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The War Within Islam

But if Khan is a genuinely popular leader who has surged into office because of a truly national following built on his cricket celebrity and appeal as an anti-corruption crusader, we can expect that he might want to be his own man and possibly stand up to the military. But even then, he must be very afraid to go the way of many former prime ministers before him: removed in a coup or marginalized using a combination of media and courtroom trials over corruption and sundry charges. In both scenarios, Pakistani democracy and Khan seem to be in imminent jeopardy....

 

Pakistanis drained after the drama of electoral vigils, delayed results, and allegations of rigging and meddling, will likely cleave to the promise of Faiz’s poetry. They console themselves by believing that they’ll one day “see that day that has been promised” them. That they do not have a united vision for this future day seems not to be of Imran Khan’s—or anyone’s—concern....

 
Of Salafis, Deobandis and Barelwis in Kashmir
Mushtaq Ul Haq Ahmad Sikander, New Age Islam
Of Salafis, Deobandis and Barelwis in Kashmir
Mushtaq Ul Haq Ahmad Sikander, New Age Islam

All these discourses of Salafis, Deobandis and Barelwis are quite alien to Kashmir. All these schools of thought are extremist in their outlook and rabidly sectarian and if provided with hospitable environs violent too. These groups have carried out violent acts against each other and different other sects in the recent past. Earlier they engaged with each other through writing diatribes, pamphlets and books denouncing each other and describing them as deviated and charging them with heresy. The sectarian mosques were used to hold debates against each other. Also the co-option and annexation of shrines by Barelwis who wrongly masquerade as Sufis has done a severe damage to the syncretic and plural message of Kashmiri Rishis....

Related Article:

Kashmir Is Too Diverse, Too Multicultural A Land To Turn Into A Radical Islamist State


Take the example of Brigadier Ijaz Shah, formerly of the ISI, who served as Musharraf’s hatchet man and was even named by Benazir Bhutto as one of the persons trying to have her killed. Shah was most likely the covert handler of Jaish-e-Muhammad’s Masood Azhar and Omar Saeed Sheikh when they were arrested in India as terrorists. Sheikh, lest you forget, is currently in prison after being convicted of murdering Wall Street Journal reporter, Daniel Pearl....

 

Islamist violence marred the election and is a constant threat to Pakistan. Meanwhile, the regional situation grows trickier, with rivalry between America and China, and China and India. That comes on top of rocky relations with America itself, the festering sore of war-torn Afghanistan to the north-west, and Pakistan’s age-old and bitter animosity towards India....

 
How Imran Khan Will Set Up Medina-Like Islamic Welfare State?
Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi, New Age Islam
How Imran Khan Will Set Up Medina-Like Islamic Welfare State?
Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi, New Age Islam

The concept of Ummat-e-Wahida (“one nation”) through the terms of the Madina constitution clearly shows that the Muslims and non-Muslims whether from Makkah or Madinah were one community. Thus, this Prophetic principle recognized the “nation” for the first time in the history as a one indivisible unit, moving from the individual or the tribal life to the life of the single nation. It is not characterized by any particular religion, racism or tribalism. It rather ended racism and discrimination on the basis of religion:“The Jews shall be responsible for their expenses and the Believers for theirs…...

So, while the sensible voices mourned the demise of democracy, I could see a much bigger problem. The intolerant, harsh, ritualistic, extremist label had been successfully achieved. We were already being called a failed state by even Bollywood actresses. Yes, Imran got what he wanted but at the price of everything we held dear. As my 21-year-old daughter followed the race for power in dismay, she remarked, ‘ignorance is bliss, I wish my hope had not been taken away’.

 

“Pakistan has accepted billions of American dollars, and used those funds to provide safe havens for the Taliban and other jihadist groups. Pakistan is directly responsible for the killing and wounding of thousands of American and allied soldiers.” You’ll recall that Osama bin Laden found refuge in Pakistan until U.S. special operators arrived unannounced at his villa. The claim that no Pakistani authorities knew he was in Abbottabad — a garrison town not far from Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital — is risible....

 
Why Imran Khan’s Invocation of Medina is Deeply Regressive
Arshad Alam, New Age Islam
Why Imran Khan’s Invocation of Medina is Deeply Regressive
Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

The prime minister of Pakistan has to believe in the ‘unity and oneness of Allah, the books of Allah, the Quran being the last of them, the Prophethood of Muhammad as the last of the Prophets and that there can be no Prophet after him, the Day of Judgment, and all the requirements and teachings of the Holy Quran and Sunnah’. Now if this is the oath that the prime minister takes, then it is understandable why Medina would continue to appeal. After all, the first experiment to establish Islam took place in Medina and the first country which got created specifically in the name of Islam was Pakistan....

As Pakistan braces for the next phase in its polity, there are lessons to be learnt from countries like India and the US where fear of change has led to the emergence of similar ‘strongman’ leadership. Those who voted for Narendra Modi or Donald Trump are not all bigots, misogynists or racists. Many are just ordinary people desperate for “better days” and to make their country “great again”. This is not too dissimilar from Imran’s supporters seeking “change”....

It needs no understanding of individual psychology or of Khan’s personal profile and proclivities to assert that these promises will be betrayed. Through history, leaders have never been able to escape the logic of the dynamic that propelled them to power. Pakistan’s founder, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, who harnessed religious polarization and the idea of jihad to engineer India’s Partition, and then sought to transform his fledgling country into one where “religion or caste or creed” would have “nothing to do with the business of the State”, is a glaring example of leaders who become prisoners of the means that bring them to ascendancy....

