Special report on Jamaat-e-Islami – by Amir Mateen

Special Report on the JI (Part-1)

Monday, May 31, 2010
By Amir Mateen

MANSURA: The change of Jamaat-i-Islami’s leadership from Qazi Hussain Ahmad to its new Ameer Syed Munawwar Hassan is a singularly important event that has, so far, not gotten the attention it merits. Munawwar has taken over the reins of the party in crucial times. His appointment coincides with many events — a decisive stage of the war in Afghanistan; the Army’s fight against the local Taliban who do not just continue to engineer suicidal attacks all over the country but have also threatened reprisal in places as far away as New York and Mumbai; the renewed pledges by Pakistan and India to talk despite the threat that a bomb blast or another attack in India can plunge the region into yet another crisis.

The new Ameer has already shown his fangs or perhaps it should be called a trailer of what his leadership of the Jamaat could mean for Pakistan, South Asia and may be for the world at large. Munawwar has launched the ‘go-America-go’ campaign with extra vigour, demanding that the US stop the drone attacks in Pakistan and leave Afghanistan. He is mobilising the streets while the Pakistan Army is consolidating its operation in South Waziristan and is being pressured to extend the war to the North. He stands out among the politicians, much more than, say, JUI’s Fazlur Rehman, for his unequivocal support to Taliban. He is critical of the establishment’s “soft” policy on Kashmir. He opposes Pakistan Army’s war in the Fata and refuses to acknowledge the soldiers killed in the conflict as martyrs. He also refuses to declare the Taliban leaders such as late Baitullah Mehsud or his successor Hakeemullah Mehsud as terrorists or condemn their actions.

This calls for a deeper scrutiny of the man who will be in charge of the Jamaat as the scenario described above plays out; he could be at the helm for decades if one goes by the party’s track record. Munawwar is, after all, only the fourth Ameer of the 69-year old party. Its founder, Maulana Abu Ala Maududi, was its Ameer from 1941 to 1972 — though he continued to exercise influence till his death in 1979. His successor Mian Tufail stayed at the helm till 1987 followed by the firebrand Qazi Hussain, who bid farewell after nearly 22 years as Ameer.

Munawwar may have a lot in common with his predecessors. Yet he is different in many ways, especially because in his youth he was an ultra liberal who loved music, especially playing the banjo. He was the Karachi President of the National Student Federation (NSF), which was banned in the 1960s because of its communist tendencies. The young liberal’s transformation into a right wing ideologue began when he was tasked by the NSF to win over some leaders of IJT, the Jamaat’s dreaded student wing. “I went over to convince them but they gave me Maulana Maududi’s literature to read,” he said during a discussion at the party headquarters, Mansoora, Lahore. “It just turned my world upside down; I never went back.”

Such was the conviction of the ‘born-again’ Munawwar that he rose through the ranks to become the IJT’s Nazim-i-Ala (President). This was during the mid-1960s when the ideological fight between the ‘progressive’ left and the ‘religious’ right on university campuses had intensified in most of the Muslim world. Four decades on, Munawwar still sees local politics in the global ideological context — the only difference being that the communist ‘enemy’ represented by the Soviet Union has been replaced by a former ally, the US.

He is the first IJT Nazim-i-Ala to become the Jamaat Ameer. In fact, Munawwar’s ascension symbolises the larger trend within the party of a generation of IJT workers taking over the Jamaat-e-Islami. The entire central Jamaat leadership, except Naib Ameers (Vice-Presidents) Professor Ghafoor and Aslam Saleemi, has come from the IJT ranks. Qazi Hussain Ahmad was a junior Rafiq (Friend) in the IJT but the present Ameer, Secretary General Liaquat Baloch and three Naib Ameers, Professor Khurshid, Sirajul Haq, Dr Mohammad Kamal, were all Nazim-e-Aala (Presidents) of the IJT in their respective times. Half of them, including Munawwar Hassan, have actively participated in the first Afghan Jihad. This is a band of highly indoctrinated, battle-hardened cadres who are adept at using street power to push their moral and political agenda. Munawwar’s experience of the left wing politics will serve him well in his new position, as the structure of Jamaat-e-Islami, analysts point out, is similar to that of communist parties. Maududi was well versed with Fascist and Communist models; Charles Smith, in his book ‘The ideals of Maulana Maududi,’ points out that the Maulana was never enamoured by such models though he was impressed by the efficacy of their organisational methods.

