Jama'at e Islami members have broken the long tradition of re-electing their serving chiefs. Jama'at-e-Islami Pakistan is unique as the only political party in the entire South Asia region which is not family-owned or dynastic and holds regular credible elections. In recent elections, the Jam'atis have rejected Munawwar Hasan's candidacy and replaced him with the KP Jama'at chief Siraj ul Haq. Most Jama'at watchers believe Munawwar Hasan is being seen as a serious liability by majority of Jama'at members since he made statements openly endorsing the Taliban war on the Pakistani state, its institutions, and innocent civilians.
|Siraj ul Haq (L) and Munawwar Hasan (R)|
Few Pakistanis know that the Taliban movement was midwifed by Benazir Bhutto with crucial support of Jama'at's ideological rival Maulana Fazl ur Rehman, the leader of Jamiat Ulema Islam which ran many madrassas in the tribal belt along Pakistani border with Afghanistan. Benazir's right-hand man and interior minister Naseerullah Babar was instrumental in building the Taliban during her term in office in 1993-1996.
Before Benazir decided to help create the Taliban, the Pakistani establishment (Army and ISI) favored the Afghan Mujahedeen leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar who was aligned with the Jamat-e-Islami, Maulana Fazl ur Rehman's main rival Islamic political party in Pakistan. Maulana Maudoodi, the founder of Jamaat-e-Islami was considered a Kafir by many of Maulana Fazl ur Rehman's fellow Deobandis. Both Maulana Fazal and Benazir intensely disliked the Jamat-e-Islami leadership. Jamat-e-Islami had supported late Gen Zia ul Haq who executed Benazir's father and former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in 1979. Maulana Fazlur Rehman saw this as an opportunity to edge out Jamat-e-Islami by aligning himself with Benazir Bhutto to create and nurture the Taliban who opposed Gulbuddin Hikmetyar.
|Page 1 of TTP Leader Khurasani Letter to Jamaat-e-Islami's Siraj ul Haq|
Since the change in the Jama'at leadership was announced, the TTP leadership has written a letter to the new Amir of Jama'at-e-Islami Siraj ul Haq reminding him that "our destination is the same but the difference is in the modus operandi to achieve it.". TTP leader Omar Khalid Khurasani, the man who recently claimed responsibility for brutally beheading 26 Pakistani soldiers in his captivity, has asked the new Jama'at leader to "carry forward the mission of Syed Munawwar Hassan without compromise".
|Page 2 of TTP Leader Khurasani Letter to Jamaat-e-Islami's Siraj ul Haq|
It will be interesting to see how Siraj ul Haq responds to TTP's expectations. Is he going to try and appease them? Or take a more uncompromising position as Qazi Husain Ahmed did?
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Jamat e Islami is the only political party in Pakistan which practices internal democracy. It holds regular elections for its various posts, including its chief.
Very interesting. Thank you, Riaz sb.
THE Jamaat-i-Islami is Pakistan’s only mainstream political party which practises internal democracy. Sirajul Haq’s election as emir on Sunday after a trilateral contest reaffirms this point in a country where most parties are controlled by political dynasties. This is true of South Asia at large. In India, the Nehru family monopolises the leadership of one of the biggest parties, the Indian National Congress — Rahul is the fifth generation Nehru. In Sri Lanka, the Bandaranaike family has phased out, but in Bangladesh Khaleda Zia and Sheikh Hasina Wajed have for decades headed the parties representing their husband and father respectively. One reason for the JI’s democratic structure is the fact that it is an ideological party. Ghaffar Khan’s party, too, was ideological in Pakistan’s early decades. But barring the election of Ajmal Khattak as its chief, Bacha Khan’s party — its name changing many times — went back to the family fold. As inevitably happens, such parties split not on principles but because of family quarrels. Today Begum Nasim Wali Khan heads her own party but with the same nomenclature.
