Sunday, October 26, 2008

Mullah Military Alliance [1999-2007] - 1

Sajjad wrote

Mullahs paved the Road for Musharraf's Jeep.

Dear Sajjad Sahab,

Article below was compiled during 2002/2003 and it would clear many doubts regarding Political Mullahs of Pakistan.

Syed Abul Ala Maududi or no Syed Abul Ala Maududi, the Jamat-e-Islami is a Fitnah (Anarchy) [pure and simple] they were Fitnah since the time they came into being. The interview of Maudoodi's son you thankfully posted 2 weeks ago depicts that Maudoodi's son is still not ashamed of his Late Father's Extra Curricular Activities [bad mouthing Jinnah, bad mouthing Pakistan saying that to call it a Pakistan is tantamount to call Prostitute a chaste lady [comparing Pakistan with Randi while Maudoodi and Jamat-e-Islami themselves prospered while living in Randi Khana (not my words they themselves have said it), Al-Shams and Al-Badar Terrorist groups at the behest of General Yahya Khan in Former East Pakistan to carry out the "good work" on behalf of Pakistani Military Establishment, Bad mouthing the Prophets [PBUT] and Companions [May Allah be pleased with them] of the Prophet Mohammad [PBUH] in his Quran's exegesis, supporting General Yahyah PCO and terming it Islamic too, creating anarchy in every Civilian Government 1971-1977, 1988- 12 Oct 1999 [resulting in the deaths of innocent people]. Qazi Hussain Ahmed had shamefully declared Nawaz Sharif a Security Risk before 12 Oct 1999 and with similar brazen shamelessness he appeared with this Rampant "KHARJI" Jamaat Islaami to receive the same Nawaz Sharif at Rawalpindi Airport. Now they are opposing General Musharraf for whom Jamat-e-Islami extended their support in the shape of LFO AND 17TH CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT.

"Kuch humari khabar nahin aati Martay hain aarzo mein marne ki,

Maut aati hai par nahin aati kaaba kis munh se jaoge 'Ghalib', sharm tumko magar nahi aati"

If Gen Musharraf is calling the shots, which is a fact; the question is who had brought him to this position. All parties, which were participating in the movement against then prime minister Mian Nawaz Sharif, can't absolve themselves of the responsibility. In 1999, their struggle against the
PML-N government was at its peak. They were branding Mr Sharif as a security risk and demanding the constitutional institutions play their role. At a time when Mian Nawaz Sharif enjoyed a two-thirds majority in the house and the president was his handpicked man no more than a figurehead, there was no constitutional way to remove him. And what opposition parties, some of which are now allies of the PMl-N in the ARD, were demanding clearly amounted to seeking military intervention. Some leaders said this on many an occasion that anybody succeeding Mr Sharif would be better than him. Unfortunately, Mr Sharif took a bad decision of sacking the army chief, which provided the institution an opportunity to take over. Whatever the
views of various opposition parties, now it will take them quite some time to get rid of the "unwanted blanket". They have to blame themselves for the situation the country has been passing through since October 1999. Although MMA Secretary-General Maulana Fazlur Rehman is opposition leader in the National Assembly, it is not clear whether MMA belongs to the opposition or is an ally of the ruling party, it shares government with PML-Q in Baluchistan.
The MMA's credibility has been dented after the elections and the electorate doesn’t believe that the religious alliance is part of the opposition. Its role in the adoption of the 17th Amendment strengthened suspicions that it was out to the help the rulers. The MMA repeatedly said that it did not accept the LFO as part of the Constitution, but ultimately changed its point of view. In an agreement with the ruling party, the MMA suggested a way for Gen Musharraf to legitimize his presidency. But when he followed the course, the MMA did not vote for him. There was a provision in the MMA-PML agreement that there "shall" be a National Security Council, which will be set up under an act of parliament. But when the enactment was introduced, the MMA refused to support it. Another contradiction in its attitude came to be seen when Maulana Fazlur
Rehman refused to attend the NSC meeting under the chairmanship of the very general the MMA had helped become legitimate president. The argument that the MMA will not like to participate in a meeting being presided over by a man in uniform holds no water. Gen Musharraf presides over the meeting as president, not the COAS, and thus there was no justification for MMA secretary-general to stay away.

Abstention could have been justifiable in case Gen Musharraf doesn't take off his military uniform by the end of the year. That the prime minister should head the NSC is an argument, which carries no weight. What difference will it make if a prime minister – who feels proud to be called president's PSO -- heads such a body. As long as people in uniform are there in the NSC, their opinion will prevail, no mater whether the body is headed by the president, the prime minister or anybody else. Whether the MMA violated its agreement with the PML-Q and whether it is binding on Gen Musharraf to step down as army chief by Dec 31, an assumption on which MMA based its hope that Musharraf would step down as COAS why they fail to remember that a Military Dictator much worse than Musharraf i.e. General Ziaul Haq blatantly and shamelessly lied after reciting Quran on the Election Promise in 90 days. Someone had said somewhere that 'assumption is the mother of all mess up'.