 

India and Pakistan, can work together, towards the development of their respective nations. Many avenues are open to forge a healthy alliance between the two nations in the field of education, health services, technology and the media, for instance. Being immediate neighbours, India and Pakistan cannot afford to remain antagonists; rather, they should strive to forge cordial relations in all possible spheres in order to lead the two nations onward, along a parallel path of development!...

 

Admittedly, the Miltablishment has stitched up an extraordinary political dispensation in difficult times. But, unlike Nawaz, the person they have chosen to lead it is strong-willed and unpredictable. In fact, Nawaz was eminently pliant. Yet, after a while, he felt compelled, given the nature of power, to try and be his own man. But this was unacceptable and he had to pay the price for even thinking such rash thoughts. Imran Khan, on the other hand, is a different kettle of fish....

The result of Pakistan’s 25 July election was foretold. The pre-polling environment had been muddied by the blatant meddling of the country’s all-powerful military, assisted by a judiciary eager to please the generals. The results – a disputed victory for cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan and his Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf (PTI) party– won’t make a dent in Pakistan’s reputation as a ‘crisis state.’...

 

Mr. Khan, till now the vitriolic candidate and opposition leader, will have to mature to be a more sobering influence on government and on his many first-time, overly enthusiastic Ministers who are inexperienced in governance, much like himself. Probably the considerable influence of the military and the judiciary on him will go a long way in helping this. Or, perhaps, the current Mrs. Khan’s visions will now guide his and the country’s future....

 

We have powerful, all-knowing ringmasters, caged lions, knife-throwers; trapeze artists flying from perch to perch, even cruelty to animals are included. Ours is a circus which looks to be performing its last show before it shuts down – evidenced most clearly by its last act, the clown. The political record of the former cricket star Imran Khan, who is thought to be near to victory due to the backing of Pakistan’s powerful military establishment, has long been one of opportunism and obeisance....

 

Throughout the polling period reports kept coming in, mostly from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, that, women were not being allowed to vote. A few days before the poll the ECP was approached with a complaint that in four districts of KP, the various political parties had signed a compact, ie they had conspired to keep women away from polling stations. Election 2018 did not bring an end to the organised denial of women’s right to franchise. It was, as usual, a contest limited to privileged moneybags and owners of hereditary privilege....

 

It is because as a society, we have internalized and normalized the unfair treatment towards minorities who do not ascribe to the religious beliefs and ethos of our entitled Sunni majority- may it be Ahmadis, Parsis, Christians or Shia Muslims. It is deemed acceptable that a candidate may be harassed regarding his personal views for a religious minority while campaigning in a so-called “democratic state”....

 

Khan’s new Pakistan was going to be a bit like Sweden and a bit like Singapore — or, really, like old Medina: According to him, all welfare state models are borrowed from early Islamic empires. He supports the blasphemy law and has defended the justice system adopted by the Taliban from Pashtun tribes....

 

But Turkey may have bitten off more than it can chew. Security in Afrin is getting worse. A double bombing in June killed nine people. Reports of infighting and looting continue to surface. People in Afrin chafed under YPG rule, a local resident says, but the insurgents who followed are worse. “The Turks must make these monsters go home.”...

 

Against all odds she is struggling to establish secularism and democracy. Though personally she is a practicing Muslim, she believes that religion is for individuals and secularism is for all. To achieve this goal in Bangladesh in its present social and political condition will take time. My Iraqi journalist friend was satisfied but asked me, 'Why don't your government propagate this truth strongly in the world especially in the Middle-east?...

 

In 1924, when King Abdulaziz conquered the Hijaz, one of the most important regions of the Arab peninsula where Mecca is located, he promised an elected council, participatory politics based on the Islamic doctrine of consultation, and absolute freedom. King Abdulaziz denounced fake elections, a nominal parliament and unfulfilled promises to the people. In the elected council that he proposed, the elected members would have the power to check executive action, approve the budget and propose legislation. In 1926, King Abdulaziz drafted a constitution-like document that provided the theoretical framework for a degree of accountability and power-sharing....

The army has also been more visible this time. In 2013, when terrorism was a bigger problem, it deployed 70,000 soldiers to polling stations. There will be 370,000 of them on July 25th. The Election Commission of Pakistan, which oversees the vote, has granted army officers the power of magistrates. This will give them control over proceedings in polling stations....

 

The MML isn’t the only unregistered or proscribed group that is using a different platform to compete in the upcoming polls. A faction of the Ahle Sunnat-wal Jamaat, the political face of the banned Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), for example, is in the electoral race from the platform of the Pakistan Rah-e-Haq Party. The Tehreek-i-Jafria Pakistan has registered its political front with the ECP as Islami Tehreek Pakistan (ITP)....

 

The rural people of Pakistan don’t have the luxury of weighing ideologies and campaign promises of political parties. Who they vote for is determined by a smile, by a disapproving look from the feudal lord. Tens of thousands of votes are cast for the political party the overlord favours — a choice he always makes after weighing the balance of power. The practice of democracy in the countryside is almost invisible to the television anchors and columnists and other influential urban compatriots who pay American prices for a cup of coffee in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad....

 
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