Author Vali Reza Nasr agrees that the Jamaat was never a ‘party’ in the liberal democratic sense of the word — an organisation that translates popular interests into policy positions; instead Nasr describes it as an “organisational weapon” in the Leninist tradition, which aims to project the power of an ideological perspective into the political arena. Jamaat’s structure and functioning closely paralleled those of bolshevism, the only difference being that it sought to use this ‘weapon’ within a constitutional framework. Maududi learnt from the communist movement in India, especially in Hyderabad (Deccan), where the communists provided a serious challenge to the Nizam (of Hyderabad). Mian Tufail has quoted Maududi as having said, “No more than one in a hundred thousand Indians is a communist and yet they fight to rule India.” No wonder then that Maududi’s Jamaat had much in common with Lenin’s Communist Party. It had the same democratic centralism; rank and file members strictly subordinate to centralised decision-making; study circles and organised propaganda tools; wings of students, labour, women and unions.

The major departure from the Leninist model was that the Jamaat was not as focused on organising the masses as it was on creating a vanguard of ‘virtuous’ leaders. Maududi believed in “incremental change rather than radical raptures” and through political leaders, not the people. The ‘revolution’ was supposed to trickle down from above. This thinking sired one fundamental flaw. Jamaat has not been able to achieve that final stage of Maududi’s model where the indoctrinated cadres of ‘chaste’ leaders would lead the people to the ‘Islamic revolution.’ The party has never been able to connect with the people as proved by its electoral record of the last 60 years.

It has tried every political tactic and technique in existence from the days of Socrates to Machiavelli to its self-professed avatar, Imran Khan. It has tried fighting elections and boycotting them; the party has flirted with dictators and fought against them; worked with democratic governments and then opposed them. The Jamaat contested elections on its own in 1950, 1962, 1970, 1985 and 1997. It formed alliances with the Convention League in 1965, the PNA in 1977, the IJI in 1988 and 1990, and finally the MMA in 2002. It has tried working with dictators such as Yahya Khan, Ziaul Haq and Pervez Musharraf and then fighting them, particularly Ayub Khan. It boycotted the 1945 elections in India because politics was construed as divergence from the original Jamaat mission of Islamic reform and revivalism.

It again boycotted the elections in 2008 after 63 years. It got in and out of coalition governments with conservatives, liberals, nationalists and religious parties. It even tried changing its electoral name from Jamaat-e-Islami to the Pakistan Islamic Front (PIF) in 1993 in the hope of replicating the electoral success of Algeria’s Islamic Front. Nothing seems to have worked.

Jamaat-e-Islami is yet to form either a national or a provincial government on its own in nearly 70 years. The MMA government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in 2002 was the best it ever did — even there it was a junior partner in the provincial government.

Jamaat’s dream of coming to power remains as elusive as ever. And the onus of materialising that dream now rests on the lean shoulders of Munawwar. He has never been a parliamentarian —or even a local or a provincial assembly for that matter. He did, however, get the highest number of votes in the 1977 polls but, to his good or bad luck, his party challenged the poll results. Whether he will make it to the legislature in future and what impact this will have on his politics remains to be seen; Qazi Hussain’s aggressive stance, many say, was toned down when he became a Senator and an MNA. Munawwar remains untried and untied to any multiparty compulsions. Whether this is an asset or a liability, only time will tell.



Special Report Part-2

Jamaat, a party swinging both ways at the moment

Tuesday, June 01, 2010
By Amir Mateen

MANSURA, Lahore: Now Jamaat-i-Islami Ameer Munawar Hassan, years ago, sought a meeting with a group of Islamabad journalists to discuss why had the Jamaat not captured the popular imagination of Pakistanis.

The discussion, of which I was a part, took place 15 years ago at journalist-turned-politician Azeem Chaudhary’s residence. The gist of his discussion was since the Jamaat was a pious party of pious people, so what was missing.

I recall a colleague, saying in a lighter vein that perhaps the Jamaat people were too ‘pious’ for ordinary Pakistanis.

The general response was that it was difficult for the average Pakistani to identify with Jamaat. Its members dress differently—always clad in shalwar qameez as if it were a practice of the Prophet (sunnat).

They talk differently—with a distinct mannerism perfected in study circles. Some may exaggerate to even suggest that the party members even sit, eat or sleep differently.

The term ‘Jamaatia,’ used for a member of the Jamaat in liberal circles, is almost a metaphor that is sometimes not received positively.

To put it politely, it roughly means that the indoctrinated genesis of a Jamaat member is a permanent part of him, regardless of where he might go or how liberal he might pretend to be. Once a ‘Jamaatia’, always a ‘Jamaatia’, it is said, or so believed.

Former known and famous ‘Jamaatias’ like late Maulana Kausar Niazi, Makhdoom Javed Hashmi, Hussain Haqqani, Ahsan Iqbal may have changed political parties, ideologies or governments over the years, but they still share something in their core.

