Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Fatwa against Suicide Bombings Causes Dispute between Islamabad, Kabul

Fatwa against Suicide Bombings Causes Dispute between Islamabad, Kabul

Tuesday, 23 January, 2018 - 08:15
Pakistan's former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif shaking hands with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani after a news conference in Kabul, May 12, 2015. (File photo: Reuters)

A dispute has arisen between governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan over issuing a fatwa banning suicide bombings, with each government blaming the other for failing to comply with an understanding reached between the two governments in October 2017.

Officials from Pakistan and Afghanistan reached an understanding in 2017 whereby the two governments agreed to try to persuade as many religious leaders as possible to issue a fatwa against suicide bombings that cover both countries.

The agreement was reached during a meeting between Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Pakistani Army Chief of Staff Qamar Javed Bajwa in Kabul in October 2017. Both governments agreed during the meeting to organize a meeting between religious leaders from the two countries asking them to issue a fatwa against suicide bombings as something prohibited by religion.

Currently, a dispute has arisen between the two governments as the Afghan president questions the feasibility and legitimacy of a fatwa issued by 1,800 Pakistani religious scholars condemning suicide bombings in general, but does not mention Afghanistan specifically.

President Ghani criticized the fatwa, saying it must cover all of the Muslim world, including Afghanistan.

More than 1,800 Pakistani Muslim clerics have issued an Islamic directive forbidding suicide bombings, in a book published by the government last week entitled "Paigham-e-Pakistan".

The announcement of the publication of the book during a spectacular ceremony in Islamabad, with President Mamnoun Hussein as the main guest.

During the ceremony, the President delivered a speech in which he expressed confidence that the fatwa issued by a large group of clerics from various schools would help address the challenges posed by terrorism, extremism and sectarianism.

President Ashraf Ghani said the Pakistani fatwa should have included the entire Muslim world including Afghanistan.

Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif, however, clarified that the suicide bombing was un-Islamic “whether it takes place on the moon or in any part of the world” in an effort to dispel the impression the move was not sufficient enough to cover Afghanistan.

However, Pakistani government blamed its Afghan counterpart for failing to rally Afghan clerics and urging them to issue a similar fatwa against suicide bombings inside Afghanistan itself.

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, a senior Pakistani official said that they are waiting for the Afghan government to issue a request for clerics inside Afghanistan to issue a similar fatwa against suicide bombings in their country.

The official stressed that Pakistan has committed to that part of the agreement by issuing the directive, reiterating that according to Islamic ideology, any religious fatwa is applicable everywhere in the world.

"Now, we expect Afghanistan to honor its own part of the agreement," the official indicated.

Editor Picks