‘Islamic Front’: Apolitical religious bloc to fight sectarianism

Published: May 19, 2012

40 politico-religious leaders to announce the initiative in Islamabad on Monday. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

Top leaders of the country’s politico-religious parties are set to launch a new apolitical front on Monday in an effort to put the genie of sectarianism back into the bottle.

The proposed Islamic Front will be launched at a daylong conference in Islamabad and will try to resolve myopic sectarian differences by harmonising Friday sermons in the country’s mosques.

It will also lobby for the implementation of the recommendations of the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII), the apex constitutional body which advises the government on the Islamic status of the country’s laws.

“Nearly 40 leaders and representatives of politico-religious parties and groups have been invited to the conference, titled Ummah Unity and Islamic Solidarity,” Qazi Hussain Ahmed, former chief of the Jamaat-e-Islami, told The Express Tribune.

He preempted the impression that the front would be a rival of the right-wing bloc, the Defence of Pakistan Council, or that it would be the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal reincarnated.

“It’ll not be a political grouping or an electoral alliance. It’s going to be an ideological platform which will work for safeguarding national interests and guide the nation in religious matters,” Ahmed said.

Asked about the rationale for a new right-wing bloc in the presence of DPC, Ahmed said that the Islamic Front would try to settle sectarian differences and bring different schools of thought close to each other.

“Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan, Karachi and some tribal regions are in the grip of sectarian violence. Religious scholars will try to extinguish the fire of sectarianism and save innocent lives,” he added.

The front will have a ‘reconciliation commission’ which will take immediate steps to resolve internal disputes. A general council, having representation from all schools of thought, will be constituted to explore the possibility of gelling together an Islamic Solidarity Front.

An ‘education commission’ will also be formed which will conduct researches and liaise with different schools of thought in order to bring them closer to each other.

A subcommittee will offer guidelines to prayer leaders for Friday sermons in light of the Holy Quran and traditions of the Prophet (pbuh), so that the clerics focus more on moral, economic and social problems of society.

“The committee will try to create conformity in sermons,” the former JI chief said. A central secretariat will be established and resources and manpower will be put at its disposal for this purpose.

“The front will organise a peaceful constitutional struggle to push the government for the implementation of CII’s recommendations,” he added.

Ahmed said that in face of an onslaught from secular forces and a Western cultural invasion, it is necessary to protect the Islamic ideology of Pakistan. And for this purpose, it’s necessary to harmonise the voices coming from the country’s mosques.

Top scholars from Deobandi, Barelvi, Ahle-Hadith and Shia schools of thought will attend the conference. They include Maulana Fazlur Rahman (JUI-F), Hafiz Muhammad Saeed (Jamaatud Dawa), Allama Sajid Ali Naqvi (Millat-e-Jafria), Maulana Samiul Haq (JUI-S), Munawar Hasan (Jamaat-e-Islami), Owais Noorani and Sahibzada Abul Khair (JUP), Alama Muhammad Amin Shaheedi (Wahdat-e-Muslimeen), Sahibzada Fazal Karim (Sunni Council), Sahibzada Sultan Ahmad Ali (Tanzimul Arifeen), Hafiz Akif Saeed (Tanzim-e-Islami), Qari Hanif Jalandhri (Wifaqul Madaris), Pir Haroon Gilani (Tehrik-e-Faizan Aulia), Mufti Muneebur Rahman (Chairman Central Moon-Sighting Committee),  Maulana Abdul Malik (Ittehadul Ulema), Allama Ibtesam Elahi Zaheer (Jamiat Ahli-Hadith) and Senator Sajid Mir (Markazi Ahle Hadith).

Published in The Express Tribune, May 19th, 2012.

Reader Comments (62)

  • sick of this nonsense
    May 19, 2012 - 9:38AM

    first they spill the milk in the ground. then they say we will put it all back in the bottle.

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  • yusuf
    May 19, 2012 - 9:49AM

    Good effort! Wish you best of luck.

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  • sab g
    May 19, 2012 - 9:55AM

    too late but it will be a great effort by the religious leaders if work on this issue sincerly,,,best of luck….

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  • thewhigs
    May 19, 2012 - 9:59AM

    I don’t have a problem with Islamic Law being implemented per se, what I do have a problem is with THEIR version of “Islamic Law”.

    Their version have no rights for minorities, non-Muslims, women, etc. These people are completely intolerant and are hypocrites.

    Our Beloved Prophet (S.W.S.) and the Sahabas (R.A.)were quite open and “liberal” (I’ll use that term a bit loosely) compared to most of these religious wackos we see today.