It also denotes a self-righteous person who knows the truth with a capital T. This may be Jamaat’s fundamental issue.

The party wants to change the people in accordance with its concept and interpretation of life, politics and religion instead of trying to adapt to ‘them.’

A former IJT president confessed that it was difficult for them to accept women serving food while they were attending an Islamic convention in Malaysia.

It was equally difficult for them to adjust to former Turkish President Erbakan’s yellow ties or Hamas’ tolerance of women bathing in swiming suits on Lebanon’s beaches.

Some who have moved to the West may, however, have forced themselves to adjust to the inevitable of their jobs, like serving liquor to their guests but still stay away from drinking themselves.

In other words, the post-partition generation of Jamaat has not been exposed to multi-culturalism nor is it comfortable co-existing with other religions—something which is a norm in most Muslim majority countries, except for Saudi Arabia.

Historically, Jamaat’s student wing, IJT, has been encouraged to stop people from celebrating, say the New Year Eve, Valentine’s Day or even Basant and Nauroze; imposing their code of morality on university campuses; enforcing their political views through the streets and not through Parliament.

And this IJT leadership, which grew up using violence to orchestrate such ‘virtuous’ campaigns, now leads the Jamaat.

“This cultural Puritanism has not worked for Jamaat in 69 years,” says former NSF activist Arshad Butt, who has fought the IJT on campuses in his youth.

“It may have won Jamiat a loyal cadre but in the process the party lost the majority.”

The biggest issue that has always plagued the Jamaat-i-Islami is the party’s failure to win any major elections.

This is all the more serious because in theory, Jamaat has got all a party needs to be politically successful in Pakistan. No other political party in Pakistan can match its history of uninterrupted organisational continuity, elected leadership and politics.

The Pakistan Muslim League, though over a century old, stands divided into virtual A-to-Z factions. Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, the parent party of the present Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan is older than Jamaat.

However, the Pakistani chapter now stands divided into factions with the biggest one led by Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who has turned it into a family fiefdom.

The Awami National Party, too, has become a dynastic party of the Khans of Charsadda. The PPP is no exception to the dynastic order.

The Jamaat’s closest rival in terms of organisation is perhaps its political nemesis in Karachi, the MQM. But then the MQM is all about Altaf Hussain whereas the Jamaat has collective decision-making.

The Jamaat leadership is not dynastic; the party has always held elections to choose its office holders. Nobody can seek leadership; instead a politburo of sorts (Shura) proposes three candidates from whom the party members (Arkan) then choose their Ameer for a four-year term. There is no limit on the number of terms an individual can serve.

The party is egalitarian in that most of its top leadership comes from lower or middle class rural or small town families. The Mansura headquarters is no less organised than the army GHQ; and commands no less power over its rank and file.

The Ameer of the Jamaat and Nazim-i-Ala of the Jamiat are beholden to a shura for consultation. This structure at the top is replicated down to the level of every town and cluster of villages.

The Jamaat’s propaganda machine is matchless; its student wing, IJT, controls the country’s major universities and can gather a few thousand workers in a matter of hours; party members have penetrated all sections of society over the decades from journalism to bureaucracy to judiciary, the most important being the military; its relief agencies run a network of charity hospitals, schools and madrassas and are always at the forefront of every calamity or disaster.

Yet, the Jamaat has somehow never won the hearts and minds of the ordinary folk in Pakistan.

However, this is not an issue the party is oblivious to. The Jamaat is seemingly undergoing an internal discourse on its positioning on emerging political and social realities.

Either it will adjust to the popular culture or it will band together with its own kind, becoming more rigid in its interpretation of life. The party seems to be swinging both ways at the moment.

Qazi Hussain Ahmad’s ascension as Ameer was the beginning of the change in Jamaat-i-Islami. A glasnost of sorts was initiated during his tenure.

The establishment of ‘Pasbaan’ and then ‘Shabab-i-milli’ organs in the Jamaat was basically an effort to accommodate people other than their trained cadres in the party.

We saw ‘songs’ being played in Jamaat rallies that the party old guard disapproved, but Qazi persisted with his ‘modernisation.’

Liaquat Baloch once raised a controversy by asking a female reporter to leave a press conference because her head was not covered. Qazi, on the other hand, tolerated ‘Farangi’ journalists patiently.

The phenomenon of the Pakistani Taliban has brought forth an opposite trend in the Jamaat.

Its support for the Taliban way of life may force the Jamaat back to the fringes of the political divide. What is not clear, however, is how much of this support is political posturing or whether the Jamaat is really interested in imposing the Taliban’s sharia in Pakistan?

