suicide bombings in Afghanistan.

In response to a question regarding the statement attributed to Tahir Ashrafi justifying suicide bombings in Afghanistan, the office of spokesman of Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said that that Maulana Ashrafi had denied making any such statement.

The Spokesman further clarified that statements issued by private individuals did not reflect the views of the Government of Pakistan.

The statement said that Pakistan and the Ulema of this country have repeatedly condemned suicide attacks and consider them repugnant to the teachings of our glorious religion.

On Friday, there were reports that Pakistan’s Ulema Council Chairman Allama Tahir Ashrafi had declared suicide bombing in Afghanistan, Palestine and Kashmir as a legitimate act.

Afghan Officials, political figures and media activists angrily responded the outrageous comments. In a press conference on Monday, NATO Chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen denounced the Pakistan Ulema Council head’s fatwa legalizing suicide attacks in Afghanistan. In its own benefit, he stressed, Islamabad needed to support counterterrorism efforts.

Rasmussen, who also held talks Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Rassoul and National Security Adviser Dr. Spanta, said nothing could justify terrorist attacks.

President Karzai said Allama Tahir Ashrafi’s remarks had deeply shocked him. However, he hoped the situation would change and better sense would prevail.

“Afghanistan desire a real struggle against terrorism and wants the Pakistani government to realise that both our nations are burning in the same fire,” he observed.

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