By Sajjad Shaukat
November 16, 2013
People from different walks of life including politicians, religious scholars (Ulema) and media persons have expressed their feelings of grief on the recent comments of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) Chief Maulana Fazl ur Rehman and especially of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Ameer Syed Munawar Hassan who evolved new theory on Shahadat (Martyrdom).
Maulana Fazl ur Rehman in an interview with senior journalist Saleem Safi on November 5, this year on a renowned TV channel program Jirga said, “Even a dog killed by the US is a martyr.”
In a separate interview conducted by Safi on November 7, JI Ameer, Munawar Hassan stated, “If American soldiers being killed by the Taliban were not martyrs, how could Pakistani soldiers killed by Taliban be declared martyrs.” In an earlier statement made on November 3, Hassan had already triggered controversy when he declared Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leader Hakimullah Mehsud a martyr following his death in a US drone strike.
In this regard, a spokesman of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) on November 10 strongly condemned the irresponsible and misleading remarks of the JI Ameer Syed Munawar Hassan, saying that he declared dead terrorists as Shuhadaa (Martyred), while insulting the Shahadat of thousands of innocent Pakistanis and soldiers of Pakistan’s armed forces. The spokesman explained, “Sacrifices of our Shuhadaa and their families need no endorsement from Syed Munawar Hassan and such misguided and self-serving statements deserve no comments,” demanding an unconditional apology from him.
Instead of apologizing for his derogatory and illogical remarks, Syed Munawar Hassan said on November 10 that he was stuck to his opinion of considering Hakimullah Mehsud as martyr and not viewing soldiers as such. General Secretary of Jamaat-e-Islami, Liaquat Baloch announced on November 11 that its Ameer’s statement was correct and according to Sharia (Islamic Jurisprudence).
While denouncing the ill-conceived thoughts of Syed Munawar Hassan, various leaders of Pakistan Peoples Party, Awami National Party and Muttahida Qaumi Movement including law-makers and prominent figures pointed out, “We should salute to those mothers, widows and orphans whose dear ones sacrificed their lives for the cause of the motherland. Besides, all those personnel of the security forces who lost their lives for the integrity of the nation and all those innocent people who were killed in bomb blasts, suicide attacks and other terror-incidents are martyrs.” They reminded, “Every child in Pakistan knows that 7,000 security officials and more than 40,000 innocent citizens including religious scholars have been killed by the TTP led by Hakimullah Mehsud…the JI Ameer’s statement means to scorn the sacrifices of our great martyrs who lost their priceless lives to save the lives of millions of Pakistani citizens in the ruthless terrorist attacks carried out by these Taliban.”
Some leaders suggested that If JI Ameer did not beg forgiveness over his controversial statement; the government should institute a case of treason.
In this respect, the members of Sindh Assembly in one voice also demanded from Jamaat-e-Islami Chief Munawar Hassan to apologize over his irresponsible statement which questioned the martyrdom of Pak Army and law-enforcing agencies.
Meanwhile, in order to clarify the controversy over martyrdom, Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif of the ruling party (PML-N) visited the General Headquarters (GHQ) of Pakistan Army on November 12 and pad homage to the martyrs of the country. Afterwards, a statement released from the Prime Minister House quoted the PM as saying, “Those who have fought for Pakistan, Ghazis (living) and Shuhadaa (Martyred), have sacrificed their today for ensuring a better tomorrow for our future generations and all of them are our benefactors.”
However, on the issue of martyrs and terrorists, the opinion of Ulema has great importance. In this context, on November 10, Chairman Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) Hamid Raza Rizvi from a fatwa issued by 30 scholars and religious clerics, and terming statements by Munawar Hasan and Maulana Fazl ur Rahman as “rubbing salt on the wounds of heirs of over 50,000 people killed in terrorist attacks in Pakistan,” announced, “Hakimullah was involved in killing of thousands of innocent people and army men. The fact that he was killed by a US drone could not purge him of his sins and he was not a martyr.” On November 12, accepting the challenge of TTP spokesman Shahhidullah Shahid on Shahadat-controversy, Hamid Raza replied that he was ready for debate with the Taliban on any channel.