Munawar did not say whether he agreed to our views on why Jamaat failed to win the masses 15 years ago.

As I waited in his office to get my answers recently, a member of his media team was scanning a newspaper with pictures of models on the catwalk. “Tauba, Tauba, Qiyamat Hi Aa Gai Hai,” he said while cursing the models. “Why can’t somebody stop them?”

I advised him to relax, adding that it was difficult to control a more globalised world where an average Pakistani had access to 100 TV channels.

Munawar was asked how he would balance Jamaat’s ideology with the new political realities. He simply did not see any conflict between the two. Well, it’s easier said than done.

On my way out, I found the media gentleman still staring at the photographs of the models.



Special report Part-3

Wednesday, June 02, 2010
By Amir Mateen

MANSURA: Jamaat-e-Islami’s fundamental issue has been how to remain ‘pious’ and yet be popular or how to remain ideologically correct and yet follow the dictates of pragmatic politics. Simply put, it boils to one thing: how to remain an Islamic party and yet win elections.

The Jamaat old guard has always reacted whenever it has overly digressed from its original agenda of social reform and Islamic revivalism to power politics. The Jamaat in the first decade of its existence remained, as Vali Reza writes, “a movement immersed in religious work; it strove to control the souls of men and eyed politics with awe and suspicion.” Politics was the last of its priorities and could not be indulged in without the ‘purification’ of individuals, leaders and the society. In later years, political compromises were tolerated in the hope that they might bring electoral victory. Power could then be used to Islamize the society— ends justifying the means.

Power remains an elusive dream. All Jamaat Ameers had to face reaction from the party whenever they failed to deliver victory in crucial elections. Twice it led to major defections in Jamaat; thrice it resulted in the change of top leadership.

Jamaat’s founder Maulana Maududi had to confront a virtual revolt in Maachi Goth near Rahimyar Khan in 1956. The issue was initially over alleged irregularities in the Jamaat bureaucracy but turned into a row whether the Jamaat should confine itself to Islamic revivalism or get into electoral politics.

JI had lost the 1951 Punjab elections badly. The late Dr Israr Ahmad, among others, contended that Maulana Maududi had opposed contesting the 1945 elections in the United India because, the party was told, the Jamaat stood for “social reform and Islamic revivalism and not for political gains.”

The issue led to a defection of about 56 senior members which comprised the cream of Jamaat including former acting Ameer Abdul Ghafaar Hassan and Dr Israr Ahmad. The most prominent of them all was Amin Ahsan Islahi, whose respect and scholarly credentials were not less than of Maududi. He is survived by his known disciple Javed Ghamdi these days. Maududi’s detractors claimed that the Maulana deliberately let the defectors go to strengthen his hold on the Jamaat.

The conflict between the Islamic ideology and pragmatic politics continued to trouble the Jamaat. Maududi’s support for ‘woman’ Fatima Jinnah in 1965 elections, justified as a “lesser evil” against Ayub Khan, was a major compromise. Kausar Niazi wrote against that extensively and was thus expelled from the Jamaat.

The biggest shock was the 1970 elections. The Jamaat hoped to win with a landslide; Asghar Khan’s party was seen as the runner up and the PPP not considered even as a major contestant. The Jamaat won four of the 151 National Assembly seats it contested and four provincial Assemblies seats out of 331 it aimed for. It did not win a single seat in East Pakistan. Much to its embarrassment, the Jamaat also finished behind its religious rivals, Jamiat Ulema-i-Pakistan (JUP) and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI). Mufti Mahmood’s JUI mustered enough provincial seats to make coalition governments with National Awami Party in the then NWFP and Balochistan.

The Jamaat was shattered and Maududi’s leadership was questioned. Ironically, the tirade against Maududi was led by none other than a young firebrand who is now the Ameer of Jamaat, Munawar Hassan. The ‘Young Turks’ argued that the Jamaat leadership was no match to the charisma of PPP’s Zulfiqar Bhutto and Awami League’s Sheikh Mujib. It was a hint for Maududi to give way to a new leader. Maududi suffered a mild heart attack and stepped down as Ameer on 17 February, 1972. The Jamaat elected Mian Mohammad Tufail-hardly the charismatic leader that the new generation of the Jamaat was looking for. At best, he was an administrator and an old guard loyalist.

Such was Maududi’s stature that the political battle for 25 years remained between him and the rest of the liberal forces. That is, until Zulfikar Bhutto came along who changed the front into a fight between the PPP and the rest. The Jamaat’s anathema against the PPP was such that it thought it had found in dictator Ziaul Haq the long awaited messiah who would deliver them not only the dream of Islamic revivalism but also the short cut to power.

