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The War Within Islam

While PML-N and ANP were particularly disgraceful in Mian’s case, religious parties must also resist the temptation to inflame religious fervour over negative causes. They have a higher responsibility to help Pakistan showcase the essence of our great religion. With or without other political parties, Khan needs to step forward as a tenacious champion of the rights of all Pakistanis....

 

The removal of Dr. Atif Mian from the Economic Advisory Council (EAC) was the latest episode that showed the tyranny of majoritarian religion in this country. A world renowned economist was removed from the EAC only because of his Ahmadiyya faith. This has heightened tensions between the secular and theocratic forces in the country. This cowardly decision by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has rekindled the historically unsettled debate on whether Pakistan should be a secular or a theocratic state....

Such retrogressive pronouncements or Fatwas from the Barelwi ulema were not on rise in India until they re-ideologised themselves in blasphemy laws emanating from Pakistan. Sultan Shahin, the founder-editor of this progressive forum, New Age Islam, rightly points it out:

“The fact remains that Mumtaz Quadri, the murderer of Governor Salman Taseer came from a non-Wahhabi Barelvi sect and was incited into his act and promised heaven in lieu of this murder by a Barelvi Mullah Hanif Qureshi. A shrine has now been built in the outskirts of Islamabad to worship him. Barelvis are considered Sufism-oriented and have been the main victims of Salafi-Wahhabi attacks on Sufi shrines. The half a million people who thronged the murderer Mumtaz Qadri’s funeral and the tens of thousands who are visiting his so-called shrine, however, are largely from Barelvi sect. They consider Governor Salman Taseer to be a blasphemer and his murderer an Aashiq-e-Rasool, i.e., someone who loves the Prophet (pbuh)…. The fact is Salman Taseer had merely called for the repeal of this black Blasphemy law.”...

The new chief minister of Punjab is a Sardar — read feudal lord — from South Punjab’s most abandoned part of Dera Ghazi Khan. Sardar Usman Buzdar is from Taunsa Sharif, which has no electricity. Taunsa has been the incubator of the proxy warriors Pakistan used in Afghanistan and India and produced leadership for the anti-Shia sectarian banned outfit called Sipah-e-Sahaba, honoured in the country for supplying proxy fodder....

 

Saudi Arabia is in a unique position to simultaneously keep Iran out of Yemen and end the war on favourable terms if it changes its role from war-maker to peacemaker. Saudi Arabia could use its clout and leverage within Western circles and empower international institutions and mechanisms to resolve the conflict. However, the window for achieving a resolution to the conflict is rapidly closing....

 

The Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan, the religious group that took leadership position against the appointment from a man from the Ahmadi community to an advisory role in government, is widely believed to be a party formed and mainstreamed at the military establishment’s behest in 2015. However, the party bitten the dust in the July general elections, like all other religious parties, and had lost face....

 

Most Islamist militant groups and networks in this region adhere to the Deobandi-Sunni or Salafist schools of thought. The most prominent among these are Deobandi organization like Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Harkat ul Jihad-e-Islami, Harkat ul Mujahedeen, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Lashkar-e-Omar and Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan. Trans-national groups like Al-Qaeda, the Islamic State, Waliyat-e-Khurasan, Hizb-ut Tahrir and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) adhere to the Salafist tradition....

For Kabul, the north-south “national” divide continues to be a decision-making obstacle; for Pakistan, the presence of India in Afghanistan erects a roadblock it can’t go over. The American view of Afghanistan has changed under Trump: It wants to get out after setting up a strategic bulwark against China in the region with India’s help....

 

In the past, Mr. Khan had taken various regressive positions — supporting the discriminatory blasphemy laws, attacking liberals, criticizing the press and describing the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan as a legitimate jihad against occupying forces — but he has an opportunity to turn the page and embrace a new, more inclusive vision for the country....

 

Worst of all, there is a growing international consensus that the regime is the best solution for the devastation it has wrought. The international community is now shifting its focus toward reconstruction, rehabilitating the regime through rewarding those responsible for the country’s devastation, and pressuring refugees to return to a country where their safety is far from assured....

 

Despite all the disadvantages caused by this ill doctrine, it has actually revealed the dangerous approach followed by that mufti and exposed the reality behind the institutions to which he belongs, heads and sponsors. Countries represented in their religious institutions are thus required to protect the sanctity of Fatwas from being misused and violated by unqualified figures....

 

China really-really is spreading its tentacles in Balochistan very rapidly, and therefore, we are appealing to the international community. The Gwadar project is for the Chinese military. This would be detrimental to international powers, to the people's interest, where 60 percent of world's oil flows. So, the world has to really take rapid action in curbing China's influence in Balochistan in particular and in Pakistan in general....

 

Thousands of civilian lives have been lost at the hands of terrorists, and many Pakistani soldiers have bravely fought the terrorists operating Pakistan. But that does not change the fact that the world sees Pakistan as a safe haven for Jihadis attacking India and the Taliban which is causing rampage in Afghanistan....

 

This nonsense is comparable to hiring video-gamers to run military software. It is a shiny object intended as a diversion for the world's Muslims and an amusement for the Western élites that are hypnotized by MbS. Hajj is sacred. It should be made safer. To do so is easy: improve traffic patterns. Muslim believers should be alarmed at more Saudi tinkering with the core elements of Islam, even while they prove themselves so incompetent in basic statecraft....

As disturbing as it was for many of us that Qadri, a convicted murderer, would garner such support, the Dharna itself provided many opportunities for amusement as we chuckled at the spectacle of participants throwing their slippers at helicopters and clucked our tongues at the colourful language that reverberated from the loudspeakers. Granted, at that point it was less a party and more a loose coalition of Barelvi groups with Rizvi as its ‘patron-in-chief’, but that was clearly just a stage in its evolution....

 

On the eve of International Day for the Victims of Enforced Disappearances 2018, there is very little — if anything — that the government of Pakistan could offer to the people of Pakistan as good news. People are still going missing, the state is still unwilling to investigate cases of enforced disappearances, the perpetrators still enjoy a free hand as well as immunity, the victims are still found dead and mutilated on deserted roads, and the survivors still remain coerced into silence...

 

The importance of the tribe in the process of society formation and state building has been studied extensively and the role of the tribe as a driving force in this process has been studied by scholars as diverse as Ibn Khaldun, Karl Marx, Max Weber and others. Anh Longva has even theorized that tribalism was in fact nothing more than a form of nationalism that existed in the era preceding the modern state....

 

Since he is interested in reviving Jinnah’s Pakistan, he should perhaps consider extending an olive branch to Bangladesh, which was once part of Jinnah’s Pakistan. In simple terms, Khan should go slowly but steadily. The hope that he has generated among the youth is amazing, and he needs to maintain that optimism. Khan has the potential to achieve Iqbal and Jinnah’s Pakistan and represents the Ummah (the global community of Muslims) positively to humanity at large....

 

So Israel and Hamas are talking indirectly about a longer-term deal. Hamas will stop the pyrotechnic prophylactics in exchange for freer movement of goods and people. The leader of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, told Gazans that “we are on the path to ending the blockade.” They will probably be disappointed. Israel and Egypt have already relaxed restrictions at the borders....

 

The non-Muslim prisoners of war, who were captured after the Battle of Badr, were offered freedom in exchange for teaching people in Madina. Similarly, Madina’s foreign policy revolved around establishing peaceful relations with other tribes and nations. If a tribe decided to remain neutral, its decision was respected. Today, when non-Muslims in Pakistan are told that the ruling party is interested in implementing the Madina model in our beloved country, many of them are in favour of the idea as they know that they will finally be treated equally.....

Pakistan, in the court of world opinion stands accused of fighting a proxy war against India. Pakistan has repeatedly injected militants, variously called “freedom fighters” and “mujahideen” into Kashmir, not once but thrice, in 1947, 1965 and 1999.This “holy war” has not yielded any positive results. In fact the blowback has been terrible. Does PM Imran intend to reverse this tactic?...

 

Indian High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria called on Imran Khan and presented him with a bat signed by the Indian cricket team. Only one of them (MS Dhoni) had reached his teens when Imran Khan’s team won the World Cup in 1992.  The bat was a thoughtful gesture. Should Modi expect a tea set in return?...  

 

There are continuous Egyptian efforts to ensure that the prospective agreement for a truce extending for five years between Israel and Hamas is successful, during which military actions on both sides would cease. Hamas’ inclination for peace with Tel Aviv, even if temporary, came as a surprise to many, especially since the movement strongly believes in the “demolishing Israel” and in “the historical Palestine” according to its ideological principles....

 

If Mr. Khan can make the military a partner and enabler of his foreign policy ambitions — including a “mutually beneficial” relationship with the United States, “open borders” with Afghanistan and peaceful trade with India — he will pull off a feat no Pakistani leader, civilian or military, has ever managed. If he does, it will help establish an unprecedented regional peace and stability. That would be an outcome that Americans, Afghans and Pakistanis can all root for together....

 

In 1992-93, when Pakistan concluded that the insurgency’s spirit was depleting, the army facilitated the induction of “Mehman (guest) mujahideen”. Like many of his colleagues, Hasan also followed subsequent Kashmir-related developments. For example, in 1996, the army’s assessment was that Kashmiris were “tending to stay away from the insurgency”. In 1998, the “guest” mujahedeen did not possess major weapons ....

 
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