The very excellent Difa-e-Pakistan Council

Published: February 3, 2012
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The writer is an Islamabad-based freelance communications consultant. She tweets @tazeen and blogs at 
http://tazeen-tazeen.blogspot.com

The writer is an Islamabad-based freelance communications consultant. She tweets @tazeen and blogs at http://tazeen-tazeen.blogspot.com

One cannot be faulted for assuming that the Difa-e-Pakistan Council may perhaps comprise of officials of the defence ministry, four-star generals and decorated admirals who wish to ponder over the defence needs of the country and make major strategic decisions.

To find out that it is actually a motley crew of fourty-odd religious parties, banned terrorist outfits like the Jamaatud Dawa (JuD), a few other political has-beens like Sheikh Rasheed and Ijazul Haq, and former spymaster Hameed Gul, among others, can be shocking. To figure out what it stands for can be even more astounding. Let’s try and figure that out by asking a few questions.

So what does the Council stands for? According to Hafiz Saeed of the JuD, it is a coalition with the aim to “defend Pakistan”. What do they actually do apart from claiming to defend the country? Not much besides holding rallies in different cities and threatening the government of dire consequences if their demands are not.

What are those dire consequences? Chaos, anarchy and suicide bombings. But don’t we have them — anarchy, chaos and suicide bombings — already? Yes, but they have promised to scale up the operations if their demands are not met.

And what are those demands? For starters, they want parliament to not restore the Nato supply lines. But those supply lines have always been open and were blocked only some weeks back — why this sudden realisation that it undermines the sovereignty of the country? Better late than never, isn’t it?

What else do they want? Surely they cannot spend millions of rupees on all those public gatherings to demand that the government does not restore the Nato supply lines? The ultimate goal is to sever all diplomatic, cultural, political and economic ties with the United States of America. Errr, can our country survive this ultimate isolation? Most probably not, but the Council would surely like the government to try that. Is it just America that they want to cut ties with, or has any other country faced a similar wrath? They hate India just as much and are angry with the government for awarding it ‘Most Favoured Nation’ status.

But by regularising trade with India, the government will not only discourage cross-border smuggling of goods, it will also gain from taxes and duties levied on the increased imports — revenue which can then be used for public welfare. Surely that cannot be bad? The Difa-e-Pakistan Council is not concerned with the public good; according to its chairman, “the council’s sole agenda is to ensure the integrity and sovereignty of Pakistan”.

What legitimacy do they have, if any, to demand all that? Between the 40 parties and organisations that make up the Council, only the JUI-F is represented in parliament and it too has a handful of seats. One can surely ascertain the Council’s legitimacy by seeing its underwhelming electoral performance. The Council, of course, would like to think otherwise. According to Maulana Sami-ul Haq, its chairman, their gatherings are a clear message to US and a referendum for the government of Pakistan to immediately review its relations with America and other western allies.

Does any of this make sense? No, not really — but then our politics has never been about logic, finding solutions and peace and harmony. It has always been about rhetoric, confusion, demagoguery and posturing and the Difa-e-Pakistan Council is doing one hell of a job as far as this is concerned.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 4th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (41)

  • Uza Syed
    Feb 3, 2012 - 9:14PM

    This “Difa-e-Pakistan Council” seems to be pondering over how best to hurt Pakistan and make sure to contribute decisively in “Pakistan-ko-Dafa Karao” movement. Let the message reach home to them all that their dreams will never be realized, their would never ever be a “Khilafat” or “Emirate” here, we will just not let this happen. Pakistan must live, even if at the cost of all such enemies of Pakistan.

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  • Usama
    Feb 3, 2012 - 9:26PM

    Nailed it brilliant peace how many senseless fanatics we have in our society State and religion is entirely a different subject but these people messed them together,…. If you really have problem is US and west stop queuing yourself outside there embassies stop using all of their technology.stop playing this double game.