Zia exploited the Jamaat misconceptions to the hilt. He got the Jamaat join his government; used its street power to counter the PPP and its cadres in Afghanistan’s jihad. The biggest dent that Zia rendered to the Jamaat was by corrupting its hard core. The entire right-wing corps of Jamaat writers were corrupted first through free pilgrimages, then plots, perks and lavish privileges. This rightist ‘intellectual vanguard’ moved on to the centre stage ‘lures’ of Nawaz Sharif and from there to successive rulers who catered to their wish lists. Some of the biggest rightist icons of their times are seen on TV channels rendering their services to anybody who bids the highest.

Mian Tufail, incidentally from Zia’s Araain biradri, felt reaction for overly siding with the dictator. The pressure grew when the Jamaat won only ten seats out of its quota of 68 National Assembly seats in the 1985 non-party elections.

He gave way for Qazi Hussain Ahmad to be elected as Ameer in 1987. Qazi Hussain was Jamaat’s liaison with the army on Afghan Jihad but he distanced himself from Zia in later years. He became the first, and to date the last, Ameer to become the member of the Parliament. His populist style and call for the restoration of democracy gave hope to the younger Jamaat workers of making it to the mainstream politics. He energized the Jamaat by taking up popular issues and slogans like the ‘Qazi aa raha hai’ brand. He made Jamaat inroads in Pukhtunkhwa’s belt where Maududi, after Deoband fatwas of 1951, was considered outside the fold of Islam.

But nothing seemed to work. The Jamaat remained on the fringes of politics. Qazi faced intense criticism when the Jamaat lost the 1993 elections under the Pakistan Islamic Front umbrella. A whole group led by Naeem Siddiqui left the party. Qazi resigned but was later forced to continue as Ameer. Finally, after successive defeats he gave up the Jamaat leadership without sorting out the ‘zaalims’ last year. The responsibility for the electoral miracle to happen rests with Munawar Hassan now.

They say Maududi died a sad man. He is on record having regretted towards the end of his life that the Jamaat should have remained a holy community and not become a political party. Begum Maududi quoted him lamenting that the Jamaat gave away too much in politics without gaining enough in return. “If I had the stamina I would have started all over again,” his wife quotes him saying in a published interview. Wasi Mazhar Nadvi documents that Maududi in his last address to the shura in 1976 advised the Jamaat “to move away from politics and to revive the holy community; for elections had proved not only to be a dead end but also debilitating. His advice was largely ignored.”

Jamaat’s critics might say that they may have lost on the issue of religion as well as pragmatic politics. It is ironic that Amin Ahsan Islahi, who parted ways on the issue that the Jamaat’s role should confine to social and religious reform (deeni khidmat), has his disciple Javed Ghamdi still doing that. Jamaat may not have proved its point by adopting the worldly (dunyavi) path of politics. It is yet to be seen how Munawar Hassan will do where his seniors faltered-accomplish a simultaneous victory in the world of the ideology and pragmatic politics. The task is onerous.



4 responses to “Special report on Jamaat-e-Islami – by Amir Mateen”


