Earlier, we had discussed as why religious forces lost ground in Pakistan in last five decades - how and where? Here we will analyse as how many opportunities brought up for religious forces to move back the nomenclature of the country towards Islam.
A country, where 91% population (according to independent survey) is Sunni Muslims and the basic ideology is Islam then why the country lacks the true sprit of religion – peace, social justice, and equality!!!
First of its kind, came up during General Auyb Khan era, when he was trying to elect himself against Muhtarma Fatima Jinnah, who became the prime candidate for President office by being the sister of the founder of Pakistan. Unfortunately, she lost because of rigging but the real defeat was meant for religious forces that stood behind Fatima Jinnah.
Second, during 1977 PNA movement when Prime Minister Z A Bhutto & his ruling PPP had accepted many of the demands of opposition such as declaration of Ahmadis or Qadianis as non-Muslims, holiday on Friday, banning liquors in govt offices etc.
Third, in 1979 when USSR had invaded Afghanistan to extend its reach up to the Middle East and influence the region with socialism. Poor Afghans became the first line of defence for a year or so before the arrival of USA with all its sophisticated arms and missiles. If by any means, Afghan radical Mujahedeen and warlords could have sorted out their internal differences & they should have abided by Makkah Accord then the world could have seen Islamic Caliphate in 21st century. Alas, that golden opportunity had been lost just because of personal differences.
Fourth, when Taliban surged in mid 90s and with the help of Pakistan they had captured the 90% land of Afghanistan . Supporting Taliban was prime policy matter of Pakistan ’s foreign ministry to counter the actions of Ahmed Shah Masood’s Northern Alliance with Pro Tajik militia of Rasheed Dostum and General Faheem, both were gaining the support of US & India silently.
This has given an opportunity to Pakistani religious forces to streamline them in bordering Afghanistan & tribal areas due to number of common reasons. Tahreek Taliban Pakistan , TTP, got attention once Sufi Muhammad & 4 thousands Taliban militia under the leadership of Fazl ullah, in Swat had raised their voice for Nizam e Adl, a long-awaited desire of people of Swat & Malakand for speedy justice. Muslim Khan, the spokes person of TTP appeared on many news channels to defend the demands of Taliban. Before inking this peace accord secular forces became active and raised the drama of girls’ flogging to counter the growing influence of Islamism and its political enforcement within the region.
Even though secular forces in Pakistan and US authorities didn’t like any accord between govt of Pakistan and radical Islamist however it exists for a day or two prior to Operation. If somehow this peace accord could have existed longer, probably the blame goes on both sides – flamboyant speech of Sufi Muhammad and inability of Zardari govt to succumbed US pressure, the region could have benefited out if it more than the Army Operation results, which could take years to heal the wounds & economy – more than 2 millions displaced, and socio-political work around to bring back the religious forces to mainstream of Pakistan!
The blame goes less on Sufi Muhammad as his views about democracy, constitution, or judiciary were known since ages. Even after knowing that, he was in govt custody and brought forward for peace in Swat by present govt. This has confirmed the inability of both govt and political forces to counter the influence of growing Taliban in Swat valley and hence Sufi Muhammad has been used to tackle Taliban issue.
Not only the secular forces came forward, they also brought forward some other elements of Pakistan religious society, likely the conflicting sects to fire against Taliban. The convention of Ulema & Mashiekhs (Saints & Sufis) not only condemned the advancement and approach of Swat Taliban but they move forward and join hands with secular forces in this “noble cause.”
Neither Deubandi nor Barelvis were the looser out of this useless battle, the main loser was Islamic Jihad activity, as many of the Western media men portrayed “Jihad as an act of barbarism” and presented such Pakistani religious scholars views of opposite sects, for the justification of their ulterior motives. While condemning Taliban, each member of Jamiat Ulma e Pakistan, Noorani group forgot that it was Maulana Shah Ahmed Noorani, the first high level religious scholar, of different school of thoughts, who had endorsed the actions of Taliban in Afghanistan positively, when other Islamists groups were engaged against each other.