The MMA's boycott of the inaugural session of the National Security Council remains a sort of a 'riddle inside an enigma'. How would the MMA be able to reconcile its support of the passage of the controversial (and basically undemocratic) Legal Framework Order (17th Amendment) with its boycott of the NSC - an integral part and off-shoot of the LFO? Regardless of polemics, the MMA marshalled its parliamentary vote for the LFO as an expedient pro-democracy measure, irrespective of the fact that the LFO tended to violate both the letter and the spirit of the Constitution. The MMA's Supreme Council, in no uncertain terms, declared its resolve to 'scrap' the NSC when it 'obtains a simple majority in the house'. The inaugural session of the NSC (June 24) was off to an unhappy and not a little ill-tempered start. Chairing the session, the president was livid over the absence of the leader of the opposition, Maulana Fazlur Rahman, and NWFP Chief Minister Akram Durrani.

He took particular note of the latter absenting himself as a government functionary - a somewhat strange observation to make about an elected public leader with a party mandate of his own. The president spoke spiritedly and at some length on the rationale and functions of the NSC. Prior to the NSC, he said, there was no forum where 'key functionaries' including the opposition, provincial heads and armed forces chiefs could debate issues of national importance and 'exercise checks on each other and lend support to each other'. Of course, the defence committee of the cabinet (DCC) was always there, but hardly as a body as comprehensive as the NSC. The question now is: what other body could be either more comprehensive and competent to discuss and resolve all issues of national importance than an elected parliament? Even in the context of a best-case scenario, it won't be easy to rule out a perpetually difficult relationship between parliament and the NSC.


How can a popularly elected parliament through a joint session at all allow an elected president to stay in his military uniform as army chief even for a short period of time? Ayub, Yahya and Zia all forged devices like LFOs and 'Continuance in Force' laws to legitimize their regimes by an extra-parliamentary executive fiat. Ayub Khan and Ziaul Haq had their parliaments indemnify their constitutional violations to close the chapter of their coups. Only Yahya ended with his boots around his neck as a vanquished general. Pliant and muted through Yahya's disastrous reign, the superior judiciary came into action only after his fall to brand him a 'usurper'. Never before, however, it fell to the sad lot of an elected parliament to vote for an army chief to combine in his person the brass and the bowler hat even as an expedient move. Political pragmatism is not the same as party or individual opportunism. While the pragmatist knows where to stop, the opportunist fails to resist the fatal attraction of yet another chance, yet another pasture new around the corner. The MMA's supreme council must ask itself whether or not by supporting the passage of the LFO they did indeed commit a terminal error of judgement. And whether they did not sacrifice their reputedly principled party politics at the altar of expediency and opportunism.

Worse still, they did so at the cost of the united front they had forged with such mainstream parties as the PPP and the Muslim League-N. A major compromise was made with Gen. Pervez Musharraf's regime, now invoking the NSC as the main plank of its future governance. If such were to be the end of the military-mullah alliance, it should not be difficult to see who is the loser. The nexus has been a part of our history, either marginally as under Ayub Khan or covertly as under Yahya Khan or naked and deeply written into the system as under Ziaul Haq. Ayub's secularism as part of the military culture of British Indian Army was like an open book without any fine print. Even the prefix Islamic attaching to the Republic of Pakistan was dropped until restored under the writ of superior judiciary. That continued to be the case until the fateful day of 1965 when India attacked Pakistan along the international border, with Lahore as its principal target. Even in his first address to the nation within hours of the Indian invasion, Ayub went on to recite the 'Kalama-i-Tayyaba' in a stirring, emotion-choked voice.

His subsequent meeting with religious parties – mainly the Jamaat-i-Islami under Maulana 'Abul 'Ala Maududi - marked the beginning of the military-mullah nexus. Yahya would not have much to do with things spiritual until the induction of retired Maj.-Gen. Sher Ali Khan into his cabinet as minister in-charge of information and national affairs. He initiated Yahya into ideological lore and saddled him with the mission of protecting the 'ideology of Pakistan and the glory of Islam'. Yahya's intelligence chief, Major-(later Lieut.) Gen. Muhammad Akbar Khan made no secret of his close liaison with the Jamaat-i-Islami especially in respect of its pro-active role in East Pakistan. The Jamaat was to go even to the extent of certifying Yahya's draft constitution as Islamic. The draft was authored by Justice A.R. Cornelius, Yahya's law minister. As for Zia, he embarked on his Islamization programme even as he assumed his army command. He gave the army the triple motto of 'Iman, Taqwa, Jihad fi Sibil Lillah'. Subsequently, as president, he introduced the Hudood Ordinance and collaborated with the Americans in projecting the Soviet-Afghan war as a jihad. The country continues to pay the bitter wages of Zia's jihad syndrome. Gen Musharraf continued to recognize the Taliban's radical Islamic regime as a legacy of the Nawaz Sharif period and extend muted support to the Kashmiri mujahideen until 9/11. That was the turning point and the defining moment for the future shape of relations between a para-secular government on the one hand and jihad-oriented, religious groups on the other. Musharraf relented on his temporal stance vis-a-vis the religious group under the pressure of political necessity during the general election of October 2002. He placed the mullahs at par with university graduates to qualify for membership of his 'graduate' assembly. The mullahs returned with strength sufficient to form coalition governments in the NWFP and Balochistan. Once in power they gradually and subtly clanged their religion-based stance into realpolitik where it suited their interest. They supported the LFO to extract from Musharraf the promise that he would shed his uniform by the end of 2004. However, when it came to endorsing
the NSC by an act of parliament, they abstained from voting.


