|Syed Munawar Hassan||Syed Munawar Hassan||Jamaat-i-Islami||India-Pakistan||20020623|
|Syed Munawar Hassan||Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal||India-Pakistan||20020623|
|Syed Munawar Hassan||Jamaat-i-Islami Pakistan||Afghanistan/South Asia||20020418|
|State vs clerics|
|[DAWN] THE religious right in the country is once again in a state of fervent agitation. Ostensibly, this is because theAssembly recently passed a historic women’s rights law. Yet, other provinces have passed similar, arguably more robust, laws in recent times and there has been little outcry. The difference this time may be the straits the religious right has found itself in and its urgent need to put pressure on the federal government -- the PML-N -- to reverse policies that have caused it to lose ground in the public arena. The signs are several. The conference convened by the in Mansoora on Tuesday saw many speakers veer away from the Punjab law and condemn the hanging of Mumtaz Qadri and the clampdown on the activities of the Tableeghi Jamaat. More remarkably, in attendance were avowed anti-democrats like , whose interest in parliamentary democracy is nil. The constellation of ignominy that gathered in Mansoora clearly has wider goals than simply nullification of a pro-women law.|
The recent fulminations of Fazlur Rehman, the JUI-F chief, give an indication of what those wider goals may be. In evoking the spectre of a PNA-style opposition alliance, the maulana appears to be seeking unity of the religious right so as to put concerted pressure on the centre, with the intention of either bringing down the federal government or aggressively increasing the public space for the religious right and its partners. Behind those grand schemes lies a harsh reality: the JUI-F and its political and cohorts face an existential crisis. The National Action Plan made explicit for the first time the need to combat religiously motivated militancy and also called for the regulation of the sprawling network of madressahs across the country. In truth, however, the slow collision between the state and religious right had already begun. The infamous outburst of Munawar Hassan in November 2013, in which the former JI chief condemned Pak soldiers drawing a sharp response from the military, may have set the parameters of conflict and dissent.
What remains to be seen is how firm the PML-N will stand in this ideological conflict between the forces of regression and those on the right side of history. Pakistain must return to the vision of its founding father and become the progressive, modern and thoroughly democratic country that the Quaid wanted it to be. Thus far, the PML-N has surprised with its willingness to dabble in more progressive and forward-thinking politics. Yet, its mettle has not truly been tested. The Punjab Assembly is little more than a rubber stamp for the Sharif family’s pet projects. The hanging of Mumtaz Qadri was cleared by the courts. Now comes the real baptism of fire -- stand firm and stand tall against the religious right and the PML-N will earn itself a place in history. Crumble now and history will be less forgiving.
|Enter the subtle cranks|
|[DAWN] A curious column in an Urdu daily recently asked whether all those Pakistanis who have been holding candlelight vigils for the victims of terrorism, have become Catholics?|
The writer seemed quite incensed by the ever-growing practice of men, women and children lighting candles in the memory of the many Pakistani civilians and soldiers who have been butchered by armed extremists.
He thinks this is a ‘Catholic practice’. The display picture of the author suggests he is way beyond middle-age. So I wanted to advise him: Sir, be wise, not just old.
Nevertheless, his silly question and allusions did make me wonder, how many forms of bigotry based on both ill-informed as well as diabolical distortions of faith a Pakistani has to face even if he or she just wants to quietly express a moment of sadness about an heartless act of brutality supposedly perpetrated in the name of the Almighty.
It’s easy to pinpoint those who proudly claim that the murdering of men, women and children (by them) is some kind of a holy duty ordained by the Almighty for the establishment of a sacred Utopia on Earth. It has also become easy to point out the ‘apologist’ — that strange, sly creature using public forums to diplomatically rationalise and at times even justify what are sheer acts of barbarity by those he has a soft corner for.
But the recent wave of unprecedented anger cutting across a majority of Pakistanis after the monstrous terror attack on school children in Peshawar by armed extremists, is giving birth to yet another, subtler, breed of apologist.
The exhibitionistic extremists are being condemned like never before and their apologists are being shamed in the media in ways that have clearly flabbergasted them.
