Definition debate: JI vs army, end of an affair?

JI leader apologises over chief’s statement, experts say dual role of institutions creating confusion.


Umar Nangiana November 13, 2013
JI chief Syed Munawwar Hasan. PHOTO: NNI

ISLAMABAD:


Institutions and political parties that have been playing a dual role in their conduct have always spewed confusion. In the backdrop of debate triggered by Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) chief Munawar Hassan’s remark that “those fighting for the US were not martyrs”, analysts opined the same political party justified such deaths as martyrdom during the Afghan War in the 1980s.


“More than remarks, it is their changing faces that actually confuse people,” said Farzana Bari, a civil society activist who is also a professor at Quaid-e-Azam University. She was speaking at a forum organised by the Express Media Group here on Tuesday.



Bari said people were least bothered about the debate over who is or is not a martyr. It was initiated for the good of the ruling elite only, which was already divided internally. The ruling class is fighting to secure its personal sphere of influence and is completely oblivious to people’s problems.

JI’s member National Assembly and parliamentary leader Sahibzada Tariqullah said that his party chief made a “casual remark” during a TV interview which was later “blown out of proportion by the media”.



“It is not that big an issue. Munawar only put a question forward that was in his mind and it was interpreted as being against the army,” said Tariqullah. “But we apologise if it hurt anybody’s feelings and we are in touch with Munawar Hassan on the issue and trying to convince him [to do the same],” he added when asked if the JI chief was considering tendering apology to the army and the nation.

Brig (R) Masudul Hassan, general secretary of the Pakistan ex-Servicemen Association, however blatantly put the blame on JI chief, saying he tried to instigate a rebellion among soldiers with his statement.



“If the soldier is told that he was not martyred if killed by an enemy, but his enemy is a martyr, the soldier would definitely believe there is no use in fighting the enemy,” he said.

He said the JI chief’s statement also disregarded the sacrifices of hundreds of army soldiers and officers who have led down their lives protecting the country and its people.

“No Pakistani soldier is fighting for the US. They are all fighting against those who were killing innocent Pakistani citizens in terrorist acts,” he added.

Amir Rana, executive director of the Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies, said society was polarised at present. For instance, on the issue of drones, all those opposing such attacks are branded as right wingers and those favouring them to the left.

“Any debate conducted only for the sake of argument and not constructive results would be useless,” said Rana.



Bari said the JI and Pakistan Army at one point have been close allies. The army itself has played a confusing role many times. “If it was serious about tackling the issue of terrorism, how was it possible that Hakimullah has been living only a kilometre away from army headquarters in the tribal areas and was never taken out,” said Bari.

The people are confused on who to believe and who to reject, she added.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf MNA Ali Muhammad however argued that lack of a national policy was the cause of such confusion in the society.

“The state of Pakistan has been unable to devise a central policy on the issue of martyrdom for instance in 60 years,” said MNA Muhammad adding that the resultant vacuum has provided opportunity to certain institutions and individuals to come up with their own interpretation and create confusion.

“To me, the JI is the last party to speak against the army,” said the PTI parliamentarian.

Maulana Abdul Qudus, the spokesperson for Wafaqul Madaris suggested the state to establish an institution that should take such decisions. It should consist of independent and neutral religious scholars and legal experts who are not influenced by the state, the army or the government of the day, he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 13th, 2013.

COMMENTS (3)

Dr.A.K.Tewari | 9 years ago | Reply

It means Pakistan is now a confused nation . Let the 90% people in confused state because only 10% people are enough to shape the destiny of a nation in this age of information and communication . If the vision of this apparently minority will not in a duelity state and follow the demand of the world community to make Pak resally a ''PAK'' state through an acceptable form of Islam, then they will get all means to come out from the present mess otherwise Kashmir issue alone is enough to sink the entire nation in deep sea like OBL . Army has to play a decisive role in this regard and have to march on the path of it's ex leader who redemocratized the country through his bold steps .

Dr.A.K.Tewari | 9 years ago | Reply

It means Pakistan is now a confused nation . Let the 90% people in confused state because only 10% people are enough to shape the destiny of a nation in this age of information and communication . If the vision of this apparently minority will not in a duelity state and follow the demand of the world community to make Pak resally a ''PAK'' state through an acceptable form of Islam, then they will get all means to come out from the present mess otherwise Kashmir issue alone is enough to sink the entire nation in deep sea like OBL . Army has to play a decisive role in this regard and have to march on the path of it's ex leader who redemocratized the country through his bold steps .

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