A brief history of extremism in Pakistan – by Hassan Amin

Ever since the inception of Pakistan, Extremist Mullahs have always been vying to hijack the State. When I refer to the term ‘Extremist Mullahs’, I draw a line to separate, ‘Islamist Fanatics with a Political Agenda’ from the simple and true Muslim religious scholars who don’t belong to any fanatic organization or political party. The latter include great scholars of the caliber of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, Sir Agha Khan, Allama Shibli Nomani, Shaheed Allama Ghulam Hussain Najafi, Shaheed Mufti Naeemi etc, all of whom rendered unparalleled service towards the welfare of Muslim community before and after the creation of Pakistan and promoted interfaith harmony as well.

Of all domestic fanatic cults, the greatest damage to our homeland has been done by Jamat Islami. This cult has never missed any opportunity to harm our national interests. Sometimes raising slogans of democracy, while sometimes under the umbrella of dictatorship, and often under the guise of humanitarian workers, this cult has always been trying to gain access to corridors of power, to implement their own fanatic Islamist ideology. What makes it more dangerous is the fact that in its bid to grab power and implement their agenda, this organization has gone to all extents.

Here is a brief look at the ideology and history of these Islamists.

During the Pakistan movement, when the Moslems of the subcontinent were striving for an independent homeland, the Jamat Islami and other Deobandi Mullahs on payroll of Congress, vehemently opposed all such efforts. Jamat Islami traitors went to the extent of labeling our nation’s Founding Father Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, as Kafir-e-Azam (Greatest Infidel). To this day (though they may deny it publically for the sake of averting the wrath of Pakistanis), Jamatias and their Deobandi associates hate Quaid-e-Azam. Below is an excerpt from a news item from the Feb 9, 2007 edition of Daily Times that depicts the level of hate these Islamists harbor for our revered Founding Father Quaid-e-Azam Jinnah.

The Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) will celebrate 2007 by paying tribute to the heroes who played an important role in the independence of Pakistan ignoring Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and his companions, JUI officials told Daily Times on Thursday. They said that the party would hold conventions in Peshawar and other cities of the NWFP in March to highlight the services of “real freedom fighters”………. JUI information secretary Maulana Amjad Khan said that Jinnah and his companions would not be commemorated because they had not done anything for Islam. “Jinnah was not imprisoned during the independence struggle. That is why he did nothing worth remembering,” Khan added.

After the creation of Pakistan, some of these Islamists remained in India, while many, humiliatingly found themselves living within the borders of this new Republic whose very creation they had opposed and which they used to refer to as Kafiristan (Land of Infidels). Nevertheless they kept their grudges against the nascent state and set out on a new campaign to harm the foundations of the new republic. When war broke out with India in 1948 over the issue of Kashmir, the leaders of Jamat Islami viciously termed as mischievous, Pakistan’s offensive to protect its territory.

From then onwards, this cult and its fanatic allies started proclaiming themselves as true Muslims and termed anyone who disagreed with them as Kafirs.

To deal with the reality of nascent Secular Moslem Republic of Pakistan, Jamat Islami aligned itself with Pan-Islamist Extremist Organizations with sinister goals such as the notorious banned terrorist group Muslim Brotherhood. The Jamat Islami leaders imported the group’s radical Pan-Islamist ideology with an objective of turning Secular and Tolerant Pakistani society into some sort of a stone-age state, even the thought of which horrifies common Pakistani Moslems. These fanatics vie to convert Pakistan into a stone-age (Taliban like) state run by Mullahs where (contrary to all principles of our great religion Islam) the status of women is reduced to that of animals, they being forced to wear a tent-like suffocating costume called burqa, girls barred from education, men forced to grow beards, all vestiges of modern civilization, clothing, technology etc are to be shunned, minorities persecuted and even Moslems of sects other than Deobandi considered as infidels.

During the 1971 political stalemate, when Gen. Yahya Khan’s military junta annulled the legitimate election results and banned the Awami League in East Pakistan, Jamat Islami saw an opportunity to reach the corridors of power. In its bid to win favors of the tyrannical regime, it formed Terror Squads like Al-Badar and Al-Shams that started a massive violent campaign to suppress opposition to military rule in East Pakistan. They brutally killed numerous Bengali intellectuals, professors, politicians, engineers during their drive of terror. These fanatics were partner in all crimes of that military regime. This eventually led to the breakup of Pakistan in 1971, a tragedy that still haunts us.