    Non of these religion parties have ever contributed to any good for Muslims and humanity other than acting on there self proclaimed propaganda.they have hijacked our silenced majority Recommend

  • Feb 3, 2012 - 9:28PM

    Pakistan can only be saved by ISI, Army and Zaid Hamid

    Recommend

  • Muhammad Tayyab
    Feb 3, 2012 - 9:38PM

    Let me remind you something, you said some banned terrorist organizations. These are banned but not terrorist. Don’t you know the meaning of terrorism? Does it have the same meaning the way American pronounce it? These organizations were involved in Kashmir for only our Kashmiri brothers & sisters, so was that bad? Lashkr-e-Taiba has been fighting in Kashmir but when our govt. banned it, it stopped and still none of its fellow has attacked Pakistani military or any Pakistani installation. These organization are peaceful and if they talk for the defense of Pakistan then is that bad? We know its not their duty but whom duty is, are involving in conspiracies against our own military and are wasting their energies to limit our military instead of showing some progress for the benefit of general public.

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  • hamzad
    Feb 3, 2012 - 10:05PM

    Any party, organization or group which can make Pakistan Paak saaf Muslim and Islami again 100% by kicking out remnants of colonialism, it’s colonized clones, and the westoxicated scum …is the call of the times..BECOME like Iran…Humiliate, degrade, kick, snuff out Westernism and english-mediumness….Recommend

  • Feb 3, 2012 - 10:11PM

    @Tazeen:

    Bravo! loved it.

    @Muhammad Tayyab

    These are banned but not terrorist.

    JuD has written its manifesto, vision, mission on almost every wall of Karachi. Please read what they say if you get time.

    P.S. My dad got his warehouse boundary walls painted thrice. The never spare it. Huh! Recommend

  • narayana murthy
    Feb 3, 2012 - 10:35PM

    @Zaid Hamid.

    This one is better compared to ur other long sentences!!! Nice.

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  • Feb 3, 2012 - 10:36PM

    Defa e Pakistan, do not we have enough military, FC, different tribal militias and police forces to defend Pakistan! Oh ya, all these forces do not have Xplode factor, that’s why we need outlaws to threaten the World peace.Recommend

  • Farqaleet
    Feb 3, 2012 - 11:23PM

    Excellent job Tazeen , totally impartial anylysis…..
    These organisations can just defame our country & islam. We have to get rid of these
    so-called mujahideen. When they ‘ll start doing Jihad with their Nafs. May God save our country from these .Recommend

  • Haider Shah
    Feb 3, 2012 - 11:26PM

    They should not be called Difa-e-Pakistan. Based on the their love for war, hate, intoerlance and bloodshed, they should appropriately be called Dafaa-e-Pakistan.

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  • Falcon
    Feb 3, 2012 - 11:36PM

    Good article. I think you are preaching to the choir. The consumer segment being served by ET is totally different from the people participating in that council’s jalsa (specially people with lesser knowledge of the repercussions). Hence, it might be a great idea if this article could be translated and published in an Urdu newspaper.

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  • khurrum bukhari
    Feb 4, 2012 - 12:19AM

    We need to see the connection between military’s relations with US and India vis-a-vis this Council’s activities. Refer to the violent protest launched by Jamat-e-Islami on visit of Indian PM in feb 99. Whenever our military leadership wants to communicate something indirectly, these outfits come into play. Hope people try to find this connection and make it more visible to general masses.

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  • Shakky
    Feb 4, 2012 - 12:22AM

    Excellent article!

    @Muhammad Tayyab: Lashkar Taiba was responsible for the Mumbai terror attacks – this has been proven very clearly. That makes them terrorists.

    @Hamza: What you’re advocating isn’t Islam. Nor is it “Pak Saaf”. What you’re advocating is called fascism – an intolerant ideology which first arose in Italy under Mussolini.

    Terrorism, fascism and intolerance smell bad, even when you cloak them under a supposedly benign name such as Difa-e-Pakistan.

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  • Uza Syed
    Feb 4, 2012 - 12:26AM

    “political has-beens like Sheikh Rasheed and Ijazul Haq” —— who would never ever be again! “and former spymaster Hameed Gul” ——- who has not (either ) ever been or ever be —-a self-possessed, useless sort!