So it was only natural (especially in a troubled society such as ours) that the lunatic fringe now generates a more subtle brand of apologists into the mainstream scheme of things.
The newspaper column deriding all those Pakistanis who hold candlelight vigils as possible Catholics is a good example of what this new kind of an apologist is all about.
The wise gentleman had nothing much to say about the Peshawar tragedy, nor on the overwhelming issues of terrorism and extremism that are devouring the country. He had nothing to say about the military operation against extremist militants nor on the much anticipated plan of the government to roll out a strict anti-terror policy.
No, sir, these seem to be minor irritants for the gentleman compared to the apocalyptic practice of (supposedly) behaving like Catholics by holding candlelight vigils!
So why do it? Most probably one was a full-blown apologist, but knowing that the typical modus operandi of explaining acts of terror as being acts of liberation may now sound entirely awful, why not begin to question the religious convictions of those who are getting more press these days for condemning and denouncing what to him were not-so-denouncable.
The new apologists, now unable to confess that they might have been wrong (if not entirely stupid) to have believed that the extremists were actually some kind of revolutionary romantics, have instead decided to wag their fingers at the condemners.
Of course, the old apologists did the same by constantly questioning the religious and patriotic dispositions of the condemners, but before Peshawar, the number of such people was far less than what it is today.
When the populist media was pressurised by the public outrage against the Peshawar attack, it quickly adopted the narrative of the condemners. This was also because this narrative has been mushrooming within the armed forces as well, especially ever since General Raheel Sharif took over as COAS almost a year ago.
When images of civil society members protesting in Islamabad against the radical and controversial cleric of the Red Mosque began to circulate in the social media (with the hashtag, #ReclaimYourMosques), among the many jubilant and passionate comments were also comments such as this: ‘How can they reclaim mosques when none of them (the protesters) even visit them?’
I found such comments to be rather funny, but rest assured, those making them were quite somber. The idea now was to attack the religious convictions of those who were attacking the religious convictions of men who had attacked hundreds of school children in the name of a holy war.
After all, if you can’t join the condemners, confuse those who are now applauding them. Hey, look, they don’t pray; Hey, beware, they are following Catholicism ...
Though the new chief of the Jamaat-i-Islami, Sirajul Haq, has done well to distance the party from the reactionary rhetorical legacy of the party’s former chief, Munawar Hassan, yet, he couldn’t help but recently suggest that ‘some people were using the recent rage against terrorism as a way to expunge religion from school text books ...’
I wonder how by pointing out that the books being taught in our schools and seminaries are riddled with biases, is one is expunging faith from them.
We have been using such text books ever since the early 1970s but have they helped us in building a more literate, morally upright and uncorrupt society? Quite the contrary.
But why worry about school books at this precious and tense hour? What was attempted to be deflected, or expressed? Was it that the outrage against those who exploit and distort faith to justify their violence is an outrage against faith itself? Do explain.
Today more than ever a majority of Pakistanis are on the same boat. Each one of us has to be on the same page as well by setting aside ideological and political biases and grudges. Unity indeed is the need of the hour.
|New JI leader from KP raises worries for some|
|[Dawn] The election of new chief of from may not be a coincidence, as political analysts feel that groundwork for strengthening the party in the militancy infested region had started in 1980s.|
The election of KP Senior Minister Sirajul Haq as the new JI chief has created apprehensions among many as the JI leadership shifted from urbanised scholarly figures to a comparatively younger member hailing from a remote district who physically participated in holy war against Soviet forces in Afghanistan in 1980s.
Founded by Syed Abul Ala Maududi, a scholar, theologian and socio-political philosopher in Lahore in 1941, JI was considered as an urban based and educated middle class party having roots in big cities like and Lahore.
Political analysts say that JI -- which was led by who belonged to a small town of Nowshera district for 22 years, more than Maulana Maududi -- has changed the Jamaat from a mainstream party to a regional entity.
Prof Ijaz Khattak, who teaches in University of 's International Relations Department, says there is a visible change in the character of the JI, which had sufficient vote bank and street power in Karachi and Lahore.
