Islam is a religion of peace but Jamat-i-Islami has imposed a completely opposite and false version of Islam in Pakistan with the help of civil and military bureaucracy, especially during the past 30 years. Some in the Pakistani media also bought the Jamat’s disastrous interpretation of Islam and have assisted in turning Pakistan into a pressure cooker.
The Pakistan Army and its secret services, the ISI and MI, have correctly identified that a multi-national and multi-ethnic country such as Pakistan needs a common ideology to stay united.
In Islam, they found such an ideology, however, their mistake has been to choose Mulana Moodudi’s version of Islam for Pakistan; ignoring the fact that historically it was the Sufi shade of Islam that contributed towards peace and harmony in the Indian Sub-Continent for so long. The Mogul Empire founded by Central Asian Muslims could survive because it did not impose a narrow vision or shade of Islam. Islam spread in India because of Sufis mostly during the Mogul rule.
Pakistani establishment’s decision to adopt a shade of Islam that was groomed by foreign masters for political purposes was a fatal mistake. It led Pakistan into troubles from the very beginning and the consequences of that wrong move are now obvious.
In the 1920s, the British patronized Islamic extremism to forward their imperial designs in the Middle East. The creation of modern Saudi Arabia in 1931 was a part of that plan.
In India, too, the British could divide and rule thanks to mullahs’ support. Mullahs were one of the tools to pursue the British agenda to deceive and divide Indian Muslim. Some Islamic groups and leaders, however, understood the British policy and resisted it.
Tabligi Jamat was created in India in 1926 at a time when resistance to British Raj was gaining popularity. Passive Tabligi Jamat, which believed in peaceful preaching and exercised complete abstinence from expressing opinions on political and controversial issues, suited the needs of foreign occupiers. Interestingly, many decades later, the CIA and the British found the same peaceful Tabligi Jamat useful in the West War against the Soviet Union! Ahmadiyya Jamat was another sect/group that appeared in the British India in the late 19th century and caused further division among Indian Muslims.
Throughout the Cold War the British and the Americans supported extremist Islam to fight the threat of Communism. In the second half of the 20th century Sayyid Qutb of Egypt became a hero of puritan Muslims. Mulana Moodudi in India shared the same ideology. In fact, Sayyid Qutb was said to be influenced by Moodudi.
During the 1980s Afghan War, a combination of Salfism and Wahhabism was promoted in the region as Cold War strategy against the Soviet Union. The CIA needed a local force of people who could engage the Soviet troops in Afghanistan. Puritan Sulfi and Wahabi teachings were perfect to play with the minds of young Muslims who were ready to give their lives for a very radical and fundamentalist set of religious ideas. These emotionally charged young men proved a lethal weapon against the Soviets while Jamat-i-Islami and the ISI profited from the death game in Afghanistan.
Under Zia-ul-Haq the Jamat used all its propaganda and organizational means to impose an extreme version of Whabi and Sulfi thoughts on the Pakistani society through educational institutions and the media.
Jamat’s collaboration with generals was a calculated move. In the 1960s, when the Jamat-i-Islami decided to join electoral politics it already had formed an alliance with the military establishment. Moodudi aspired for a world Islamic revolution but after two decades of efforts, he realized that it was not possible even in Pakistan. Therefore the Jamat-i-Islami decided to use military shoulders to bring “Islamic Revolution” in Pakistan.
Before the 1970 Election, Jamat-i-Islami assisted the then information minister General Sher Ali Khan to invent a ‘Nazria-i-Pakistan’ (Ideology of Pakistan). With that the Jamat, which had opposed Mr. Jinnah campaign for Pakistan, owned Pakistan and participated in the 1970 Election. It had the full backing and support of the military regime. The Jamat ran a huge media and publicity campaign that targeted Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Sheikh Mujeeb-u-Rahman. Despite military’s sponsorship the Jamat lost badly.