    Comments Off 05 JULY 2011

    Previous Post: Special Report-3
    Written by; Amir Mateen
    Jamaat-e-Islami may be mobilising people on the streets on a range of issues but the prime focus of the exercise is the ‘go-America-go’ campaign.
    Politically, it’s a brilliant move. The Jamaat thinks the campaign against the United States has the potential to win the party the mass support it has always lacked. At the same time, the anti-US platform defines the whole ambit of the Jamaat’s domestic and international agenda. It goes well with Munawwar Hassan’s brand of popular politics — though introduced by Qazi Hussain Ahmad — the new Ameer has taken the party’s anti-US stand to new levels.
    Undoubtedly, an intense anti-American feeling prevails in large sections of the Pakistani society. For instance, even many liberals are unhappy with the breach of Pakistani sovereignty, the civilian deaths in the continuous drone attacks, the US policies in Iraq and Palestine and profiling of Pakistani citizens in the United States. The Jamaat wants to capitalise on this.
    This movement against the US fits into the Jamaat’s global agenda and re-aligns it with the erstwhile Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwanul Muslimeen) allies from Yemen to Egypt. Maulana Maududi, one should remember, designed the Jamaat to be the vanguard of Islamic revolution that inspired Brotherhood’s leading intellectuals such as Egypt’s Hassan Al-Banna and Syed Qutb, not to forget Imam Khomeini. It is believed that al-Qaeda draws inspiration from Syed Qutb.
    The campaign against the US is an easier option than, say, convincing the Pakistani public of Jamaat’s abilities to solve the country’s major problems such as economy, energy and governance. In a way the party follows Nawaz Sharif’s strategy of simply criticizing the PPP government without offering any solutions.
    This becomes all the more clear when viewed in the context of the fact that the Jamaat’s model of ‘Islamic governance,’ as interpreted by Maulana Maududi, has not won it votes. The MMA government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa from 2002 to 2007, of which the Jamaat was a junior partner, was hardly the model of the ‘Khilafat-e-Rashida’ that the party purports to aspire to when in power.
    Hence, the anti-US campaign has won the Jamaat new ‘jihadi’ allies at a time that it had become quite isolated. In recent times, it had distanced itself from its biggest proxy in Afghanistan, Gulbadin Hikmatyar, though the Jamaat leadership was recently photographed receiving the latter’s son-in-law at the airport after he was released by the US. The Taliban were the offshoots of Deobandi parties and were never close to the Jamaat. But now the party has earned their respect.
    While the PPP government under President Asif Ali Zardari is extraordinarily accommodating towards Washington, Nawaz Sharif too has toned down his anti-US rhetoric after winning the Punjab government. In this situation, the Jamaat stands out among the country’s political parties for its opposition to the US. It is counting on that.
    A few obstacles stand in its way though. The foremost is that when the Jamaat clubs its anti-US campaign with the state’s policy war in Fata; this brings it directly in clash with the Pakistan Army.
    Munawwar Hussan, when asked, refused to acknowledge the Pakistani soldiers dying in the war against Taliban as martyrs. Nor does he acknowledge Hakeemullah Mehsud or his predecessor, the late Baitullah Mehsud, as terrorists. More serious still, he declares all those who are fighting the Pakistan Army in the name of the war against the US as “shaheeds”.
    This is problematic as the Jamaat has, since its Faustian deal with Ziaul Haq, always worked in tandem with the establishment or, to be precise, the security agencies – be it the jihads in Kashmir and Afghanistan or domestic politics such as the formation of the IJI to check the rapid ascent of the late Benazir Bhutto in 1988. The party still retains contacts with the ‘good Taliban’ in Kashmir who are increasingly turning ‘bad’ with their activities in Fata and the terrorist attacks all over the country.
    So far, the Jamaat refuses to budge. It refuses to condemn the countless suicidal bombings in which innocents are dying by hundreds. In fact, Munawwar Hassan does not acknowledge that the Taliban are involved in them, claiming that “it’s the handiwork of the agencies”. When told that the Taliban publicly claimed most terrorist attacks, he retorted that “innocent people were also dying in American drone attacks”. So vehement was his opposition to the Americans, or the support of the Taliban, that he would not say anything to undermine the ‘war against the US’.
    Otherwise soft spoken and well mannered, Munawwar has the tendency to get provoked; when the questions posed to him become aggressive, he throws caution and logic to the winds. When asked why he did not condemn the bombings of schools and market places in Peshawar and Lahore where children were the victims, all he had to say was that “the agencies were doing it”.
    From thereon, he began to espouse conspiracy theories and went so far as to claims that there may not be any such thing as al-Qaeda. “Who can say that Osama bin Laden is alive; all we hear are his tapes which could be easily doctored,” he said emotionally. “The US has a political agenda and it may be using such stories to justify its actions.” The bottom line was that he would not say anything to condemn the Taliban or anything that could be construed to be in favour of the US.
    When similar questions were posed to Jamaat’s Lahore Ameer, Ameerul Azeem, he offered a more succinct argument, “Let’s just say that we support the zaalim (cruel) Taliban against Satan, the US.” This was reminiscent of Jamaat’s earlier stand when it supported “the savage Saddam Hussain against Satan.” This stance puts the Jamaat in conflict with people who believe that the war against militancy is not just America’s war but Pakistan’s also.
    So far, the Jamaat has been pushing its point of view through the streets. It is yet to be seen how this anti-US rage can translate into electoral success for the party. If the recent by-elections provide any yardstick, the party has a long way to go – Jamaat’s Hafiz Salman Butt got 3,286 votes in NA-123, Lahore; its candidate, Dr Mohammad Kamal got 3,109 votes in NA-55, Rawalpindi; while Professor Ali Asghar, who contested NA-21, Mansehra, from the party platform garnered 4,500 votes and Husain Kanju got 3,750 votes in PF-83, Swat. No wonder then that the party is so desperate.
    The Jamaat, some say, was not less harsh when the state had capitulated even more to the US under Musharraf. It was a coalition partner of the dictator; it helped him pass the infamous 17th Amendment. This ire seems to have increased after the army operation against the Taliban. It is yet to be seen how the climax of this underlying tension between the Jamaat and the Pakistan establishment will, if at all, take place.
    To be continued……
    The News,Pakistan , June 03, 2010