"JI, which was dominated by the urban based educated middle class, has now been confined to a small mountainous district like Lower Dir and has been taken over by Pakhtuns," he observed, adding that feudal class which has its own mentality and thinking has also made inroads in JI.
"It was expected that will galvanise the party in urban areas, but he failed and election of Sirajul Haq strengthened this argument that Jamaat has been restricted to Lower Dir," said Dr Khattak.
Late Qazi Hussain who was elected JI chief in 1987 is considered the longest serving chief of Jamaat who relinquished office in April 2009. He was succeeded by Munawar Hassan.
Insiders said that during his two decades long tenure as Jamaat chief, late Qazi Hussain had relaxed and simplified the process of getting the status of 'Rukn' (member of Jamaat having the vote right). The 'Rukn' can cast vote in the election of emir or chief of the party.
They said that a large number of people from KP and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas were given the status of 'Rukn' of Jamaat during Qazi's era. Initially, they said that it took three to four years for a person to become 'Rukn' of JI.
"There are two factors which played a major role in the victory of Sirajul Haq against Munawar Hassan and Liaquat Baloch, another stalwart of JI from Lahore. First, a significant number of Pakhtuns has become 'Arakeen' or members and second, Mr Haq is more popular among young 'Arakeen' than Mr Hassan and Mr Baloch," said one analyst, who once was active member of Jamaat. He believed that 60 per cent of all the 'Arakeen' were young.
JI provincial information secretary Israrullah advocate said that the number of 'Arakeen' was approximately 31,000 of which about 8,000 belonged to the KP and Fata. Females also have the right to vote.
"This impression is wrong that Pakhtuns have voted for Sirajul Haq," he said and maintained that under the party constitution candidates could neither make a lobby nor run a campaign for themselves.
Another analyst said that Sirajul Haq was a very good orator that was why he was more popular among the JI workers than other leaders.
Mohammad Riaz, Islamabad-based political analyst, said that election of Sirajul Haq was an indication that JI was on the verge of decline both politically and academically as aggressive group had dominated the moderate circle in the party.
Maulana Maududi was a scholar and had command over different subjects, Mr Riaz opined, adding that the late Maulana had formed JI to provide common platform to all school of thoughts.
Before his election Sirajul Haq was senior deputy emir of the party and had also served as provincial chief of JI. He opposes co-education and supports separate assembly for female s in the province.
He had also served as head of Islami Jamaat Talba, a student wing of JI. His close associates and rivals said that Sirajul Haq had actively participated in the Afghan war when Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979.
Senator Zahid Khan of Awami National Party associates election of new JI chief with changing geo-strategic scenario across the Durand Line. He said that when Afghan war was at peak Qazi Hussain Ahmad was elected JI chief and he was given a task in Afghanistan.
After five years, he said, another Pakhtun was elected JI emir, which he termed very worrisome. "This is not a coincidence and deliberately another Pakhtun has been elected Jamaat chief at a time when situation is changing in Afghanistan.
"His election is not in the interest of the region," remarked Zahid Khan who also belongs to Lower Dir. He said: "I know Siraj since he was associated with Hizbe-e-Islami chief Gulbadin Hikmatyar whose group is still very active in of Afghanistan." He said that the JI and HI shared same ideology and Jamaat would again play active role in Afghanistan.
|Sirajul Haq elected as new JI chief|
|[DAWN] 's Senior Minister and leader of the (JI), Sirajul Haq, was elected on Sunday as the new ameer of the party replacing outgoing chief , DawnNews reported.|
A meeting of the party's consultative body was held at Mansoora during which election for the post of the party chief took place.
The three contenders who participated in the polls were Sirajul Haq, outgoing party chief Syed Munawar Hassan and the party's general secretary Liaqat Baloch.
Out of 31,311 office-bearer's of the party, 25,533 people voted in which Sirajul Haq managed to secure majority of votes.
The party chief is elected for a tenure of five years.
Haq is a senior member of the party and is well-versed in several languages including Urdu, Pashto, Persian, Arabic and others.