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  • Khalid Hussain
    Feb 4, 2012 - 1:13AM

    I wonder what does Mohammad Tayyab think about Lashkar-e-Taiba not being a terrorist organization. It is because of LeT that Pakistan earned a bad name all over the world because not only India or US or European countries but Pakistan itself knows that it was involved in the Mumbai attack in which, in addition to Hindus & members of other faiths, as many 39 Muslims were also killed. I live in U.S.A. and I have to cut a sorry figure when ever my real nationality is revealed. Even when I go to a post office to mail a parcel back home, the counter clerk, he or she, white or black or Hispanic, look at the address and then at me twice, ask repeatedly if the parcel contains anything inflammable or a drug or a computer chip. In India-occupied Kashmir, LeT members are martyred by Indian army men, but how many innocent Kashmirs are also killed in the encounters that take place in densely populated areas? Hindu Pandits were the original residents of the valley even before the advent of Islam and it is because of LeT threats that they had to leave their hearth and home to become refugees in Jammu. I wonder if Jama’at Ud-dawa.is not an outer garment of LeT itself. Please take pity on we Pakistanis who live in USA, Canada or Europe and stop this “terrorism” (what else can I call it, please tell me !) in the name of Islam.

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  • saleem
    Feb 4, 2012 - 3:04AM

    The difa council has made the job easy for everyone. Now the whole country and the world knows who are people responsible for all the terrorism in this country and who are its backers

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  • haris
    Feb 4, 2012 - 3:33AM

    “…by regularising trade with India, the government will not only discourage cross-border smuggling of goods, it will also gain from taxes and duties levied on the increased imports…”

    I believe the author is unknown to the realities of what MFN-assignment to India actually bring to Pakistan.

    Pakistan has almost nil exports while Indian export is growing ever so big. Even though their exports shrunk a bit in the last fiscal year but it is still too great to subdue the our internal production and development. If imports from India supersedes Pakistani local production, lets say, if Tomatoes are imported from India which surely will, then where will our farmers go? What they will be going to do?

    My opinion is to pay attention on the improvement of local sectors and in this case, Agriculture. The land is fertile we need to implement modern farming to increase the production, within our borders instead of kneeling yourself down in front of India.

    Ah! I remember everyone is thinking if India is too hostile then why they had awarded MFN status to us. My dear fellow citizens let me tell you that, with present day situation any state could happily grant this status to Pakistan because we don’t have any export to compete against their local market and thats what India did.

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  • KFH
    Feb 4, 2012 - 3:38AM

    Good show of some serious lack of knowledge.
    Bleeding with biasness, obvious from the statents like “they hate US and India”, “haven’t done anything for actual Difa except for rallying on the streets”
    Dear writer: FYI!
    1. LeT (new name JuD) is banned by UN only for fighting against the oppression of Indain govt on the Muslims in Kashmir.
    2. FIF (branch of JuD) has put in the the largest relief effort for the flood victims twice, which can be branded as the biggest relief effort in disaster by a single non-govt group in the world ever. Same they did at the tes of earth quake, this has also be recofnized by the internation observers liKe Herald.
    3. There is not a single FIR against any member of JuD/FIF/LeT in Pakistan.
    4. There has been no signle incidence of violence reported in the name of this group.
    5. Hafiz Saeed has himslef said in several interviews that they dont want conflict or any fight with India. If they stop this opression against Kashmiris, we are more than happy to be friends.
    6. They always has this stance of not siding with Americans in Killing the Muslims in Afghanistan and Pakistan, in terms of supply route of militiary basis.

    I believe the people with humility in any respectable nation will have same stance when there own brothers and sisters are allowed to be murdered against Dollars.

    My humble request is to think again.

    Recommend

  • haris
    Feb 4, 2012 - 3:41AM

    @Shakky:
    Please share the proof that these organizations are Terrorists.

    They worked under Pakistan military command and leadership for decades and when the same Military command banned them they stopped their operation and even banned their own activities. There is no case yet filed in the court by anyone and none has ever been registered in any Police station. Even the Govt. itself is not calling them terrorists.
    PS: Please don’t watch Indian News and movies too much.

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  • ahmed
    Feb 4, 2012 - 4:14AM

    @Khalid Hussain:

    I became emotional after reading your post. I am sure within 10 years Pakistan will be a great nation, if voices like yours are heard.

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  • numbersnumbers
    Feb 4, 2012 - 5:45AM

    WHERE was the “Difa-e-Pakistan Council” when the TTP recently “executed” 15 Pakistani FC soldiers, and provided video of the event??? Maybe I missed their press release!

    WHERE is the “Difa-e-Pakistan Councils” concern over PAKISTANI SOVEREIGNTY when so many FOREIGN MILITANTS (friends of the Difa-e-Pakistan Council?) wander about the country creating death and destruction??

