Yasser Latif Hamdani@theRealYLH
October 14, 2019
As Maulana Fazlur Rahman’s so called Azadi March fast approaches, it is important for both PMLN and PPP to recall the historical antecedents of the Maulana and his party. His father Maulana Mufti Mahmood was a leading light of the Jamiat-e-Ulema-Hind and one of the most firebrand opponents of the Muslim League and the Pakistan Movement. Mufti Mahmood was amongst those ulema, led by Maulana Ahmad Hassan Madni who claimed that the leaders of the Muslim League, especially Mr. Jinnah, were westernized almost-Kafirs and that the Pakistan they were going to make was going to be un-Islamic. After partition the JUH remnants in Pakistan merged themselves into Shabbir Ahmad Usmani’s Jamiat-e-Ulema Islam. By 1956 they had taken over that party defeating the Usmanis and the Thanvis. In 1971 Mufti Mahmood uttered that famous sentence “Thank God we were not part of the sin of making Pakistan.” In 1974 after successfully initiating and leading the agitation against Ahmadis, Mufti and his allies prevailed on Bhutto to pass the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan which was an abject surrender to religious bigotry and fanaticism. Not content though with Bhutto’s appeasement, Mufti then led the nine party alliance called PNA against Bhutto’s government in 1977 in the name of “Nizam-e-Mustafa.” This laid the foundations of 11 years of radicalization of Pakistan under General Zia.
It is true that in 1988 the deep state that cobbled together the IJI looked at Sami-ul-Haq faction of the JUI more favourably than Fazlur-e-Rahman’s faction but Fazlur Rahman was no less a committed ideologue and mouthpiece for the Taliban than Maulana Sami-ul-Haq. In 2002 Fazlur Rahman was the prime ministerial candidate for MMA against Zafrullah Khan Jamali of PMLQ and Shah Mahmood Qureshi of PPP. Ironically the single member of the PTI in the assembly, Imran Khan, voted for Fazlur Rahman while denouncing Jamali and Qureshi as pro-Musharraf crooks. In 2002 Maulana Fazlur Rahman was for Imran Khan the epitome of religious virtue, upright character. Obviously the longer game played by establishment in the cobbling together of MMA was entirely lost on Pakistan’s future Prime Minister. The MMA government in the then NWFP province was to brought into power to put pressure on the Americans. As quid pro quo, the MMA helped pass Musharraf’s 17th Amendment in the parliament.
Suddenly faced with accusations of misusing slogans of Khatme Nabuwat and other religious rhetoric, the Maulana recently inducted Christian bishops and Hindu pandits in the Jamiat-e-Ulema-Islam as evidence of his inclusive nature
The point I am making here is that other than having historically anti-Pakistan antecedents such as his father Mufti Mahmood, Maulana Fazlur Rahman has also always been the establishment’s man. If at times he spoke against them, it was to gain to leverage against the late Maulana Sami-ul-Haq who was ranked above him in usefulness to the establishment. The question of why the establishment supports such unsavoury characters in the first place is obviously one that ought to be asked more often than it is but that is not the purpose of this article. Maulana Fazlur Rahman’s new rival since 2011 for the affections of Pakistan’s establishment has been none other than his one-time ally Imran Khan. His Azadi March therefore is like a bidding war and it seems to have piqued the interest of powers that be. Suddenly faced with accusations of misusing slogans of Khatme Nabuwat and other religious rhetoric (something which is a family legacy for the Maulana since the 1930s), the Maulana recently inducted Christian bishops and Hindu pandits in the Jamiat-e-Ulema-Islam as evidence of his inclusive nature. In reality it is nothing but unholy matrimony of the kind Mahatma Gandhi entered into when he allied himself with the Khilafat cause in the 1920s.Nevertheless I suppose there is at least one positive out of this whole sordid mess. Ijaz Shah’s ridiculous statement that Maulana would not want to be compared to Pandit Nehru by choosing October 27th as the date for the march is indicative of the naivety that these doyens of establishment vis a vis history. Fazlur Rahman’s own glorious family history is closely entwined with Gandhi and Nehru. Why would he be ashamed of it? He has made no secret about the fact that he and his family proudly opposed Jinnah and the Muslim League. Once asked by journalist Dr Shahid Masood in 2003-2004 about his inclusion in the National Security Council that he opposed, Maulana replied candidly “We were against the creation of Pakistan also but here we are.” In 2005-2006 Jamiat-e-Ulema-Islam under his leadership declared that the founder of the nation was not a real freedom fighter. The antipathy to Pakistan runs deep in Maulana’s blood. One can only wonder then as to how brainless our interior minister has to be to claim something like this?
So my appeal to the leadership of Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz and Pakistan People’s Party is to not walk into this trap. Maulana Fazlur Rahman is a cynical and bigoted politician with no love for Pakistan. His objective is to replace Imran Khan as the establishment’s preferred choice and somehow become the Prime Minister of Pakistan. In doing this he will accuse Imran Khan of being a Zionist proxy and a “Qadiani-agent”. Imran Khan himself did this to PMLN in 2017-2018. This government needs to be opposed on grounds that it is utterly incompetent when it comes to administration and economy. It should not be opposed on fallacious grounds and a hate-filled bigoted agenda. PPP and PMLN should stay far away from this new charlatan because this is just another wrong turn or to borrow the phrase from the Indian film PK a wrong number. You’ve been warned.
The writer is is an Advocate of the High Courts of Pakistan