It is mentionable that in the past few years, the militants of the TTP and its affiliated outfits killed thousands of persons across Pakistan through suicide attacks, bomb blasts, targeted killings, beheadings, assaults on military troops, police stations, sectarian violence etc. Besides blowing children schools and attacking the female teachers in order to deny education to girls, they also targeted mosques, Imambargahs, mausoleums, and disgraced dead bodies. Their nefarious acts resulted into deaths of several people in Pakistan. They continued their anti-social and un-Islamic practices to impose their self-created ideology of Islam.
In the Khyber agency, they also indulged in murdering and torturing Shias in their majority areas, forcing them to flee. Particularly, in some tribal areas and Swat these insurgents have been involved in a number of crimes such as drug-smuggling, forced marriages, hostage-takings for ransom and even car-snatching. They justify that they collect money through these unfair means to wage their holy war and in eliminating the moderate dissidents.
When Pakistan’s armed forces successfully ejected the TTP militants out of these areas by sacrificing their own lives, the new leader of the TTP Maulvi Fazlullah who had close connections with Pakistan-based TTP leader Hakimullah Mehsud, had run to Afghanistan, based in the Afghan provinces of Kunar and Nuristan—with the support of Indian secret agency RAW, Afghan spy service, the National Directorate of Security (NDS) which also have tactical backing of the US, his insurgents’ intensified subversive activities in Pakistan by sending suicide bombers and heavily-equipped militants.
Notably, the capture of a senior TTP leader Latifullah Mehsud by US Special Forces (USF) from Afghan custody, confessed that Afghanistan and India were involved in promoting terrorist activities inside Pakistan. He also revealed that while waging proxy wars in Pakistan, terrorist attacks on Gen. Sanaullah Khan Niazi in Upper Dir, at Peshawar Church, in Quissa Khawani Bazar and elsewhere had been planned by Indian and Afghan intelligence agencies. Especially, regarding terror-attack at Peshawar church, TTP did not claim responsibility, but it proved when the outfit misinterpreted Islam by indicating that it was in accordance with Sharia.
However, the militant groups also recruit very young boys, and after their brainwashing through indoctrination, they train them for suicide bombings. The planners misguide these Muslims by convincing that they will have a noble place in the Heavens in exchange of suicide attacks.
Nevertheless, Islam considers killing one innocent person equal to murdering the entire humanity, while jihad is a sacred obligation, but its real spirit needs to be understood clearly, as targeting innocent women and children is not jihad. These Taliban and their banned affiliated outfits are defaming Islam which is the religion of peace, democracy, moderation and human rights.
In this connection, in the recent past, more than 50 Islamic scholars declared “killing of innocent people, target killings and suicide bombings in Karachi, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa along with sectarianism…is not Jihad” and “is against the spirit of Islam.” They explained, “The terrorists’ self-adopted interpretation of Islam is nothing, but ignorance and digression from the actual teachings of the religion…the suicide attacks and related violence smeared the name of Islam and weakened Pakistan.”
Everyone knows that besides responding to Indian military’s unprovoked firings at the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir, which killed a number of soldiers of Pak Army and innocent civilians, thousands of personnel of the armed forces and law-enforcing agencies lost their lives in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Karachi, Balochistan and tribal areas in coping with terrorists so as to maintain the integrity and security of the country. So, they are the true martyrs.
Another notable contradiction is that when the JI workers were fighting the forces of the former Soviet Union in the first Afghan war, sponsored by the US-led west, they were calling their killed Mujahedeen as Shaheed. But, now this party has forgotten the term of martyrdom.
Nonetheless, the JI Ameer’s self-created definition of Shaheed means that there is a state within a state where Taliban could be allowed to slash the throats of security forces and to shed the blood of innocent persons.
No doubt, Munawar Hassan’s statement has exposed the extremist thinking of JI and its vilification propaganda campaign to harm, defame and denigrate the prodigious sacrifices of Pakistan’s soldiers, with criminal object to glorify the enemies of the state, while terrorists are not martyrs.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations