A view on Jamaat-e-Islami’s referendum on the Kerry-Lugar Bill

Asadullah Ghalib’s Analysis:

PML-Q backs JI in ‘referendum’

ISLAMABAD: The PML-Q extended support to the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) in a “referendum” the latter held against the Kerry-Lugar legislation. PML-Q leaders Kamil Ali Aga and Marvi Memon also voted against the US legislation at a JI “polling station” in Sector I-10/1. Talking to Daily Times, Aga said the PML-Q president had asked them to express solidarity with the JI in its efforts to gather public support against the US assistance package. To a question, he said, “We are against this legislation. We will join hands with parties who will take to streets against it.” To a question about the party’s tilt towards extreme right parties, Aga said, “The Kerry-Lugar law is a national issue and we will join hands with all parties which oppose it.” irfan ghauri (Daily Times)

98 pc reject KLL in JI referendum
Sunday, October 25, 2009
By By Our Correspondent

JAMAAT-e-Islami Ameer Syed Munawwar Hasan on Saturday said that over 98 percent people, who participated in the JI referendum on the Kerry-Lugar Law, rejected the document and the increasing US interference in the country’s affairs.

Announcing the result of referendum at a press conference, the JI leader said 21,979,287 people participated in the referendum and 21,761,691 voted against the KLL whereas 1,337,943 supported it and 79,653 votes were rejected. He said as many as 13,264,718 votes were cast in Punjab of which 13,158,394 rejected the KLL, 4,416,262 votes were cast in Sindh and 4,381,274 rejected the law, 2,941,040 votes were cast in the NWFP of which 2,924,100 rejected the US aid law and in Balochistan, 310,646 votes were cast out of which 296,484 rejected the KLL. He said the KLL was a treaty of surrender and a cause of humiliation for the entire nation. He appreciated the spirit shown by the masses in rejecting the US aid.

Munawwar demanded the government to present a balance sheet on the terrorism prior to the start of the military operation to indicate if the menace was reduced or increased.

Meanwhile, Jamaat–e-Islami Secretary General Liaqat Baloch has said that the United Nations has failed in implementing its charter and it has ruined its position because of unilateral decisions on the dictation of big powers.

In a statement issued in connection with the United Nations Day on Saturday, he said the UN was set up to promote ties among different countries and for resolving disputes among states on an impartial basis.

He said, the whole world was witnessing the atrocities of Israel in Palestine, the Indian occupation of Kashmir and the US aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He said Muslims’ were being killed in various parts of the world while the UN was just a silent spectator. (The News)

Some ‘referendum’ thoughts

The Jama’at-e Islami, which had boycotted the 2008 general election in the country, on Friday put the nation through its own “referendum” on the acceptance or non-acceptance of the Kerry-Lugar legislation. Although it scores modestly in normal polls, it had the satisfaction of polling nearly a hundred percent votes in favour of its rejection of the American aid.

According to reports, JI distributed 4 million ballot papers in 5,000 polling stations across the country. In Lahore, JI chief Syed Munawwar Hasan likened the American enabling law to a “document of surrender” and named Asif Zardari and Altaf Hussain as culprits who had “swum out of the ocean of corruption”. The city of Lahore, whose real leader Mr Nawaz Sharif had already announced himself “not convinced” on the Kerry-Lugar law, saw everyone lunging for the ballot box to vote “namanzoor”.

This is not the first time. The JI had reached for the referendum device on the possible signing of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) in the 1990s to “test” the waters of its popularity. The result was ditto because everyone and his uncle thought that Pakistan should test and declare the nation a nuclear power. This time too the JI has been “passed” as the most popular party in the country on an issue on which the media had brainwashed the population beforehand.

Referendums can be held under the Constitution but that is done through a majority in parliament, not by any extra-parliamentary opposition. Strangely, wherever referendums have been held, they have proved less politically desirable than elections. In fact, in the recent history of the European Union, referendums have yielded results damaging to the collective advantage of what can be called history’s most meaningful confederation aspiring to a federal decision-making process. The visionary mind in Europe regrets that the people have been roped in to express emotion over something that is intellectually and politically unassailable.

What happened after JI came out with flying colours over its referendum on the CTBT? The country “tested” in 1998 and immediately went bankrupt. The government that had thought the test would make its rule permanent was abandoned by the people when it went out asking for their savings to replace the funds affected by anti-test sanctions. Its act of “patriotically” freezing the dollar accounts of the people was never forgiven. JI should have apologised for holding the “test” referendum, but it didn’t, because someone else fell from power in 1999.

In Pakistan, referendums don’t have a good reputation. Their results were claimed to be genuine soundings of the popular mind but in practice they were rejected by the very electorate on which the rulers had based their case. Strangely, referendums always yield “hundred percent” results in favour of the authority that stages them. General Zia-ul Haq thought he had almost a hundred percent people saying he should continue his martial rule. General Musharraf polled so heavily that he was apologetic about it later on. One “referendummed” general was killed; the other has escaped being killed under Article 6 for treason by leaving Pakistan.

Jurisprudence against referendums is accumulating in measure with the frequency with which JI is staging them on the basis of its cadre strength. The European Union is discovering how the politicians cover their tracks by leaning on these “knee-jerk” popular reflexes and damaging democracy in the process. The United Kingdom, which shuns the device, has become the new beacon. If the EU needs any negative evidence, it should refer to the tradition of referendums in Pakistan where the “staging” dictators have suffered and the “staging” opposition has simply ended up damaging the “nationalist interest” of the country.