The PPP is in a class by itself. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is the fourth generation of the Bhuttos to be in politics, and he is now the populist party’s fourth Bhutto to head it after founder-grandfather, grandmother and mother. The split within the party was again not on principles, for it is Murtaza Bhutto’s widow, Ghinwa, who calls her party PPP, with ‘shaheed’ added to differentiate it from the family rivals’ enterprise. Surprisingly, even though feudals do not head the PML-N, its ownership pattern is hardly different from parties in feudal control. It too has become the Sharifs’ monopoly, with scions Maryam and Hamza being groomed for tasks ahead. In Balochistan, with a small middle class, no one should be surprised if the Balochistan National Party-M and Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party have become family enterprises, with sons succeeding fathers. With this perpetuation of family control, and lack of elected hierarchies, most politicians’ commitment to democracy appears hollow.
Maududi was the most vociferous opponent of Mr. Jinnah and the Pakistan Movement. I reproduce here some of his referenced works here from his “Muslims and the Present Political Turmoil” (Vol.III) First Edition published from Delhi. Jamaat-e-Islami claims that the whole Two Nation Theory project was derived from Maududi’s writings which is completely untrue. Maududi described the idea of Muslim Nationalism as unlikely as a “chaste prostitute”. Here he wrote:
” Who are the Muslims you are claiming to be a separate nation? Here, the crowd called Muslims is full of all sorts of rabble. There are as many types of characters in this as in any (other) heathen people”. (Vol. III, P.166)
“If you survey this so-called Muslim society, you will come across multifarious types of Muslims, of countless categories. This is a zoo with a collection of crows, kites, vultures, partridges and thousands of other types of birds. Every one of them is a ‘sparrow’. (Ibid. P.31)
One of Jamaat-e-Islami’s latter day claims has been that Mr. Jinnah wanted an Islamic state. Ironically this is what Jamaat-e-Islami’s philosopher in chief Maulana Maududi was writing back then:
“Pity! From League’s Quaid-e-Azam down to the lower cadres, there is not a single person who has an Islamic outlook and thinking and whose perspective on matters is Islamic“. (Ibid. P.37)
“To pronounce these people fit for leading Muslims for the simple reason that they are experts of Western type politics and masters of Western organizational arts, and are deeply in love with their people, is a manifestation of an unislamic viewpoint and reflects ignorance of Islam”. (Ibid. P.70)
“Even with a microscopic study of their practical life, and their thinking, ideology, political behaviour and style of leadership, one can find not a trace of Islamic character.”
Jamaat-e-Islami now claims claims that the Muslim League won the elections because it promised Pakistan as an Islamic state. Here is what Maulana Maududi said then:
“In no Muslim League resolution, or in a speech by a responsible leader of the League it has it been made clear that their final goal is of establishing an Islamic system of government. Those who believe that by freeing Muslim majority areas rule of Hindu majority, an Islamic government will be established here in a democratic set up, are wrong. In fact what will be achieved will be a heretical government by Muslims, indeed worse than that.” (Ibid. P.130-32)
One of the main arguments in favor of separate federations in India put up by Muslim League was that parliamentary democracy would not work in United India given the permanent minority that Muslims were with their own majority zones. Thus Pakistan – as a separate federation- had to be a democratic state. Jinnah’s vision, as Gandhi concluded after his abortive meetings with Jinnah in 1944, was of a perfect democracy in Pakistan. This vision was rejected by Maulana Maududi and his party. The fact that Jinnah used electoral methods and strengths of numbers for his politics also upset Maulana Maududi quite a bit. He wrote:
“For these reasons, the great numbers (of Muslims) that we find. (listed) in the census records has become worthless for purposes of Islam. Anything done on the strength of these numbers will result in acute frustration.” (Ibid. P.56)
Had these great numbers supported Maududi he would have gladly accepted their strength. In 1947, he moved to Pakistan and brought here with him his cancerous Jamaat-e-Islami too. He remained however a committed opponent of the Pakistani national causes including the Kashmir struggle calling it unIslamic. Today the Jamaat-e-Islami castigates anyone and everyone who wants a peaceful settlement in Kashmir. I suppose Maududi could not call the Kashmir struggle a Jihad because then Ahmadis were involved in fighting there under their Al-Furqan brigade.
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