Jamaat-e-Islami’s support for Taliban is unpatriotic

By Saeed Qureshi

The statement of the Chief of Jamaat-I Islami Syed Munawar Hassan in favor of Taliban is unpatriotic and tantamount to endorsing the terrorism against the people and armed forces of Pakistan. This is not the only time that JI has acted as duplicitous about its loyalty Pakistan. It opposed Pakistan when it was being conceived and fought for by the Muslim leaders under the inimitable leadership of Quaid-e-Azam. The founder of JI Maulana Maududi thought himself to be loftier than he Quaid-i- Azam and declared him as Kafir (infidel)

It is high time to decide if Pakistan wants to remain infested with radical forces or distinguish itself as a modern state. After all it is not the sole responsibility of Pakistan to defend Islam. This fundamental obligation devolves on Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern Islamic countries where Islam was born and sprouted. If Saudis are not ready to give a nomenclature to their country as Islamic Republic of Saudi Arabia why Pakistan a South Asian state located thousands of miles far away should brand itself as the Islamic Republic. If the argument is and that was primarily pedaled by Jamaat-e- Islami and the ilk that Pakistan was created in the name of Islam then why they opposed the creation of Pakistan by labeling it as unislamic state.

Apart from the secular and pro Indian National Congress parties like red shirts that opposed the creation of Pakistan, there were also Islamic organizations that were not in favor of an Islamic state within the British India. These were Khaksars, the Deobandi Muslim Movement (later JUI) and the Jamaat-e-Islami founded by Maulana Maududi in 1941.

Had these segments supported Quaid-e-Azam in that historic movement for carving out an independent state for Indian Muslims, the political strength and backing would have been formidable for the founder of Pakistan to claim Pakistan with greater confidence and tenacity. Besides the religio-political outfits, the feudals of West Pakistan also stood in the way of Quaid-e-Azam who was striving for a separate independent homeland for the Muslims of India not on religious grounds but for their being a political entity or nation.

The Jamaat-e-Islami believed that a democratic state can never be Islamic because the power is in the hands of the people and not God. The pinnacle objective of Maulana Maududi behind founding a politico-religious party was the establishment of a pure Islamic state, governed by Sharia law as was prevalent during 29 years of the caliphate of the first four caliphs. Such a government would be run by chaste, pious, and righteous Muslims. It also meant transferring of the global leadership from evil, immoral and unjust to the hands of righteous and faithful servants of almighty God.

 Maulana Maududi did not want Pakistan to come into being because it collided with his concept of a universal Islamic empire with sovereignty resting in God. The fundamental argument of the Jamaat-Islami was that their concept of a universal or global Islamic empire did not fit into a territory-bound country of Pakistan. Maulana depicted Pakistan an un-Islamic state and the Quaid-e-Azam as the biggest infidel.

 Yet one paramount question that boggles the mind is that despite blocking and bitterly opposing its creation of Pakistan, Maulana Maududi and his ideological companions, after partition, had no other place to migrate except Pakistan. Later he said that Pakistan was destined to be become an Islamic state. What a volte face!

They had come to Pakistan with a design to convert it into an Islamic state of their vision and bidding. That was a plan to hijack a progressive Pakistan that Quaid-e-Azam had visualized and that he had literally snatched it from both Indian National Congress and the British colonial masters.

Now how an Islamic state on universal level could be established with God as its sovereign without a territory or place to stand upon? God deputed man in Adam to act and rule on earth as his lieutenant. Maulana Maududi ignored the historical fact that the prophet of Islam spread his divine mission from the territory of Medina. Even a providential empire cannot be founded in the air as the land is indispensable for carrying out a mission such as preaching religion.

 The Jamaat stalwarts and its founders were bitterly opposed to such titles as Muslim Nationalists or Nationalist Muslims that they perceived were like calling a prostitute a pious prostitute. Besides rejecting nationalism based on territory, they were also against socialism, capitalism, communism and even science. How could JI (Jamaat-e- Islami) discard and root out these powerful movments and replace these with a universal caliphate? Would the respective states allow them to do so? It was thus a purely utopian doctrine which was hotly contested later by Maulana Maududi’s own dissident companions.