He is renowned among his followers for his modesty and apart from serving as a Senior Minister in the KP government, was also performing the duties of the party's deputy chief since 2009.
|JI asks PM to seek Mullah Omar's help for peace|
|[DAWN] chief has asked Prime Minister to seek help from Afghan Taliban supreme leader Mullah Mohammad Omar for restoration of peace.|
"The prime minister should send a delegation to and seek his help for the restoration of peace in Pakistain," he suggested while addressing party workers at the JI provincial secretariat here on Sunday.
He proposed that Mr Sharif should arrange a joint meeting of the two negotiation committees to pave the way for peace in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.
He said that the military leadership could also be included in the talks. Prof Mohammad Ibrahim and other leaders of the party were also present on the occasion, said a .
Mr Hasan said that durable peace could not be established in any society through the use of force. For instance, he said that the had failed to subjugate Afghanistan and now America and its allies were pulling their forces from the neighbouring country.
"The rulers should realise that peace can't be restored without table talks," he said, adding that military operation would create more complications in Fata. He recalled that use of force had resulted in the creation of Bangladesh, and Pakistain could not afford adventurism.
The JI chief said that the Constitution was being violated in and Sindh, but the government was not taking notice, while sacrifices of the tribal people were being ignored.
He warned that thousands of people would be rendered homeless if the government launched military operation in Fata. He alleged that the American and Indian lobbies were very active to destabilise Pakistain.
In Nowshera, coordinator of Taliban committee Maulana Yousaf Shah told Dawn by phone on Sunday that he and Prof Ibrahim had handed over a detailed report of their meeting with Taliban political shura to Maulana , the chief of Taliban negotiation committee.
He said that now Maulana Samiul Haq wanted to immediately convene a consultative meeting of the Taliban negotiation committee to discuss the emerging situation.
Yousaf Shah appealed to both the government and Taliban to show flexibility in their stands for the sake of innocent citizens. "Military operation is not a solution to the existing problems," he said.
He disclosed that they had contacted the top leadership of Taliban and Taliban political Shura and its report had been presented to Samiul Haq.
|Peace talks: Clerics demand immediate ceasefire from both sides|
|[DAWN] A gathering of about 40 s and religious leaders has appealed to both the government and Talibs to immediately announce a ceasefire and pursue negotiations to restore peace in Pakistain.|
In a joint statement issued by the Ulema and Mashaikh Convention which gathered in Lahore on Saturday, religious leaders discouraged the use of a military option and emphasised on dialogue as a durable solution for peace.
The gathering, which concluded in a press briefing led by coordinator of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain nominated talks committee Maulana , consented on urging both sides to immediately announce ceasefire.
"Peace talks are the only viable solution...war can never bring peace," said Haq, flanked by several other religious leaders including chief Munawar Hassan and leading Allama Tahir Ashrafi.
"Big powers have witnessed the outcome of war in Afghanistan. A military operation will only hurl the country further towards destruction. The should be made successful at all costs," he added.
Reading out the joint statement, Haq said that dialogue was the only solution to the problems being faced by the country. "We will have to unite to defeat the forces trying tot sabotage the ."
"We appeal to the Taliban to speak in the language of peace," said the joint statement, urging both sides to immediately announce a ceasefire.
The meeting reiterated its confidence in the peace talks committee headed by Maualana Samiul Haq.
|Bin Laden is alive in people's hearts, says Jamaat chief|
Hassan added that death of the Al Qaeda leader was considered a big victory for 60 per cent of the countries around the world, but the US is afraid that Bin Laden will come back to life after the withdrawal of Nato troops from Afghanistan.
Commenting on the pullout of foreign troops, the JI chief remarked that Afghanistan has become the "graveyard of science and technology" of the West.