The most important sense in which referendums offend against democracy is their “supersession” of the mandated general election in the country. They hint at mid-term change of government and thus undermine the normal five-year mandate handed down by the Constitution. Reference to a single issue in the referendum also negates the “indirect” nature of democratic governance enshrined in the Constitution. * (Editorial, Daily Times)

Letters to the editor:

Opposition to Kerry-Lugar
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
To eliminate terrorism is now the cry of every Pakistani except a few who are still confused — and they are also trying to confuse the nation. One of them says that the government has no realization of the strength of the Taliban. Another has said that his party could not condemn the attack on General Headquarters because the attackers’ aim was to defend Islam. The most vocal among these groups is the Jamaat-e-Islami which has more or less launched a movement against the PPP government. The fact is that whenever the PPP comes into power religious fanatics some elements in the media along with the remains of Zia rush to stab it. Sometimes they go for long sit-ins in the capital; and sometimes they seek issues like the war on terror and, the most recent one, being the Kerry-Lugar bill. These frustrated elements do not lose any moment to distract the nation from understanding and realising the real threats to it.

Such bills and agreements were signed during the reign of Musharraf as well. Where was the JI then and why didn’t it demand a referendum then? The fact is that our religious parties are always in accord with dictators. They are their proxies safeguarding their interest. The Kerry-Lugar bill is in accordance with our constitution and also the Charter of Democracy to which Mian Nawaz Sharif is apparently a signatory. The bill says that we stamp out militancy and terrorism and that we do not allow our territory from being used against any other country. It also emphasises the supremacy of the civilian government over the military and seeks to check the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Above all it focuses on socio-economic development which should benefit ordinary Pakistanis and so what is wrong with it?

The fact is that critics of the bill are using it as a cloak to fire salvos at the PPP government. Whether it is the JI, Nawaz Sharif or Imran Khan, each one has their axe to grind. Agreed, Asif Ali Zardari is not an ideal head of state and nor is the PPP government an angel, but it is in place after a reasonably free and fair election.

Zubair Torwali



Shocking is the reaction of certain myopic and misguided segments of society against the Kerry-Lugar bill. Those opposing the bill are requested to explain why they want to refuse aid which is to be spent on improving education, healthcare and building roads and hospitals. There is nothing wrong with this bill. To the short-sighted and the selfish I would quote Iqbal: “Afsos sad afsos kay shaheen na bana tu/Dekhay na teri aankh nay fitrat kay isharat”.

Lt-Col (r) Malik Khan



Abdul Haye Kakar:

‘اے بسا آرزو کہ خاک شدہ۔۔۔’

اصناف: , ,

عبدالحئی کاکڑ | 2009-10-26 ،11:38

جماعت اسلامی کی جانب سے کیری لوگر بل پر ‘صاف و شفاف’ ریفرنڈم کے انعقاد پر پارٹی کے سربراہ منور حسن صاحب کو دل کی گہرائیوں سے مبارک باد دینے کو دل چاہتا ہے۔

عوام اور سیاستدانوں پر ہمیشہ شک کرنے والی پاکستانی فوج کے ساتھ یکجہتی کا اس سے بڑا ثبوت اور کیا ہو سکتا ہے۔ اِدھر کور کمانڈروں نے اجلاس کے بعد محض چند جملوں کا پالیسی بیان جاری کیا اُدھر مسلم لیگ نواز سمیت کئی جماعتوں نےاس پر لبیک کہا۔

بہرحال سب سے زیادہ وفادری کا کریڈٹ جماعت اسلامی کو ہی جاتا ہے جس نے دن رات ایک کر کے اس ایشو پر بقولِ شخصے انجینئرڈ ریفرنڈم کروایا۔ شفافیت کا اندازہ اس بات سے لگایا جا سکتا ہے کہ چیف الیکشن کمشنر غالباً منور حسن صاحب تھے اور پولنگ ایجنٹس جماعت اسلامی کے ہی مقامی رہنماء تھے۔ ووٹوں کی گنتی بھی جماعت اسلامی کے منظم ذمہ داروں کے مبارک اور مقدس ہاتھوں سے کچھ اس طرح انجام پائی کہ دوسرے ہاتھ کو خبر تک نہیں ہوئی۔

ریفرنڈم میں اٹھاونوے فیصد افراد کا کیری لوگر بِل کے خلاف ووٹ دینے سے نہ صرف فوج کی منشاء پوری اور ساکھ بہتر ہوئی بلکہ اس سے جماعت اسلامی کا سیاسی موقف بھی ‘برحق فوج’ ثابت ہوا۔

کیری لوگر بل پر ریفرنڈم اعداد وشمار کے لحاظ سے جنرل ریٹائرڈ پرویز مشرف اور ایشو کے حوالے سے جنرل ضیاءالحق کے ساتھ مماثلت رکھتا ہے۔

لیکن کیا ہی اچھا ہوتا کہ جماعت اسلامی خودکش حملوں کے حلال یا حرام ہونے، مساجد میں بم دھماکوں، طالبان کو ‘دہشت گرد’ یا ‘مجاہد’ قرار دینے، چینی اور دیگر روزمرہ اشیاء کی عدم دستیابی اور بڑھتی ہوئی قیمتوں پر کوئی ریفرنڈم کرواتی، لیکن اے بسا آرزو کہ خاک شدہ۔۔۔


Munno Bhai:

Asadullah Ghalib:



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