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  • Mehran
    Feb 4, 2012 - 6:43AM

    I am really glad to read such an impressive, eloquent and to the point article. Hats off to you!!
    In this land pure, such councils were always been funded to become pressure groups against civilian set ups. Extremism is creation of our own establishment and wish they learn from their past follies and mercy upon this poor nation. Pls dont make us war mongering and neighbor hating people, bring us to new era of prosperity, progress and liberty.

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  • aysha
    Feb 4, 2012 - 6:49AM

    Can we help each other understand that one’s faith and belief system is one’s own responsibility. It is an individual’s business and his alone. Unfortunately, the religious leaders in the country have done a lot to promote divisive culture among people, and ordinary folks are becoming ever so suspicious of the other’s religious following and judging others on the basis of their faith. It all started in 1974 when the state decided by way of law to identify people as muslims and non muslims. It is important to understand that anybody who claims to be a muslim should be considered as one. It is not upto another person to decide if the other is a muslim or not and, later go on to judge whether a person is a good muslim or not so good muslim and take action accordingly. How can such individuals claim to defend Pakistan, who incite people and turn ordinary person like Qadri into a killer. I hope sense prevails in the masses and they dont make it to the parliament

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  • s shah
    Feb 4, 2012 - 6:52AM

    @tazeen javed, @khalid Hussein, @ Shakky, @Khurrum Bhukari:

    Totally agree. Bravo

    Recommend

  • Babbarsher khan
    Feb 4, 2012 - 7:04AM

    Where is Imran? I am surprised that he is not gracing the rallies organized by this outfit. Imranbhai, how will you make Pakistan an Islamic welfare state without hanging out with these defender of Islam in the land of pure?

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  • General
    Feb 4, 2012 - 7:44AM

    “Difa-e-Dehshatgard” Council

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  • faraz
    Feb 4, 2012 - 9:51AM

    @KFH, Muhammad Tayyab

    SSP and LeJ are also a part of this council. 90 percent FIRs of terrorism have been filed against LeJ

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  • Nabeel Ahmed
    Feb 4, 2012 - 1:09PM

    JuD is not a banned organization in Pakistan. Higher courts allowed this organization to work in Pakistan and dismissed all allegations. It is specially Indian propaganda this this organization is banned. Recommend

  • Outsourced Defence!
    Feb 4, 2012 - 1:29PM

    It seems that this “Defence Council” has been outsourced the onerous responsibility of The defence of pakistan?? How on earth can a terrorist outfit be allowed to freely vent its hatred?
    How can they name themselves a defence council? next they will appoint defence ministers and gebnerals from their ranks? There seems no method in this madness!!

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  • Javed
    Feb 4, 2012 - 1:40PM

    @Babbarsher khan:
    PTI is a member of Difa-e-Pakistan. It always sends a representative to these rallies.

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  • Ak
    Feb 4, 2012 - 2:42PM

    @hamzad:
    I hope you do see the irony of your statement when wrote it in English!!!!

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  • Feb 4, 2012 - 3:10PM

    @hamzad

    “…Humiliate, degrade, kick, snuff out Westernism and english-mediumness….:”
    Hey just curious to know, In what language did you write that comment? Sounds English, no?

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  • Feroz
    Feb 4, 2012 - 5:41PM

    The real question to be asked is WHO is backing and funding this group ? Is this group wanting to defend Pakistan or destroy it ? I hear that JUD does charity work too – by this same logic should murderers be allowed to roam free if they support a few beggars with a few nickels? How many more ordinary youth like Ajmal Kasab will be trapped, used and exploited by these monsters before this nation awakens from slumber ?

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  • Rana Athar Javed
    Feb 4, 2012 - 6:51PM

    The author raised very important and pertinent questions. I will add a couple of comments. Whereas defending our motherland is Number ONE priority. Let us first see what needs to done: How about creating an education system, which produce professional and honest human beings. And should we not improve our economy and stop corruption. How about making efforts to create a consensus, in order to tackle energy crisis. The Water crisis with India, does any Council OR Party plan to establish a better system of relationship with India, so at least we able to communicate and subsequently convince her that Pakistan seeks meaningful bilateral relations with India. Difa-e Council and all the parties involved must present logic for its current stance. It would be difficult to convince the deprived, unemployed youth, badly treated patients and hunger stricken population for voting those who just want to defend, but refused to provide solutions for these problems. All the leaders of this Council must realize that Pakistan is already reviewing its relationship with the US. But, the way it was presented at its forum is not something new, everyone is aware about these old leaders, their rhetorical style and meaningless rallies that bring nothing but a point of conflict within the social structures. This asymmetrical intellectual/political efforts cannot undermine the normal process of political negotiation that is taking place between the US and Pakistan. The exact Difa-e Pakistan is to address the concern of ordinary citizens of Pakistan, not to make people hostage to only “ideologically” charged slogans and pose Pakistan as a hostile and offensive member of international community.