After a total election defeat, the Jamat decided to become the civilian regiment of the Pakistan Army. Jamat-i-Islami affiliated Al-Shams, and Al-Badar organizations participated in the military operation in East Pakistan and were allegedly involved in the killings of hundreds of thousands of innocent Bengalis. But the ultimate winners were Bengalis. The generals were disgraced when the Bengali liberation movement achieved its goal. Bangladesh was the result of military and Jamat’s intolerance and prejudice policies.
The Jamat did not have the public support but Mr. Bhutto made the biggest blunder of his life by appointing general Zia-ul-Haq as the new army chief. General Zia was close to Jamat and he considered Mian Tufail Mohammed, the then Ameer of Jamat-i-Islami, his mamoo (uncle).
Before the 1977 Election, the Pakistan National Alliance (PNA) was formed with the open support of the US embassy in Islamabad. The PNA was a combination of water and fire where followers of Khan Abdul Wali Khan sat with Jamat-i-Islami because of their hatred for Mr. Bhutto. The PPP won the 1977 Election but PNA launched an agitation. Mr. Bhutto agreed to hold elections again but General Zia staged ‘Operation Fair Play’. Consequently, Jamat joined the illegitimate rule of the generals. Mr. Bhutto was hanged and Jamat celebrated his death by distributing sweets on the day of Mr. Bhutto’s execution.
The actual reward for Jamat came in 1979 when the Soviet Union was invited to Afghanistan to protect the then Afghan government, which feared US intervention in Afghanistan. The arrival of the Soviet troops in Afghanistan provided the American CIA an opportunity to establish its biggest base in Pakistan and turn weapon and drug free Pakistan into a war zone. The Jamat was the main beneficiary of the ‘Afghan Jihad’. It received and distributed millions of dollars among its supporters.
A former Ameer of Jamat-i-Islami Qazi Hussein Ahamad belong to a modest family of Nowshera. He started his career as a lecturer of geography from a college in Swat. It ought to be asked how a former lecturer became so rich. Qazi was not the only one; most members and top leaders of Jamat had benefited from the Afghan Jihad.
Military officers who were sympathetic to Jamat and were followers of Moodudi got promoted and some reached to the ranks of generals under Zia-ul-Haq. The ISI, for example, was filled not with competent and impartial intelligence gatherers, but with ideological supporters of Jamat-i-Islami. The media and education sector were other places targeted by the Jamat-i-Islami to fulfill its dream of making Pakistan a fortress of Islam.
The Jamat and military illegally grabbed power in Pakistan and tried to high-jack the Pakistani society. They distorted and falsified our history. These custodians of truth filled the minds of our children with half truth and absolute lies. They preach hatred and intolerance. They stole our ideals, our aspirations and distracted our growth and development. The Jamat-i-Islami turned our universities into terror houses. Jamat and its sponsors in Khaki created illusions and confused young generations about their identity and about their place in the world. They tried to plant seeds of terrorism in the minds of people. Now we are reaping what the Jamat and Pakistan army had sown.
Pakistan is isolated in the world. We have been singled out by our old masters. We have willingly moved into their trap. They wanted to prove that Pakistanis are wild, crazy, intolerant and dangerous and we have provided them with that opportunity. One Israeli asked me the other day—yours is a failed state and when I challenged him. He reply was shockingly true. He said you hanged Bhutto who was the most successful and talented leader in the Muslim world. In my view, Pakistan was broken in the early hours of 4 April 1979 when we hanged our hero.
It is so sad to see that peace and harmony have left Pakistan because hate traders dominate the media and politics. Pakistan desperately needs a fresh and true identity. The identity imposed upon us is confused and false. It is based on a distorted and imaginary past. Many of us are racist, arrogant and ignorant and yet they want to be on a moral high ground. What is source of our superiority? If we are so good then why some of us have a deep inferiority complex? Why we seek our identity in other nations and cultures? Some of us are proud of our Arab past, others find Central Asian roots as their origin and a large number of Pakistanis are so proud to copy Anglo-Americans and display Victorian manners and values which even the Brits have given up. In reality we need a through soul searching before we start building bridges with other nations, cultures and communities in the world.