NEW DELHI/ISLAMABAD: Prominent Muslim scholars and leaders have strongly condemned extortion of “Jaziya” by Taleban from Sikh community in Pakistan.
A statement signed by Syed Shahabuddin, former member of Parliament and ex-president, All-India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat, Mufti Mukarram Ahmad, shahi imam, Jama Masjid Fatehpuri, Delhi, Dr. S.Q.R. Ilyas, member, Muslim Personal Law Board, Dr. Zafarul-Islam Khan, president All-India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat and many others said,
“We, religious, political and community leaders of the Indian Muslims, are alarmed at the reports coming out of Pakistan’s tribal areas about the Pakistani Taleban’s kidnapping, extortion of huge amounts of money from their Sikh compatriots as “Jaziya” and demolition of the houses and shops of those who fail to pay the demanded sums.
“We would like to say that ‘Jaziya’ is a tax paid in an Islamic state for exemption from military service by healthy non-Muslim adults who are free to follow their vocations without restriction or fear, and that there is no other tax payable by them after paying this tax, unlike Muslims who have to pay various taxes including Zakah and have to perform military service as well.
The statement further says,
Prominent modern Islamic scholars are of the view that “Jaziya” should not be imposed as non-Muslims in Muslim states pay all taxes paid by other citizens and shoulder all the duties, the statement said.
“We wish to make it clear that the imposition of the so-called “Jaziya” is nothing more than extortion by an armed and lawless gang which does not constitute a sovereign government or state or even an organ thereof. Moreover, Pakistan’s tribal areas are not “conquered lands” as their non-Muslim population has been living there for centuries. These areas were part of the British India and became part of Pakistan as a result of partition.”
The Indian leaders demanded that the Pakistani authorities take earliest steps to retrieve the extorted sums and pay them back to their affected non-Muslim citizens and facilitate their peaceful return to their homes and properties in their traditional homelands and give them all due protection.
Pakistan’s former Minister for Information and Broadcasting Sherry Rehman also called Taliban’s demand of “Jaziya” from Sikhs in the Orakzai Agency a criminal act which must be condemned in no uncertain terms. She condemned eviction of Sikhs from Orakzai Agency saying, “They are Pakistani citizens and enjoy equal rights as Pakistani nationals.”
Courtesy : Arab News