In May, 2011 Bin Laden was shot dead deep in Abbottabad in a night-time helicopter raid by US covert forces, ending a decade-long manhunt for the mastermind of the September 11 attacks.
|'No shariah through suicide attacks, no peace through airstrikes'|
|[DAWN] Taking a slightly different position from their traditional view point, (JI) chief Friday said that neither bombings ( s) can help restore peace nor s could pave way for the enforcement of Islamic Shariah.|
Addressing the congregation of Friday prayers at Mansoora mosque -- the JI headquarters -- he said that religious forces, especially Deobandi s should step forward and pave way for dialogue to save the country and also to prevent the emergence of a wrong image of Islam.
The JI chief alleged that the Pakistain League-Nawaz (PML-N) did not hold peace talks with Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain (TTP) upon pressure asserted by the United States.
Defending the Pak Taliban's ideology, he said the notion that Taliban do not comply with law and constitution was propaganda that was being spread for some 'special purpose'.
"The government was fulfilling a longstanding wish of the US by destroying North ."
Hasan said if the religious forces did not rise at this moment, they would be driven to a blind alley and would have no way out.
He claimed the religious parties had played a key role in framing the 1973 constitution, and it was their duty at this juncture to protect the country and the constitution.
"A charge sheet has been issued against the religious parties and they would have to answer that."
The JI chief said that enemies had always used the differences between the Islamic sects and schools of thought as a weapon.
"The need of the hour is that the Ulema ( ) of Deobandi school of thought sit down with the Shias, the Ahle Hadith, and Ahle Sunnah to evolve an effective strategy to counter the current campaign against Islam."
Therefore, he added, it was the duty of the religious forces to go ahead with the talks with the Taliban.
"Since a majority of the Taliban belongs to the Deobandi school of thought, it was for the Deobandi Ulema to take up this responsibility," he said.
|When an ideologue is popular|
|[DAWN] FOR someone who has grown up alongside, appears to personally illustrate the various moods associated with his party men.|
|IJT -- a sardonic joke? -- Kunwar Khuldune Shahid|
|[Pak Daily Times] The Islami Jamaat-e-Tulaba (IJT), the student wing of the (JI), has metamorphosed into a bit of a joke in recent times -- one that is more sardonic than funny. The IJT resorts to violence ostensibly to safeguard their much touted ideology of peace; vie to safeguard women's integrity by harassing them into conforming to their version of modesty; declare a man responsible for the killing of thousands of fellow citizens a 'martyr'; earn their proverbial bread and butter courtesy anti-US chants despite supporting the US being a part of their raison d'etre, and sometimes they set buses ablaze merely days after complaining about the lack of buses on their campus.|
Last week, IJT activists clashed with , the Punjab University (PU) administration and, for all practical purposes, most of Lahore, after being ordered to clear hostel number 16 for the accommodation of girls, which resulted in chaos and a traffic blockade on University Road. Hostel number 16 and hostel number one are renowned hubs of the IJT but that was not the only reason the PU administration took the decision to convert it to a girls' hostel. It was also a manoeuvre to balance skewed accommodations since, despite formulating virtually half of the student strength in the university, the girls still do not have sufficient rooms.
For the university administration, it was an act of hitting two birds with one stone but, for the IJT, the stone struck the spot where it hurts them the most since it pinched the organization's nerve centre with booze, bhang and bullets being dug out of rooms in hostel number 16. While the former is one of the many aspects that add scorn to the sardonic joke, it is the latter that makes it not quite so funny, especially after a member of al Qaeda's 'suicide squad' was from the hostel in September this year after being sheltered by the IJT.
When the of 9/11, Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, was arrested from a JI women's wing leader's house in Rawalpindi almost a decade ago, the JI's links with al Qaeda were -- or should have been -- established. handlers of the terrorist organization's suicide squad staying in university hostels is a different kettle of fish altogether.
The newly surfacing alliance between the IJT and al Qaeda is more menacing than the many linkages that exist of the establishment and political parties, going all the way down to the grassroots. The IJT have their stranglehold in most top universities and colleges in Pakistain while the JI has a massive financial influx solely dedicated to bolstering the aforementioned alliance under the shroud of running schools, madrassas and charities.