    These people need to straighten themselves out first before they preach and try to determine how other people should live in a complex society.

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  • Hmm..
    May 19, 2012 - 10:00AM

    “It’ll not be a political grouping or an electoral alliance. It’s going to be an ideological platform which will work for safeguarding national interests and guide the nation in religious matters,” Ahmed said.

    Good! A right move to stop sectarianism in Pakistan! Wish you people all the best.

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  • Ebad
    May 19, 2012 - 10:03AM

    Tough I am a big time critics of right wing Politics in Pakistan, but I have to accept that out of nowhere right wing Parties are talking about sense. We all must appreciate and endorse this move by Qazi Sahab.

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  • Khurram
    May 19, 2012 - 10:19AM

    The elections are coming and to buy the best deal Possible from Political parties they have to be united and that is what we are watching right now. I see this deal as another Step Of Opportunism. I beg to People of Punjab not to give votes to these fanatics as They will transform whole of South Punjab into Swat of Musharraf-MMA era. Taliban were happy with MMA as Swat was taken over by Taliban under MMA gov in KPK and this time they will repeat it elsewhere. The people of Punjab, Balochistan and Sindh should reject them to avoid Talabinization of these regions.

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  • Rana
    May 19, 2012 - 10:26AM

    Oh stop it. These people are as unreliable as the PPP. Nowadays they are provoking the anti american sentiments of the masses by opposing the reopening of NATO supply routes, just an election stunt. They had a provincial government in KPK and Balochistan for 5 years and the NATO routes were functioning at that time and they never gave a word of protest. Hypocrisy at it’s best I guess

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  • Freedom Seeker
    May 19, 2012 - 10:36AM

    Good thing I don’t see any banned organization over here. It increase its chances of success. Good luck Mr. Ahmed for this great cause.

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  • Big Rizvi
    May 19, 2012 - 10:44AM

    A religious party fighting sectarianism? Really? Were they high when they made this decision?

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  • Dr. Kamran
    May 19, 2012 - 10:50AM

    Better late than never come

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  • Lusty Kashmiri Boy
    May 19, 2012 - 11:07AM

    I like it.

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  • May 19, 2012 - 11:07AM

    These beards do not have anything better to do in life other than form fronts, parties, and alliances to create trouble (with the gun).
    Presumably, Pakistan has the most firqas than any other country in the Islamic world. In addition, this motley mix of firqas with their varying interpretations creates most of the trouble. That is why there is no stability at all and our GOP invariably has to take anti-diarrheal tablets when confronting the religious parties. In addition, most of the guns and ammunition is in the possession of these indoctrinated and brainwashed die hards. To what benefit.
    Therefore, with open defiance of the law by Mr. Gillani, the ordinary citizen will have to start thinking seriously for his personal well-being.
    Salams to Pakistan (what a country).

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  • May 19, 2012 - 11:10AM

    see what these ‘mullahs’ have done in the past – ‘history repeats itself’ – it itself a big joke, ‘islamic front’ in a muslim country!

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  • May 19, 2012 - 11:16AM

    Let’s appreciate good efforts.

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  • Zafar
    May 19, 2012 - 12:00PM

    Good luck!!! Wish you all the best

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  • curious
    May 19, 2012 - 12:12PM

    Great news. This has been needed for a long time.

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  • Logic Europe
    May 19, 2012 - 12:15PM

    let Muslims not call themselves Sunni and don’t call others Shia

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  • usman
    May 19, 2012 - 12:19PM

    good move and must be appreciated. we should avoid criticism at every thing and even before it is happened.

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  • lahori
    May 19, 2012 - 12:54PM

    Qazi sb is doing this effort for the second time, first one done in 2000 and it was quite successful, there was no sectarian violence for nearly 9 years
    from 2000-2009. i remb the picture in which deo bandi, ahle-hadis, shia, baralvi offering prayer togather when this type of conference was held. It had a very deep and good impact. We should give full credit for these efforts. my best friend who is of other sect then mine, appreciated this effort in around 2000 also and i feel it will have the same impact this time also

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  • Mj
    May 19, 2012 - 12:59PM

    Couldn’t they have chosen a better name? Islamic Front sounds like a militant organization. A positive development, nonetheless.

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  • Munir Khan
    May 19, 2012 - 1:00PM

    I will believe them if they can say namaaz together.
    If they can’t do that they can disband and go home!!

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  • Uza Syed
    May 19, 2012 - 1:12PM

    Forget it, just leave us alone—–Qazi Saab, we thought and were grateful that you retired. Please, don’t bother now and go back and just quietly go into that sleep and rest in peace.