    Comments Off 10 JULY 2011

    Previous Part; Anti American Stand of Pakistan Jamaat:Sp.Report-4
    Written by Amir Mateen

    Jamaat-i-Islami appears to have isolated itself by refusing to condemn the Taliban who have claimed responsibility for exploding bombs all over Pakistan. As a result it has placed itself in conflict not just with the government, a sizeable section of the public and the army but also with its own beliefs as well as its founder, Maulana Maudoodi.
    Maudoodi believed that the right to declare jihad rested with the state. He refused to endorse the Kashmir Jihad in 1948 because it had not been declared by the state. His bestseller ‘‘Jihad fil Islam’’ happens to be one of the most authentic documents on the Islamic theory of Jihad which was endorsed by, among others, Allama Iqbal.
    It puts forth specific requisites for jihad: a distinction be made between ëcombatants’ and ënon-combatants’; killings of civilians be avoided as well as unnecessary violence, arson, anarchy and disorder; and special care taken of the old, children, women, handicapped, prisoners and diplomats. When Munawar Hassan was asked about the above mentioned requisites, he almost went ballistic and insisted that Maulana Maudoodi had endorsed the jihad in Afghanistan. ‘‘The state never declared jihad in Kashmir or Afghanistan and yet we participated in both,’’ he argued.
    ‘‘The contours of the state have changed as non-state actors are a reality now.’’ However, Maulana Maudoodi is unlikely to have endorsed the Afghan jihad as he left for the US for medical treatment in April 1979 and died much before the jihadi action started. Also, one may argue that the state may not have declared war or jihad in Kashmir and Afghanistan but it still endorsed and supported it as did the JI. But the situation now is very different; the party’s support for the Pakistani Taliban’s ‘jihad’ against the Pakistan army clashes directly with the state.
    At the same time, it is evident that not everyone in the Jamaat agrees with Munawar Hassan. A veteran Jamaat scholar, Professor Tayyab Gulzar believes Hakeemullah Mehsud and his predecessor, the late Baitullah Mehsud, are terrorists; in his opinion their subversive actions against the army, the state and the people of Pakistan cannot be termed a jihad.
    Maudoodi wrote his masterpiece on jihad to explain to the world, particularly Great Britain, that the Muslims were not brutal as they were perceived to be. He felt compelled to write it after an Arya Samaj leader, Sawami Shardanand, was killed by a Muslim in 1926, which led to rioting in the sub-continent and the labelling of Muslims as repressive and brutal. Against this backdrop, explained Maudoodi in his memoirs, Maulana Mohammad Ali Johar addressed a gathering of devotees in Delhi’s Jamia Mosque and wished that ‘‘we had somebody among our ranks who could respond to such matters through arguments rather than violence.’’ This prompted Maudoodi to write the book after three years of research.
    The entire focus of the book is to identify the specific conditions for a ‘just war’ in Islam, comparing the concept with its counterparts in other religions and societies. Ironically, many feel, Maudoodi’s followers are seen to be doing quite the opposite by endorsing violent means. This may be just one of the many contradictions and dilemmas that the Jamaat is facing. The party has such a tight code of secrecy that nobody wants to say anything on the record. Yet they talk about this schism between the old guard ñ the largely madrassah educated lot, which is more inclined towards Islamic thoughts and teachings (fiqh) ñ and the ëmodernists’ who favour power politics.
    The old guard frets about the deteriorating standards of Islamic teaching and training among the new generation. They feel that the Jamaat’s salaried bureaucracy has taken over the party and that vested interests prevent genuine debate and drastic reforms. Others criticise the current trend in which the leadership is promoting relatives on elected seats. Still others cast aspersions about Qurtaba City, a real estate project designed strategically close to Islamabad on the motorway.
    The biggest dilemma before the party’s politically motivated class is how to increase their popularity among the people. Its options are limited. The Jamaat can decide to fight it out solo, in a bid to reclaim the right of the centre ground it has lost to Nawaz Sharif. However, in order to do so, the Jamaat will need lots of popular imagination and the results in the recent bye-elections so far have not been encouraging for a solo flight.
    The other is to recreate the former Muthadda Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) with a slight change. The idea is to fill the gap left by the presumptive ouster of the PML (Q) from the electoral arena. The new religious alliance, the Jamaat hopes, may emerge as the third force in its place. It has identified a few pockets of votes in PunjabóDr Wasim in Bahawalpur, Asghar Gujjar in Layyah and Mian Aslam in Islamabad. But it has major expectation of votes in Khyber Pashtunkhwa, garnering the resentment against the US drone attacks. The Pakhtunkhwa chapter, since Qazi Hussain Ahmad’s stewardsip, impacts the Jamaat policy more than it used to. One reason is that the province offers the best hopes for the party in terms of votes. This chapter of the Jamaat is little more inclined towards Taliban and their actions than others. How much of this is because of their electoral appeal or the zeal for jihad or even the fear of Taliban is difficult to say.
    Scholar Hafiz Tahir Ashrafi has alleged in a recent column that the MMA was hatched by former ISI Chief Lt General Mahmood. The report has not been contradicted by any member of the MMA and the maverick Hafiz claims that he also has a picture to prove it. If this is true then ‘‘the agencies ain’t coming for help’’ this time around, considering the Jamaat’s fight against the establishment. The dream of coming to power thus seems as elusive as ever.
    This is the paradox of the Jamaat. At one level, it seems so big that it has universal reach with off shoots in India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and ties with various versions of the Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwanul Muslimeen) in Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Maghrab. Yet it remains a marginalised party in its home base. It is represented in the Parliament by just three senators as it boycotted the last election.
    In short, it is out of the power loop and stands isolated. It has a problem with most mainstream parties: it opposes the PPP tooth and nail; it is not partners with the Nawaz League; it is fighting the MQM and the ANP over its lost turf in Karachi and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. It has always been uncomfortable with Maulana mufti Mahmood or his son Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s JUI. But in a corner it is trying to mend fences with the like-minded in the MMA. This makes them a desperate, but also a dangerous, lot. (concluded)