The killing of Abdur Rehman, an IJT activist in a drone strike in North on November 29, 2013, has further thrown some extremely deadly cats among very vulnerable pigeons. Abdur Rehman, who was involved in the Mehran Naval Base attack, was an NED student, expelled from the university owing to severe shortage of attendance. The fact that he was killed in a drone strike adds credence to the security agencies' claim that members of the IJT are now well and truly an active part of al Qaeda. And have been for over a decade now.
While the security agencies have unravelled how IJT activists have been recruited to be trained by al Qaeda (a process started by the Islamic Medical Association's president, Dr Arshad Waheed) over the past decade, echoes of the JI and IJT being banned are reverberating from various quarters as well since the 'Shaheedgate' episode starring JI chief Munawar Hassan, which saw the establishment turn against its historic chum. Even so, a more pertinent question than the potential banning of the JI is ensuring the security of campuses all over Pakistain where the IJT is providing 'guest rooms' for al Qaeda to stay in. When some of the most wanted are seen 'hanging out' in some of the biggest universities in the country, the vulnerability of the security situation is self-explanatory.
The JI and the IJT are proving themselves to be a political smokescreen for terrorist organizations, and their reaction following Hakeemullah Mehsud's killing showcases where their allegiance lies quite unambiguously. Maybe taking a leaf out of Bangladesh's book would be a great idea for Pakistain but, before that, some serious security measures need to be taken to make sure the sardonic joke of student politics is purged out of university campuses. For, the worst of worst fears could come true if al Qaeda has the last laugh.
|IHC moved against Munawar for comments against Army|
|[Pak Daily Times] The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has been moved for restraining from acting as amir of (JI) for "ridiculing armed forces of Pakistain".|
Shahid Orakzai, through a petition filed on Tuesday, pleaded that statements given by Syed Munawar Hassan and silence of the government on this count can jeopardise national security. The court was told that Munawar Hassan was among the three persons who were nominated as guarantors by a private militia which accepts the responsibility for attacks on armed forces with pride. The respondent, he said, paid tribute to this militia and has dubbed violence committed by it as acts meant for safeguarding the ideological and geographical frontiers of the country.
The petitioner questioned whether any political party or its head is entitled to make religious announcements in connection with a war on their own. "If the high court accepts such right of any party then it should issue a certificate in this regard," he added.
|JI chief rapped over army remarks|
|[Pak Daily Times] Leaders of different political parties on Monday expressed their reservations on JI chief Munawar Hassan on coming Friday. Media reports said the SIC said in its statement that Munawar committed an act of treason, calling Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain (TTP) chief Hakimullah Mehsud a martyr. Majlis Wahdat-e- een (MWM) said that dead could not be declared as , JI chief should tender apology for controversial statements. Addressing a on Monday, MWM chief Allama Nasir Abbas Jafri said it is wrong to express sympathies for terrorists. Separately, a local Jirga in called for apology from Munawar Hasan for declaring as . The jirga, which was held in Naik Pekhel area of Swat on Monday, asked Hasan to backtrack from his controversial statement.for issuing a controversial statement against the martyred of armed forces and those who had laid down their lives in the war against terrorism. In his message on social website Twitter, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto said Hassan's statement was not a political one. He insulted our soldiers and praised the enemy. Army had every right to issue that statement, he tweeted. A day earlier, Bilawal had urged the Supreme Court (SC) to take suo moto notice on the statement The Awami National Party (ANP) asked the JI chief to review the controversial statement against the martyred of security forces. Talking to s outside the Parliament House, ANP leaders Zahid Khan and Afarasiab Khattak said their party had moved an adjournment motion against the JI in the Senate. They regretted that that -Fazl (JUI-F) and Pakistain Tehrik-e-Insaaf (PTI) had not yet responded to the statement of JI chief. Opposition leader in National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah also criticised the JI Chief Manwar Hassan for issuing a controversial statement against the martyred of armed forces. "The statement of JI Chief has anguished the sentiments of the families of martyred, who have sacrificed their lives to safeguard frontiers of the motherland," he told s outside Parliament House. Shah said Munwar Hassan had declared Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain (TTP) chief Hakeemullah Mehsood martyred while in past he had even said that he did not know him. Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) announced to stage nationwide protest against|