Now let us suppose that if Muslims lived in an undivided India, would that conform to the model of an Islamic state that Maulana Maududi wanted to create. In larger context even the whole of India would not be sufficient to realize the dream or goal of Jamaat-e-Islami to found a truly Islamic empire or state where only the prototype of Khilafat-e Rashida could be established.

Would the Hindu majority allow them to remain at large to campaign and strive for an Islamic polity and state within the undivided India? It was the kind of Pan-Islamism that was advocated by Syed Jamaluddin Afghani in the 19th century and which met with miserable failure as it could never be achieved.

The gigantic refugees’ problem, the building of national institutions and infrastructure, the framing of a constitution and establishing a democratic form of government were the formidable challenges to which the newly born state of Pakistan was exposed.  The Jamaat’s strategy of turning it into a theocracy by opposing every government, in fact, triggered a process of destabilization and instability in the society.

From day one this party knew that it would be impossible for it to come into power through the democratic process of elections for realizing its myopic dream of ruling the world with Islam as the dominant religion. The Jamaat’s lethal weapon has been its monolithic organization and staunchly committed cadres such as Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba. It was also adept in vicious rumor mongering, and vituperative propaganda to slander and defame its opponents.

The Jamaat’s anti-Ahmadyia movement in 1953 created immense chaos and upheaval. In order to curb those riots, the first martial law was declared in a nascent state that was passing through the crucial process of settling down. One would question as to why the Jamaat did not launch an anti-Ahmadyia campaign in the British India as they were even then non-Muslims. For the countrywide agitations and writing incendiary and hate filled literature, Maulana Maududi was awarded death sentence by the court that was finally commuted.

The Jamaat gave a tough time to president Ayub Khan by staging street agitations and taking out processions forcing him to intimidate and oppress the Jamaat cadres.  The collision with Military regime of Ayub Khan started when Jamaat demanded the restoration of Islamic articles in the constitution of 1962 .The Jamaat was banned in 1964 and its activists were sent to jails

That was the beginning of a process of destabilization which resurfaced from time to time in the subsequent periods.

However, The Jamaat was successful in putting the message across the country that it was a force to reckon with and that it could rock the boat by its street agitations and violent protests, inflammable literature and unrelenting vilification blitz. As stated earlier, the committed and brain-washed Jamaat cadres particularly the Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba were the militant wing of the party that aggressively and violently promoted the arm twisting agenda and belligerency of the Jamaat. Thus they succeeded in capturing the student unions in leading universities and colleges of Pakistan.

Rationally and honestly there should be no objection to Jamaat’s desire to promote its concept of Islamizing the whole world and reviving the pristine era of Khilafat-e Rashida. But the main impediments in its way are the other religious outfits that view the Islamic theology and precepts in different colors. The sectarian cleavages in Islam specifically between the Sunnis and Shias have obviated any possibility of a common code to be followed by the Muslims in Pakistan and elsewhere.

The Jamaat simply puts under the rug the Saudi Arabia monarchy that cannot be defined as an Islamic model because Islam does not allow family dynasties or priesthood (Rahbaniat). Moreover The Saudi Arabia too is a geographical entity that JI wanted to deny to the Muslims of the Subcontinent on the ground that it ran counter to the sovereignty of God on earth. However, the Jamaat’s rabble-rousing ability brought to it the reward in the form of the 1956 constitution (23 March) written by a sympathizer of the Jamaat: the then prime minister of Pakistan and chief of the Nizam-e-Islam party; Ch Muhammad Ali.

It was in that constitution that for the first time the name of the country was adopted as the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. It was a huge victory for Jamaat-i- Islami besides other religious political outfits. Bu that changes spurred a tussle between the secular and conservative forces that continue to this day and that cuts across the unity of the people as one nation without religious categorization and identities.

