Sunday, April 19, 2009

Dividing the religious forces! by Nadia Khan

Unlike his late younger brother Ghazi Abdul Rasheed, the safe return of Maulana Abdul Aziz, former Imam of Lal Mosque and patron in chief of Jamia Hafsa, famous religious seminary for girls in the heart of Islamabad, has raised number of questions:


o        Was his apprehension, during Lal mosque operation by Musharraf govt, legal as his acquittal is carried out through Supreme Court?

o        On what basis he was confined for two years under house arrest?

o        Who would be held responsible for Lal Mosque Operation?

o        What would be the repercussions after his release on other Islamists movements active in Pakistan under the banner of Taliban or so?


He was picked up by security agencies, during Lal Mosque Operation, when he was trying to move away from the scene by observing veil and later he was presented on state-run Pakistan Television (PTV) with same. Even though Maulana's act of hiding himself in veil wasn't liked by many of religious scholars, however the PTV presentation and interviewers "rubbish questions" have turned the table and all sympathies went onto Maulana Abdul Aziz side.


On Thursday evening, his heroic welcome was marked by a group of his followers, in way that for his arrival the Esha prayer that normally conducted around 8:30pm to 9:00pm in Islamabad got delayed till 11:00pm. He arrived at Lal Mosque around 10:40pm and then the prayers was conducted. Next day, in Friday sermon, his usual tone was mild and in the end, as per his usual way, he just has asked those who gathered for prayers, in a simple way for the peaceful effort of Islamization in Pakistan.


With Swat regulation in action after President Zardari's signature and Maulana Aziz's release by PPP govt is looked upon as good will gesture for radical forces. Many of secular forces didn't like these actions of present govt and the failure of Swat girl's flogging drama is becoming major setback for them.


Knowing the fact that Altaf Hussain at the front foot of secular forces, a new ground of "Islamists division" is being worked out. With a background of Sunni – Deubandi and Barveli sects are confronting against each other since over a century, dates back to the arguments between Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi, one of the most sacred personality among Deubandi school of thought and Maulana Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi, the founding figure head and most respected personality among Barveli's group.


Taliban, predominantly the followers of Deubandi sect, are always against of building graves and tombs of sacred personalities, Qawalis, and Hamd o Naat collective recitation. They didn't like to build shrines over the graves of saints or Sufis, whereas Barelvi's respect these rituals bluntly. Recent bomb attack at the shrine of Rehman Baba, the famous Sufi saint in NWFP province, was considered as an alarming symbol between the two groups. Secular forces tried to take an advantage of this action and orchestrating to bring the two Islamic groups against each other – probably this could lead towards a fierce battle with firearms.


MQM call for Ulma & Masshiq meet - inviting all Barelvi minded religious scholars to join hands in saving tombs, shrines, and graves of sacred Sufi saints, is a move to divide religious forces to earn advantage for secularism. The hatred of secular forces against Taliban is due to the fact that they are getting the ground in FATA and NWFP province very swiftly and Karachi based ethnic groups art of producing illusion is about to go away!


While MMA during Musharraf's regime, had overcome various inter-sect issues and joined hands politically with late Maulana Shah Ahmed Noorani as its first President, secular forces are now igniting the hatred between these two arch rivals again. Now it is high time for religious groups especially Sunni – school of thought, to work jointly avoiding all differences which could result extra benefits for non-religious forces in case of their division.

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