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October 27, 2019

Maulana, please reconsider

Opinion

October 27, 2019

External forces want to create chaos, pitch powers within Pakistan against each other and exploit our internal fissures. The aim is to weaken the Pak Army. The only centripetal force is the Pak Army.

More: Azadi March begins today

I went to the gym and the trainers wanted to discuss the Maulana. The car mechanic wanted to discuss the Maulana. My banker wanted to discuss the Maulana. TV talk shows are all about the Maulana. The social media is about the Maulana. Pindi is about the Maulana. Aabpara is about the Maulana. I read somewhere that “ninety-eight percent of the adults in this country are decent, hard-working and honest. It’s the other two percent that get all the publicity.”

I am convinced that what the Maulana is planning to do will be disruptive (disruption is “disturbance or problems which interrupt an event, activity or process”). And, disruption is the last thing Pakistan needs right now.

Related: JUI's Hafiz Hamdullah stripped of Pakistani citizenship

Just a cursory look at our calendar: The IMF now wants to take over our electricity and gas sectors (what’s next?). On November 2, Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan is holding a protest (vote-count in 2018: 2.2 million). On November 3, the Tablighi Jamaat will be holding the dua for the Raiwind Ijtemah (attendance: around 2 million). In November we have to pay back a billion dollars. Non-performing loans are going up sharply, so is unemployment. And, the FATF deadline is a mere four months away. To be certain, disruption is the last thing Pakistan needs right now.

Maulana Sahib’s political party is disciplined and commands following in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Sindh. Maulana Sahib’s political party manages around two percent of the votes but Maulana Sahib has always jumped higher than his height. He has been part of five governments since 1985 and his ideological supporters have a history of raising large amounts of funding. Yes, Maulana Sahib was very vocal against the PTI’s dharna.

Deobandi, the revivalist movement within Sunni-Hanafi Islam, to which Maulana Sahib belongs, has followers in Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, the UK and South Africa. Within Pakistan, roughly 20 million belong to the Deobandi school of thought. Of the 35,000 madrassas in Pakistan around 23,000 follow the Deobandi doctrine (in 1947 there were 189 madressahs in Pakistan). Of the two million madressah students around 1.3 million are taught under the Deobandi doctrine.

This is the time when external forces are bent upon creating chaos in Pakistan. This is the time when external forces want to pitch powers within Pakistan against each other. This is the time when our enemies want to exploit our internal fissures to their advantage. The real aim is to weaken the Pak Army’s war-fighting capabilities. Right now, there are too many centrifugal forces at work. Right now, the only centripetal force at work is the Pak Army.

All powers within ought to be able to resolve their difference on the negotiating table rather than on the streets. Yes, the Azaadi march’s disruptive potential is there for all to see. And, disruption is the last thing Pakistan needs right now. I request Maulana Sahib to please reconsider. Please.

The writer is a columnist based in Islamabad.

Email: [email protected] Twitter: @saleemfarrukh

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