Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Treacherous role of JUI and JI

June 21, 2009

By Saeed Qureshi

Jamiat Ulama-i- Pakistan (JUI), Jamat-e-Islami (JI) and Awami National Party (Khudai Khidmatgar), among other Muslim political factions, opposed the creation of Pakistan: an independent homeland for the Muslim of British India or the Indian sub continent. After the emergence of Pakistan, these parties assumed the role of spoilers and have been busy in destabilizing the new country.

Amazingly, Pakistan survived despite numerous monumental odds. The heavy inflow of refugees, the military dictatorships ruling half of Pakistan’s existence, the wars with India, the cessation of the formerly East Pakistan, the political anarchy during the initial periods after independence, the dominant prevalence of bureaucracy, the religious parties’ outcry and agitations for making Pakistan an Islamic theocracy, inter alia, were the grave challenges that hung over the nascent state of Pakistan.

The core agenda of these anti Pakistan parties is still the same. There is no change of hearts on the part of these ideologically hard line parties. They remain on the lookout for chances by which they can harm Pakistan. Of late, there seems to be a kind of unbelievable metamorphosis in ANP’s attitude that its leaders are crying hoarse and pledging to defend Pakistan’s integrity and solidarity.

The catch in this strategy is that they have their two enemies fighting with each other: the Pakistan army and the Islamic militants. After the collapse of Soviet Union; their ideological mentor, the ANP, a yester years’ antagonist of Pakistan had no option or way-out but to reconcile with an unpalatable situation.

By replacing the NWFP government of MMA, a conglomeration of religious factions, they got a unique chance to rule the province. Hence the contrived change of heart. Since it is not possible for them to weed out the powerful religious militants such as Taliban and Al-Qaida, they have willingly fallen back on supporting the Pakistan army whose operations suits their aspirations for peaceful governance. They are also pacified with changing the name of the NWFP province with the name of their choice as promised by President Asif Zardari.

Only God knows if they are genuinely sincere with Pakistan or would renege when the tide turns. The army is their need and so is the liquidation of the Taliban and Al-Qaida who can remain a potential threat to their survival. Moreover, revenge against the Taliban and other outlaws is necessary as these were the forces that defeated Soviet Union in Afghanistan depriving ANP of a super protective umbrella.

Jmamat I Islami can claim quite a few achievements that were in consonance with its original agenda of either undoing Pakistan or keeping it in a state of perpetual turmoil so that the country either fragments or dissipates finally. Thanks to their disciplined and indoctrinated adherents, this religio- political party, through intensive and persistent agitations forced the title of Republic of Pakistan changed to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, giving it a theocratic image. This party created conditions that hastened the separation of East Pakistan from the West Pakistan.

In league with other religious and political parties, it forced the beleaguered PPP prime minister, Z.A. Bhutto to enact perfunctory Islamic injunctions such as declaration of Friday as the closed holiday and similar Islamic Sharia injunctions. It aligned with Ziaul Haq to Islamize (or to brutalize) Pakistan in the medieval style. JI known to be Zia’s religious guide had a definite contribution along with other religious outfits in pedaling his Islamization agenda with a host of controversial and oppressive laws.

Those distortions of pristine and noble Islamic code, have contributed to the rise of fundamentalism, obscurantism and retrogression that continues to this day. It would go into the history of the nations as the most brazen deception in the name of Islam for self perpetuation. It got Mr. Bhutto the populist leader and a democratic elected prime minister of Pakistan hanged by a ruthless military dictator.

So we can watch Syed Munawar Hasan, the newly elected fire emitting Amir of JI and Maulana Fazalur Rehman the JUI chief, opposing the military operations against Taliban and Al-Qaida in Swat and elsewhere. Amusingly, in response to a question by the GEO interviewer, Maulana Fazalur Rehman avoided a clear-cut answer to clarify whether he was in favor or not of the military offensive. All he said was that he was going through a process of consultations and could not say anything on his own. His non committal response is tantamount to his disapproval of the military operations.

Before the military offensive, he harped on the tune that Taliban were closing on the federal capital of Pakistan. It was a fear mongering alarm that the chief of JUI blew perhaps to send a message that Pakistan was about to fall in the hands of Taliban and the people must be prepared for that. This conjecture comes to mind because if it was meant to prompt military action against the marauding Taliban, then he would later not oppose such an action which is still underway. Or was it a double-speak like a double edged sword that could cut either way?

For Jamat-e-Islami, the Pakistan military’s role was justifiable when it deposed a democratic government of ZA Bhutto or it was fighting in support of the America against the red army in Afghanistan. Now they label the anti Taliban offensive as an American war although, the army is on the move to remove a formidable internal danger to the stability of Pakistan. They refuse to realize that it is a conflict between Taliban and US one side and Pakistan and Taliban on the other. Do they want Taliban to remain unhurt and keep perpetuating in their ill conceived crusade against the state and civil society of Pakistan?

But factually, the religio-political parties of Pakistan don’t want the army or the civil society to triumph against Taliban. It is not for the love of Taliban or for their outlandish creed, but the fear that henceforth, with the defeat of Taliban, the decline and debacle of religious forces would start. If the action against Taliban or Al-Qaida was so ruinous then other religious forces that have jointly endorsed anti-Taliban military action should have denounced it too.

Despite being ideologically poles apart, the religious brinkmanship or card that JUI or JI have been using to stoke the fires of social chaos in Pakistan,, is now losing its clout and leverage. That is what troubles both JI and JUI with regard to the armed forces ‘ blitz against the Taliban’s religious militancy and extremism.

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