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Home > General > Pakistan: The Jamaat-e-Islami’s shenanigans

Pakistan: The Jamaat-e-Islami’s shenanigans

3 April 2014

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Editorial, Daily Times, 1 April 2014

We seem to have been bombarded of late by the stunted intellect of the mullah variety in Pakistan. As if the Council of Islamic Ideology’s edicts on underage marriage and polygamy were not enough, the Jamaat-e-Islami, Pakistan’s mainstream hardliner religious political party, has moved a motion in the National Assembly that the talent show ‘Pakistan Idol’ is “obscene” and ruining the values of society. One wonders where these maulvis (clerics) come up with such logic from. How can a music and singing talent contest that allows youngsters to showcase their vocal abilities and add some fun and colour to their lives and the lives of the viewers be a vulgarity-promoting activity? There is absolutely nothing objectionable about the programme from an ethical or moral point of view but, it seems, anything that brings even the slightest amount of joy to the people of Pakistan must be condemned by those belonging to the Jamaat-e-Islami and their ilk. This is typical of the dogmatic mindset that has begun permeating almost every level of society of late, leaving little room for logic and reason.

To add to the concern, the Jamaat-e-Islami has elected a new ameer (chief). Munawar Hasan has been replaced by Sirajul Haq, a senior minister in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government. His predecessor, Munawar Hasan, became quite notorious and loathed a few months back when he boasted that soldiers from the Pakistan army are not shaheeds (martyrs) but those militants killed by drone strikes are. Now it is quite alarming to note that Sirajul Haq, who has a reputation for being much more of a hardliner than Munawar Hasan, has been anointed ameer. His predecessor Munawar Hasan had been a lacklustre leader and only succeeded in weakening the position of the Jamaat-e-Islami to such an extent that, electorally, the party has continued to show dismal results, having only four of its members sitting in the current National Assembly. Sirajul Haq was also a senior minister in the now defunct Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal alliance, which, when it had a government in the then North West Frontier Province under the Pervez Musharraf dispensation, was so disliked by the people that it did not survive the political demise of Musharraf. To think that this man is now going to head the Jamaat-e-Islami is a pointer towards only one reality: the party will further issue harsh and ludicrous edicts like the one on Pakistan Idol, further limiting the open and broad vision with which the average Pakistani wishes to live. Also, when the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal government was in place in what is now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, it was a time of strengthening homegrown terror, betraying the link between the provincial government and militant outfits. So, combining the Jamaat-e-Islami’s love for marking all things recreational as obscene and for its open support for terror groups, we seem to now be looking at a period of further isolation of the party. The majority of Pakistanis, while religious, are not hardliners at heart. They believe in the Sufi tradition and culture and wish to live in peace. The brand of Islam that the Jamaat-e-Islami wishes to promote is out of sync with the mindset of the people. It is hoped the Jamaat-e-Islami will revisit its position on matters such as that of Pakistan Idol but this is unlikely. What will probably happen is more ludicrous assertions being made by the new hardline ameer of the Jamaat-e-Islami and the people rolling their eyes at the narrow-mindedness they reflect.


The above from Daily Times (Pakistan) is reproduced here for educational and non commercial use