    Source: Daily The News, Pakistan. Friday, June 04, 2010

  2. Jamaat-e-Islami is a source of livelihood for its critics. There are certain Jamaat specialists who write for pleasing many.

    All those who are drowned in lust of this world don’t understand the dynamics of JI’s politics.

    Nobody knows more than the writers about the facts but these facts twisted to make his point.

    None of the Ameer’s left amarat for election defeat.

    Syed maudoodi was having kidney problem since long and he died of the ailment. He wanted to set a new example and was successful in introducing this culture as his two followers also followed his example and left amarat volunteerily.

    Ultimate goal of JI is ” Raza-eElahi ” and what comes in that way is prohibited.

    Even today , leadership of JI are the best people in Pakistan but if nation likes to chosse Jamshed dasti and Abdul Ghani Kharal it is their prarogative.

    Above all , elections in Pakistan are never fair and free. Newsweek wrote ” elections in Pakistan are never free “. List are prepared in GHQ in consultation
    with international establishment and imposed in the meanwhile a dummy practice goes on on the land.

    You are right to say that Jamaat’s programme is the only hurdle in the way JI to come in power but not for the masses but for the list makers.

    You yourselves are admitting even much talked darling of JI Zia ul Haq didn’t like to see JI as power and preferred MQM over it.

    I used to say that if Zia ul Haq was sincere with Pakistan he would have nominated Liaqat Baloch as a prime minister instead of Muhammad Khan Junejo.

    You are a specialist on JI and I am sure you are aware of the letter which Syed
    Maudoodi wrote in a reply to Late Shoorash Kashmiri. In which he wrote ”
    Agar Anbiaa kee da’awat ko unnkee qaumoon nain nahain mana tu kia wo Nabi nakaam ho gay , nahain balkeh wo qaumain nakaam ho gayain. Hamaray leay kia yeh sa’adat kam hay keh hamm andhairoon main chiragh jalatay jilatay hee mar jain.

    Ji iqtadar bilkul chahti hay laikan sarkari cars aur gharoon kay leay nahain balkeh nazam-e-Zindagi ko Islam kay matabaq banay kay leay .

    Sod khatam kar kay ghreeb ko rahat ponchanay kay leay.

    Loot maar khatam karnain kay leay.

    Ji minister when took over in NWFP after oath ( during MMA govt ) they were presented new cars but all of them not after consultation , every minister from JI refused to new car right there in governor house and asked for old car of ex-minister.

    Please hilight JI’s good things which it is full of , instead of twisting the facts and making your own conclusions e.g. you say Naeem Siddiqui left JI with a complete group after loosing in elections. No sir , Naeem Siddiqui late was angry on the same things which people like you want to see in JI and ruin it. He said why those slogans like ” Zalimoon Qazi aa raha hay were adopted with music for electoral victory “. The man who was heading election media cell , Mansoor Siddiqui was asked to leave and is in Tehrik-e-Insaf now.///