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  • syed baqar ahsan
    May 19, 2012 - 1:17PM

    if all manage to remove snakes from their sleeves and stop looking towards Saudi Arabia and Iran,things will improve too fast.CIA/RAW/MI and others have a special mission in this regards.Good “logo Qazi ha ra ha” I appreciate him.

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  • Ozymandias
    May 19, 2012 - 1:38PM

    A good move. Long overdue.

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  • Parvez
    May 19, 2012 - 1:40PM

    @sick of this nonsense: You said it all.

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  • imran
    May 19, 2012 - 1:49PM

    The problem is in the gene of state discourse, until state don’t took her responsibility to enforce law of the land and don’t stop use religion for certain purposes, these kind of fronts cant do anything to eliminate this problem permanently or this will fix the problem temporarily. Like MMA was formed and give rule in KPK to avoid backfire of policy shift in post 9/11 era. But what happened once that policy turned into doomed. City to cities bath into blood. Another aspect of sectarian violence we must remember that problem was created when state miscalculated its strategy and objects. Now only state can fix it.

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  • lahori
    May 19, 2012 - 1:50PM

    v nice efforts, all the best

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  • May 19, 2012 - 1:58PM

    Desired results are uncertain, unless and until (I repeat “unless and until”) they start the sessions with prayers behind one/single IMAM…

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  • javed
    May 19, 2012 - 2:20PM

    This is just old wine in new bottle.They are trying to form a new MMA to befool the poor masses by the name of Islam and get their vote.But this time people both KPK and Balochistan will not vote for them as they have caused severe damage to the said provinces in thier government.

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  • Saif
    May 19, 2012 - 2:33PM

    @himidik.:
    Who said anything about a muslim country my friend? Only because, Pakistan is officially an Islamic republic, does not make it Islamic in the least! We have mosques and madrassas but nothing we do, in civil, economic, political or military lines, is Islamic really! About time someone stood up and reminded people of the importance of Islam. Hopefully, not with a forced hand, but with logic and reasoning! Look at national statistics for crime, unemployment, education, health and sanitation, wealth distribution, etc etc etc! You will realise, how badly we need Islam in teh way things are being run!

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  • Ali
    May 19, 2012 - 2:34PM

    i had started loosing trust in these Mullas. At the back of mind, i think this might just be one of their conspiracies.

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  • Aqua
    May 19, 2012 - 2:36PM

    One shia scholar and the rest are sunni, yet mainly shias are being target killed…oh may be all sunni scholars need to change their ideology and help their followers as well!

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  • Ahsan Mansoor
    May 19, 2012 - 2:38PM

    Qazi sahab is a nice human being. But why only leaders of political otufits are invited? Why not the likes of Dr Khalid Mehmood (former chairman of CII), Prof. Ahmed Javed, Javed Ghamdi etc?

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  • Pakistani
    May 19, 2012 - 2:39PM

    If they can end all of this violence then I fully support them and it is about time

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  • Nand
    May 19, 2012 - 3:11PM

    @syed baqar ahsan: ‘CIA/RAW/MI and others have a special mission in this regards’/

    Use a microscope and not a telescope for your eyes to see Pakistan’s problems. Then and only than can Pakistan prosper.

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  • I read it too...
    May 19, 2012 - 3:16PM

    Great initiative… should be lauded…! :)

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  • Realist
    May 19, 2012 - 3:18PM

    HUH! Identify and name the monsters first who are involved in sectarianism, and take them on! One can’t fight an unknown, unnamed enemy. If yo can’t do that, the alliance is a farce then.

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  • Syed Ali
    May 19, 2012 - 3:24PM

    When they say “Sectarian Violence” it sounds like a ‘multi-way’ affair; implying different sects fighting each other violently. Unless these hypocrits accept reality and say it clearly that there has been a ‘genocide’ of only ‘shias’ going in different parts of Pakistan, no effort would be worthwhile. Sectarian differences have been out there for centuries but it is only recently, i.e. after zia’s ‘islamic era’ in Pakistan, that they have turned violent claiming innocent lives.

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  • saleem
    May 19, 2012 - 3:29PM

    First we must punish Hafiz Saeed and all the killers for the murders they have committed . How can religious scholars even sit with murderers and expect people to believe them

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  • Imran Mohammad
    May 19, 2012 - 4:01PM

    Good effort Qazi Sahib. Everyone should support it.

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  • kaalchakra
    May 19, 2012 - 5:29PM

    A good development. These Islamic scholars have a lot of wisdom which should be utilized instead of people criticizing them for creating a united Islamic front. After all, what is the purpose of Pakistan if we cannot unite Islam?