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  • Noor
    Feb 4, 2012 - 7:23PM

    @aysha:
    No! Faith is a personal matter, but Practice is a collective matter.

    Read Quran & think again (if u have Faith in it).

    Love these accounts:
    Good show of some serious lack of knowledge.
    Bleeding with biasness, obvious from the statents like “they hate US and India”, “haven’t done anything for actual Difa except for rallying on the streets”
    Dear writer: FYI!
    1. LeT (new name JuD) is banned by UN only for fighting against the oppression of Indain govt on the Muslims in Kashmir.
    2. FIF (branch of JuD) has put in the the largest relief effort for the flood victims twice, which can be branded as the biggest relief effort in disaster by a single non-govt group in the world ever. Same they did at the tes of earth quake, this has also be recofnized by the internation observers liKe Herald.
    3. There is not a single FIR against any member of JuD/FIF/LeT in Pakistan.
    4. There has been no signle incidence of violence reported in the name of this group.
    5. Hafiz Saeed has himslef said in several interviews that they dont want conflict or any fight with India. If they stop this opression against Kashmiris, we are more than happy to be friends.
    6. They always has this stance of not siding with Americans in Killing the Muslims in Afghanistan and Pakistan, in terms of supply route of militiary basis.

    I believe the people with humility in any respectable nation will have same stance when there own brothers and sisters are allowed to be murdered against Dollars.

    My humble request is to think again.

    Recommend

  • Babloo
    Feb 4, 2012 - 8:06PM

    The difa-e-Pkaistan council can do “dafa-rafa” of Pakistan if their demands are not met.

    Recommend

  • numbersnumbers
    Feb 4, 2012 - 9:27PM

    @Noor
    SO, tell us how LeT staged the Mumbai Massacre 26/11?Recommend

  • Jay
    Feb 6, 2012 - 1:41AM

    I wonder why are we spending too much time discussing on such “council” if it doesn’t matter to us as in what they say or do? Everyone has their own opinions, we should respect them.

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  • Amir
    Feb 7, 2012 - 3:16PM

    Dear Reader,

    You all against Pakistan sovereignty and supporting US-INDIA interest in this region and you are not sincere and well wisher of Pakistan.

    If we see those who all talk against this Difa-e-Pakistan Councils, have their interest outside Pakistan, having their children and wealth all out of this country and they all living here to just make money from their Masters like Dr. Shakeel Afraid for whom US congress men passing bill to get US nationality for them.

    Why you all forgot Affia and other thousands of women’s and children’s who has been terrorized by anti Muslims and anti Pakistan.

    In the last I pray to ALLAH to guide us and to all our sisters and brother who go that much ahead in obeying their Godfathers.

    Recommend

  • Aleeem
    Feb 12, 2012 - 8:26PM

    Someone has to stand up to defend pakistan against corrupt U.S. supported Govt who are destroying Pakistan. If anyone has any love for Allah and Pakistan, they should make some efforts now. Our army may have some weaknesses, but they are much better than this corrupt Govt.
    Only Allah can help us to get us out of this mess; U.S. can not hurt us, if we please Allah by obeying him and doing our jobs honestly and making sincere efforts to be a good muslim and help others to become a good muslim. We are facing the problems due to our sins and making Allah unhappy. May allah guide and help us all. may Allah give Hidaya to everyone.Recommend

  • HonkyTonk
    Feb 18, 2012 - 7:36PM

    @Zaid Hamid:
    SIR ZAID for President, Prime Minister, Defense Minister, ISI Chief,
    Army Chief. He has ALL the solutions. He is the man of the moment!!!
    Oh i forgot the most important position and that of Information Minister
    as well. Wow!!!!!

    Recommend

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