Purporting themselves as torchbearers of Islam, these fanatics started blackmailing the elected democratic government of Prime Minister Z. A. Bhutto. When the new constitution was framed, Pakistan was for the first time proclaimed as an ‘Islamic Republic’. Before that, we were always known to the world as ‘Republic of Pakistan’. Mullahs took it for a license to overtly push their sinister agenda of shaping our society as per their own rather horrifying vision. These extremists started trumpeting that since Pakistan was officially an ‘Islamic Republic’, all aspects of our public and private lives must be made to conform to their “Deobandi” ideology.

Noteworthy here is the fact that Pakistan’s Founding Fathers envisaged it as Secular Muslim Homeland, not a theocratic state ruled by priests.

States have no religion; it is the people who have religion. Today in the world, there are only two Islamic Republics, one a somewhat confused democracy called Pakistan, while the other, Iran, currently ruled by Mullahs.

There is really no concept of an Islamic State in our holy religion Islam.

Here, one is reminded of the views of Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkish republic, regaring the separation of religion and matters of state. Ataturk rightly regarded religion as a matter of one’s conscience, a matter of worship, rather than a matter of politics. On on occasion, he said:

“Religion is a matter of conscience. One is always free to act according to the will of one’s conscience. We (as a nation) are respectful of religion. It is not our intention to curtail freedom of worship, but rather to ensure that matters of religion and those of the state do not become intertwined”

Like the first 15 centuries of Christianity, during which, the Catholic Clergy exercised great influence in matters of State, these Mullahs also want to rule us in the name of religion. To them, the concept of democracy is simply an anathema.

Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was undoubtedly a statesman of great claibre, preceded only by Quaid-e-Azam Jinnah. His people oriented policies such as land reforms and nationalization did not go down well with the extremists and the military-feudal interests. These elements, with the covert support of their international backers started hatching conspiracies against the elected popular PPP government. In July, 1977, PM Bhutto’s democratically elected government was toppled in a military coup, abetted by Mullahs, who considered his program of social reforms a threat to their goals. The popular Prime Minister was imprisoned in the harshest of conditions and executed two years later, after a sham trial involving fictitious murder charges.

Next comes the decade of the 1980. Jamat Islami, that used to harp the string of democracy in the 1970s, became an active partner of Gen Zia-ul-Haq’s regime. Jamat Islami portrayed its dictator patron Zia, as a great Moslem ‘hero’, regardless of the truth that he had orchestrated the judicial murder of the most popular Moslem leader of that time, Shaheed ZAB. Moreover, it was Zia who had supervised the murder of hundreds of Palestinian refugees in Jordan, while he was military advisor to King Hussein’s monarchy. Inspired by the Mullah takeover in neighboring Iran, the regime and its Deobandi Jamat Islami partners introduced their own so called process of ‘Islamisation’ of the State. Textbooks were rewritten, to portray our secular founding fathers as ‘Islamists’. All political activity was suppressed. Lashing in public, was the primary punishment for dissent. Hundreds of pro-democracy activists were imprisoned, so many tortured to death. Democracy was officially despised as an un-Islamic form of government. Women were barred from most arenas of social life. Until the late 1970s, there were Pakistani sportswomen in almost every sport, from athletics to tennis. However, the regime gradually eliminated all women participation in sports. Those few who dared to represent their nation in international solo events were not allowed to wear typical sports costumes such as shorts, which resulted in their effective elimination from these competitive events. Jamat Islami leaders, who until the military coup were harping on democracy, made assertions that only Islamist minded people had the right to govern Pakistan. And Zia termed his cabinet full of Jamat members as the Majlis-e-Shoora (advisory council). Meanwhile, despite its draconian outlook, the junta was supported by the US and European Countries, as Pakistan was then a frontline state for waging a proxy war against Soviets in Afghanistan. Now this is a totally different chapter in itself.

