A day before the scheduled visit of Raja Pervez Ashraf to the famous dargah of Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti in Ajmer, the spiritual head of the 13th century shrine on Friday announced boycott of the Pakistan Prime Minister in protest against the recent attack on Indian soldiers near the Line of Control in Jammu & Kashmir.
He said he would not receive Mr. Ashraf inside the dargah.
Dargah Dewan Syed Zainul Abedin Ali Khan also ascribed his decision to the “continuing atrocities against minorities” in Pakistan and lack of measures for protection of their places of worship. “As the first person to welcome the heads of countries, I have decided not to ask for an entry pass for the dargah,” he said in a statement.
Mr. Khan, who claims lineage to the Sufi mystic and enjoys the status of hereditary “Sajjadanashin” (spiritual head) of the tomb, said the Pakistani soldiers’ “inhuman act” of beheading an Indian jawan and not returning the head with due apologies was not only against international military norms but had also violated the basic tenets of Islam.
“I expected the Pakistan Prime Minister to bring back the head of the Indian martyr and tender an apology to the people of India and the family of the soldier. Only after this, his visit to the dargah would have led to the beginning of [a new phase of] friendly relations between the two countries,” he said.
Mr. Khan said though Pakistan claimed to be an Islamic republic, it was not following the teachings of Islam in their true spirit. “Islam enjoins upon its followers to live in peace with their neighbours. Pakistani politicians defy the Islamic values and promote terrorism in India and kill innocent people,” he said.
Despite the Centre registering its strong protest with Pakistan in the matter, the latter had not taken any action against the guilty Army personnel, Mr. Khan pointed out.
However, the Khadims (workers) will be receiving Mr. Ashraf and his family members and conduct the ‘Ziarat’ (pilgrimage) rituals for them. According to the Anjuman Khuddam Syedzadgan, a representative body of Khadims, a warm welcome would be accorded to the Premier during his visit.
The Dargah Dewan and Khadims are the two centres of power in the historic shrine in Ajmer. The two sides have been at loggerheads over the division of offerings at the tomb and fighting legal battles for many years.