The Jamaat has been shuttling between the two systems i.e. democracy and dictatorship in the political arena of Pakistan.  It supported Fatima Jinnah as a candidate against general Ayub Khan in 1964 elections. That was in fact a negation and infringement of its own faith that democracy was not a substitute for an Islamic order whose head is always God himself. The Jamaat believes that the law in the shape of Qur’an is already there only to be implemented. In democracy, it contends, the laws are made by the human beings.

Again  they participated in 1970 general elections disregarding that the Jamaat was against the western electoral system and believed in a Shoorai( consultation or collective decision-making) model in which  only a body of pious Muslims is chosen to rule and implement the Quranic laws and traditions of Hadith.

To beef up the onslaught by Pakistan army in East Pakistan in 1971, they mobilized their militant outfits   known as Al-shams and Al-Badr. These brigands indiscriminately and brutally killed the Bengalis who were fighting for their freedom against an army notwithstanding the contention if they were right or wrong. That was certainly the rank opportunism and sheer betrayal of JI of its own professed creed that it would neither support western democracy nor the dictatorship but only the rule and sovereignty of God on earth and enforcement of Shariah.

Their spine-chilling atrocities through JI’s Bengali cohorts were returned by Mukti-Behni in gruesome massacres and barbaric slaughtering of the west Pakistanis including the men in uniform. For the cessation of East Pakistan, JI bears equal responsibility besides the chauvinistic and moronic military junta and political opportunists like Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.

Contrary to its Islamic fervor for righteous rulers, they supported and sided with three dictators namely Yahya Khan, Ziaul Haq and lately general Pervez Musharraf It had also projected itself as the strongest and most trenchant ideological, political supporter and steadfast ally of General Ziaul-Haq, the latter day self-styled crusader who wanted to Islamize Pakistan and impose a defunct, narrow and radical model of Islam by brutal means.

In their unconditional loyalty and unstinted capitulation to General Zia they were able to send Zulfikar Ali Bhutto to the gallows. When Bhutto was in Rawalpindi jail they spread the rumors that the Palestinians guerrillas were planning to get him out jail. Thereafter, Bhutto’s cell was fortified with concrete walls and placed under maximum surveillance. The night Mr. Bhutto was hanged; Mian Muhammad Tufail was in constant touch with General Zia.

The JI’s third show of support was for general Musharraf against an elected and constitutional government. But they see in the dictators an easy prey for their narrow demands and phony objectives to be realized As such they forget the virtues of Islamic caliphate and divine rule on earth and stand behind the ruthless and power hungry dictators.

The dictatorship is in fact close to the perception of fundamentalist parties like JI as a shortcut for the enforcement of an Islamic order of their choice. So let us call this an unworthy bid for attainment of base motives and grabbing of power under the guise of Islam: a religion that shuns such intrigues aimed at self perpetuation and aggrandizement.

This party is now in coalition with Pakistan Tehrik-Insaf (PTI). What would happen to PTI with such a smart partner is a story in the making that would be unraveled in due course of time. But while the PTI thus far a robust supporter of TTP has surprisingly, supported the military action against the Taliban, the Jamaat has openly denounced the Pakistan Air Force’s surgical strikes on Taliban dens.

It demonstrates the inner disregard of the JI towards the army and for that matter sheer apathy towards the people of Pakistan being brutally massacred by the later day monsters. It also shows that the JI supports the Islamic outlook of Taliban that is far from real Islam. They have not condemned the Taliban for their war on Pakistan which means that JI is complacent on their savagery and terrorism that is destabilizing Pakistan. That means destabilization of Pakistan was at the core of JI’s policy that conforms to their original plank of either turning Pakistan into a hardcore theocracy or else its extinction.

The writer is a senior journalist, former editor of Diplomatic Times and a former diplomat. 

Categories: Asia, Pakistan

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