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  • May 19, 2012 - 6:05PM

    Let us wish him good luck. At there is recognition of the sectarian problem.

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  • Naeem Siddiqui
    May 19, 2012 - 6:16PM

    Will this ‘Islamic Front’ will sit and analyse what went wrong that muslims started killing each others in such a brutal manner in the name of Islam who is responsible for fueling secterian hatred will those responsible be punished !!!???

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  • Freeman
    May 19, 2012 - 6:25PM

    @sab g: It took bit longer but good step and I do not think its late.

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  • Freeman
    May 19, 2012 - 6:28PM

    @sick of this nonsense: As you call your self @Sick of this nonsense. What one can expect from you. Only negative approach.

    I think this a very good and positive step towards put the country on a right track.

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  • Waqas Maalik
    May 19, 2012 - 6:37PM

    Really good effort Qazi Sahab. JI should come forward to topple the issue of increasing Target Killings on Sectarian Bases as it is the only party never been involved in sectarian violence. May Allah help you.

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  • Umer
    May 19, 2012 - 6:40PM

    Punish these maulanas for spreading sectarianism in the first place and then the problem would be solved.

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  • kanwal
    May 19, 2012 - 7:33PM

    @Big Rizvi
    Yeah. High on the newly pumping Saudi-cum-USA dollars.
    I dont trust this hypocrite class one bit. First you nurture snakes, then you say I am going to catch and kill it. How does that make sense? and to whom?

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  • usman
    May 19, 2012 - 7:47PM

    what about agha khani, bohras and noor bakshi sects, they also should be par of this bloc.

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  • saad
    May 19, 2012 - 8:05PM

    Good initiative. Good luck.

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  • SYED
    May 19, 2012 - 8:09PM

    It’s like thieves given the job of guarding the banks!

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  • Suraj
    May 19, 2012 - 9:05PM

    why don’t they do same to protect the rights of minorities.. A big NO….

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  • PakArmySoldier
    May 19, 2012 - 10:10PM

    I hope they would also fight the religious persecution of minorities and Ahmedis.

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  • Ahmed
    May 19, 2012 - 10:37PM

    @thewhigs:
    you know that Ji includes a active minority wing too ? and women wing is most active wing in party ?

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  • ather khan
    May 20, 2012 - 12:15AM

    good move. but i want to see the result. people are getting frustrated with everyday violence and killings. please unite in the name of great religion islam.

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  • Hadi Ansari
    May 20, 2012 - 12:57AM

    History repeats itself.During past 1300 years we have seen many similar attempts by the mullahs to repair the damage caused to Islam by their blinkered policies.All previous attempts ultimately resulted in disintegration and hate.
    Those mentioned in the news carry no weight and are considered spent forces by the genie created by them.

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  • Jarrar
    May 20, 2012 - 1:24AM

    To promote harmony individually, try going with a friend of different sect to his mosque. Like a Shia going to Sunni Mosque and the vice-versa. This would be a good step, isn’t it?

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  • DevilHunterX
    May 20, 2012 - 2:34AM

    There is no concept of religious political parties in Islam

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  • MNA KHAN
    May 20, 2012 - 1:06PM

    Quaid-E-Azam the founder of Pakistan was totally against the theocracy ( Mullah-ism). They are all sectarian political leaders. They politicize the religion to take political millage.In other words they use religion to take the political benefits. Islam is basically a secular religion ( La Iqrah Fi Din) not a Theoretic ( Mullah-ism) Religion. When you not give all Pakistani Nationals an equal status, sectarianism will grow and Kafir making industry will grow.The majority sect will try to declare all other sect Non-Muslims to get full control over government.If you want to close this (Kafir-Making ) Non-Muslim producing industry to close then please separate the Religion from State and give equal rights to all citizens of Pakistan as The founder of Pakistan’s vision was.

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  • May 20, 2012 - 4:04PM

    Its is good effort but too late to amend the hatred they preached to each other. I think necessity is the mother of invention. Let them do what can they do to clean up the mess they made in

    first place. The only suggestion I give them is, they better be stand on what they say today as one of them said its not going to be a political or electoral movement!!Recommend

  • Anjum Hameed
    May 20, 2012 - 9:05PM

    How many sects does Islam have these days?.. I thought the Quran says specifically in an Ayat that those that create sects in religion are forever damned??..whatever, the intensity and hatreds each sect has towards the other is mind boggling!..I never knew so much hate existed in the name of God.

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