While the regime banned student unions across the country, Jamat Islami’s student wing was given a free hand to terrorize university campuses and murder opponents. This gave rise to Kalashnikov Culture in our society. Our universities which were ranked among the best in the region became headquarters of fanatic Mullah Militias. It all happened with the tacit approval of the fanatic regime. The Mullah’s attempts to enforce ‘Deobandi’ doctrines on all segments of society resulted in the emergence of worst forms of sectarian violence, which was hitherto unknown to this land. Pakistani society witnessed the worst chaos in its entire history. Even today, we are reaping the poisonous berries of the seeds of hatred sown in the 80.

In these suffocating times, PPP’s struggle for democracy under Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto’s leadership gave hope to millions of oppressed Pakistanis already fed up of Mullah-Military Raj. When BB returned to Pakistan in 1986, she was welcomed by more than 3 Million Pakistanis in Lahore. Soon after, Zia’s hold on power started to weaken. In 1988, Zia-ul Haq got killed in a plane crash. Not even a single part of his body was recovered from the wreckage. The Pakistani people saw it as wrath of God on the dictator who had terrorized the country for 11 years. General Elections were held soon afterwards. Remnants of Zia’s regime tried to avert an outright PPP victory by sponsoring an alliance of pro-Zia political parties. However despite all such attempts, PPP swept the polls and Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto became the first woman Prime Minister of the Country. Her election was a great blow delivered by the people of Pakistan to these Islamist extremists.

During the 1990s, political instability prevailed and 2 general elections were held from 1990 to 1993. Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto became the Prime Minister for the second time in 1993. It is noteworthy that Jamat Islami and its Islamist Allies never managed to garner more than 1% of the votes. Frustrated by their consecutive humiliating defeats in electoral politics, and enraged by presence of a woman Prime Minister (as according to their horrifying Deobandi doctrines, status of women is no more than that of domestic animals), Jamat Islami in 1996 started violent protests against what they termed as the un-Islamic democratic government of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. These Jamat extremists attacked and destroyed public property, burnt cars, attacked trains, disrupted all business activities in their week long terror drive. A number of people lost their lives.

Jamat Islami, despite its almost non-existent vote bank continued trying to destabilize elected governments through street violence. When the then PM Sharif initiated peace talks with India, aimed at easing border restrictions, resolving disputes and promoting bilateral trade, these fanatics again turned to violence. During Indian PM Vajpayee’s visit to Pakistan in 1999, Jamat Islami keeping with its traditions, perpetrated extraordinary violence on the streets of Lahore.

In October 1999, when Gen. Musharraf toppled Sharif’s elected but unpopular government in a military coup, Jamat Islami, keeping with its traditional affinity for dictatorial regimes, celebrated the military takeover. However soon, when it became known that the General was a secularist, the Mullahs turned against him too.

In the aftermath of the allegedly rigged 2002 general elections, an alliance of Deobandi Fanatics (JUI) and Jamat Islami formed government in the Pakhtoonkhwa province( then known as the North West Frontier Province). During their 5 year rule in that province, these extremists allowed outlaws to flourish within NWFP. They also tried to enforce their Taliban like set of laws known as Hasba laws, however the Supreme Court intervened, stopped the promulgation and termed these stone-age laws as unconstitutional.

In light of above arguments, there is no doubt whatsoever about the sinister goals, of this Islamist organization that wants to rule our nation in the name of religion and the fact that these extremists would go to any extent to move towards their goal of making Pakistan a Taliban-like state. To them, the concept of democracy is anathema. The terms pluralism, tolerance, peaceful coexistence, democracy do not exist in the dictionary of these extremists. There is really no concept of an Islamic State in our religion Islam. As mentioned previously, just as during the first 16 centuries of Christianity, the Catholic Clergy exercised great influence in matters of State, these Mullahs also want to rule us in the name of religion.

This time around, the same very forces of extremism in collusion with a corrupt, politicized and highly controversial judiciary and are conspiring to again derail the democratic setup in our country. As citizens it is our collective responsibility to outrightly reject all obscurantist evil propaganda against our elected democratic government. We the people of Pakistan have elected the PPP to govern the country; not these corrupt fanatic judges who themselves are relics of the dictatorship period and who now want to impose their judicial dictatorship in the country. Therefore, we stand by our elected government at all times to counter this nefarious judicial campaign against democracy.

Source: Democratic and Secular Pakistan

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