WEB DESK: At his recent news conference JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman lashed out at the Punjab government for announcing several measures, in pursuance of the National Action Plan (NAP), against seminaries and members of religious organisations suspected of involvement in terrorism.
He recalled that at the time of the finalisation of NAP by the national leadership he had expressed reservations, saying “I was left alone at the time” yet he had supported both the NAP and the 21st Constitutional Amendment handing special powers to military courts for trying terrorism suspects. He now wants a review arguing that “NAP and the 21st Amendment are not divine revelations. Operation Zarb-e-Azb has not been started as a result of divine injunctions.”
Going by this line of argument the right forum to seek review is Parliament; for, in the Islamic Republic sovereignty belongs to Allah and is exercised by the public representatives on His behalf. In any case, there is no justification for him to criticise so strongly something he himself endorsed a year ago.
The JUI chief, running a large number of madressahs all over the country, is now so annoyed with the government, apparently, because he did not expect NAP intrusion into his own territory: the madressah and the mosque. According to him, “both the federal and provincial governments know about the existence of armed organisations in the country but they are raiding only madaris and mosques in search of one or two persons.” The facts on the ground though tell a different story.
The Zarb-e-Azb being fought against armed religious extremists in the tribal areas has achieved major success, while intelligence-based operations are under way against violent sectarian organisations in different parts of the country. The problem, as the Maulana unwittingly admitted when he alleged raids are conducted only in madressahs “in search of one or two persons”, is that one or two wicked people are enough to facilitate terrorists’ purposes. A well-known fact is also that a number of foreign-funded seminaries are engaged in a proxy war killing innocent people. The Maulana went on to take issue with the Punjab government barring the Tableeghi Jamaat from entering universities saying “they are not allowed to carry out their peaceful and positive activities.” In at least one of the terrorist attacks in Lahore suicide bombers were reported to have found shelter at the Tableeghi Jamaat’s Raiwind headquarters. In some other instances, too, suicide bombers were facilitated by other religious parties/groups. This may have happened without the knowledge of these organisations top leadership, but there certainly are sympathisers in these places who provide help to terrorists.
As for the objection to restrictions on sermons, that is not something new. In Saudi Arabia, the mosque imams deliver only officially sanctioned sermons. Same is the practice in some of the other Muslim countries. Hence if the Punjab government, and before it the Sindh government, decided to follow suit, it should be accepted in the greater interest of peace and harmony of this violence-weary society. No one should need reminding that horrific violence perpetrated by religious extremists has claimed the lives of an estimated 55,000 civilians and 6,000 security personnel.
In fact, responsible leaders of religious parties should deem it their duty to fully cooperate with the government in the implementation of the NAP so as to eliminate militancy whether sustained by madressahs or mosques.
Source: Business Recorder