To widen the horizons, one has to read thoroughly the literature of Syed Abul Ala Maududi in which he has criticised communism, socialism and nationalism after gaining deep knowledge of these phenomena. He then gave a modern political framework of governance that is indeed an amalgamation of democratic principles and the political system of Islam. Syed Abul Ala Maududi had a very liberal approach towards incorporating Islamic jurisprudence in the folds of the polity. He argued for a system that would help bring critical ingredients of society, including social wealth, the different sects and minorities, under the fold of one ideology based on the Islamic principles of justice, guaranteeing people human rights, freedom of expression, liberty, rule of law and transparency.
I recall the political atrocities of the PML-N government in February 1999 when Atal Behari Vajpayee, former Indian prime minister, was visiting Lahore and the Jamaat-e-Islami leadership was on the streets with a call that was clearly not welcome due to Vajpayee’s staunch opposition to the right of self-determination for the the Kashmiri people and his ministers’ alleged involvement in the Babri Mosque incident. The Punjab police launched a furious crackdown on JI activists and blocked the peaceful protestors in a compound surrounded by huge buildings from all sides. I was hardly 12 years old at that time and took shelter in a Hilux.
We were four people who stayed in there for six hours. The police fired riot shells and bullets into the air and the bullets were repeatedly hitting the surface. It was impossible to breathe and I felt we would be suffocated to death. During the search operation, elite force commandos found us, broke the mirrors, caught hold of us and started beating us. Thereafter, they threw us into a police van. I saw them beating the 80-year-old father of Hafiz Muhammad Idrees, current deputy chief of the Jamaat-e-Islami, and injuring the young with their shields and rifles. Since that very incident, I had harboured a grudge against the police, but with the passage of time, the wounds healed and I forgot.
Each one of us has suffered atrocities, in one form or the other, starting from the tedious matters of registering for a birth certificate to problems faced in the police stations, loss of meritorious admissions and employment opportunities. But we are still free men and women having the liberty of voicing our concerns in freedom. It is time we rose above differences in all forms and reaffirm our resolve to become a nation first.
Now to the matters of politics. Those levelling allegations against Javed Hashmi for being untrue should note that many people gave remarks that he is an old man and remains in a state of denial against the assertion of Qazi Hussain Ahmed, that enemies beyond Pakistani frontiers are involved. Similarly, I find no reason to level charges of espionage against the party of a veteran politician such as Javed Hashmi, who himself is a strong pillar in the country’s politics. Obviously, he has his faults but declaring him to be wrong for political point scoring is terrible. This tells a lot about how Imran Khan’s advisers are ruining his decades-long struggle by putting his reputation at stake. The roars of “Haan maen baaghi hoon” when he left the PML-N and the echo of appreciation by his welcoming followers are unforgettable impressions of Javed Hashmi recorded in the history.
A JI worker will never be able to fit in other political parties since he enjoys an unprecedented kind of liberty in the party. He can stand up anywhere, at any instance, and hold his/her leader and colleagues accountable for their deeds. If the leader can satisfy the accuser, then well and good, if not then the accused will have to answer the whole lot publicly without showing displeasure. No political party in the country promises this kind of transparency; they don’t let the workers rise. In the Jamaat-e-Islami, no one bears the ignominy of being kicked out of the party at the mere drop of a hat. It is the prerogative of a special commission to decide the expulsion of any member. You don’t have to be the blue-eyed man or woman of the leadership. Your affiliation and your hard work will determine your fate at the hands of fellow activists.
Imran Khan should note that the establishment is ruthless and the crowd is faithless. The only guarantee for him to remain a national leader is the trust of aimless youth and the prayers of poor men and women. He should use his charisma wisely and not commit any mistake that would lead him somewhere from where there is no return. Democracy is a filtration process that would take its time to mature and unfurl in true form and for that, Imran Khan will have to make compromises, fill the reservoir of youthful energies and bring about a change within the ambit of the Constitution. Imran Khan’s advisers are isolating him from the polity in Pakistan. He should reorganise immediately and take firm decisions to address the critical problems of the public in Pakistan.
My heart goes out to those who lost their lives and suffered injuries in the recent mayhem. The blood of a Muslim is very sacred and priceless. They came out for a good cause in their own capacity, putting trust in the leadership. Salutations to all those political activists of Pakistan who sacrificed their lives for the good of those sitting in cozy shelters. It is heart rending to see Pakistan burning on all frontiers of its statehood. I do not support crackdowns on peaceful protestors but I do support arresting the megalomaniacs who, in a streak of utter barbarianism, sabotage the state apparatus and those who work in the media.
This nation did not listen to the champions of change, including Qazi Hussain Ahmad. Everybody thought his views were too idealistic but never recalled Pakistan was once an ideal dream of Allama Muhammad Iqbal. It must be said that Sirajul Haq has emerged as a wise politician amidst these crises but still, those in the power corridors have a better recipe to rule since decades. He has the same advice for Imran Khan which Syed Abul Ala Maududi gave to Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah that “you must be very careful of the people around you”. The Quaid-e-Azam later realised this by saying “I have phony coins in my pocket”.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 22nd, 2014.