In a democratic society elections are barometer of National Aspirations and priority of the people in their Domestic and International Relations. Generally it is expected that the mandate given by the people will be followed. The October 10 Elections though manipulated by the regime sprang a surprise with the emergence of the Religio-Political Parties with a sizeable majority. No one had anticipated that the MMA would secure so many numbers of seats. Spin-Doctors and urban-based analyst mostly influenced by the Western Media were proved wrong when the results were announced. Some analysts allege that perhaps the Intelligence Agencies clandestinely helped the Religio-Political Alliance to stun the world but the voting pattern shows that the support for MMA was an emphatic reflection of the anger of the people towards the American led Western policies towards Afghanistan in particular and the Muslim countries in general. The
emergence of MMA had also embarrassed the Musharraf regime, which had given unconditional support to the US policies against the Talibans in Afghanistan. But at the same time the Pro-regime Spin-Doctors try to portray the results of elections as the political threat to the Western Interest as if the Musharraf was removed from the seat. The rise of MMA was interpreted a possible problem for Pakistan in dealing with donor agencies i.e. IMF/WORLD BANK/ADB and other Western countries as well because of their concern about fundamentalist type of policies/program and rise of religious parties in Muslim World, it is strange though that the World Bank has hailed the provincial budget of NWFP where MMA is ruling the roost. Most of the MMA component parties were in the forefront of supporting Taliban and condemning the US bombing and US led Western policies in Afghanistan and also American Intervention through FBI within Pakistan.

The security environment owing to situation in Afghanistan where the Indians have penetrated in through training the Police Force and other Fighting Arms any upheaval in the NWFP and Baluchistan would be an invitation to those lobbies which had been in the yesteryears advocating Pashtoonistan and Greater Baluchistan which would ultimately end up in Civil War. The rise of Religious Parties in Turkey, the strong presence of an "hard nut to crack" Clergy in Iran, and the mounting resentment of the Saudi intellectuals and religious people (who are also against Royal Saudis) in the Arab World should guide our policy makers to not to ignore the sentiments of the people who have thrown MMA in the power corridors. An adjustment in the Foreign Policy is imperative to reflect the aspirations of the people vis-à-vis the American Policy and the donor agencies.


The MMA comprises six (now five) Islamic political parties that have sidelined their religious-sectarian differences, at least temporarily, to work together for pursuing a shared political agenda. These include the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam of Maulana Fazlur Rahman (JUI-F), the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam of Maulana Samiul Haq (JUI-S), the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) led by Qazi Hussain Ahmad, Jamiat Ulema-i-Pakistan of Maulana Shah Ahmad Noorani (JUP-N), and the Tehrik-i-Jafria Pakistan (TJP) headed by Maulana Syed Sajid Naqvi. The alliance has, on top of the contradiction in its ideology, failed miserably to include its manifestoes any vision of the Economy, Education, Health, other social and political problems. The only consensus with in the alliance, it seems, is not to confront the Military but the Military Government led by Musharraf
and his cabinet. The army is still close to the hearts of the Rightwing groups, that's the opinion which suggests that the Pro-JI lobby within the establishment has worked miracle for the MMA victory and unity of the most diversified sects under banner and one leader is to stop and to counter PML-N and PPP's rising popularity and the Establishment is much worried from the much more vicious anti-establishment stance of the PPP/PML-N than MMA.

So this lobby played the Anti-American slogans for MMA in Elections and it did work. These religious parties have a history of cooperation with the Military and US Establishment {Circa 1971in East Pakistan by the JI, 1977 till 11 Sept 2001 anti Bhutto campaign, Pro Zia stance during Afghan War and later Kashmir insurgency and Taliban Affairs}, so much so Qazi complained to the Musharraf about the army's treatment of its erstwhile allies, therefore they cannot afford to antagonize the army and vice versa due to Greater American Games in Kashmir, Nepal for China through these Religious Parties. The other big reason of this unlikely unity were the details of Corruption Cases against many Islamic Leaders {Mehrangate and during the 1993-1996 PPP Government} which are with the Security Agencies of Pakistan. Some analyst still believe that the MMA victory which has shaken the Military Establishment to its very root was not expecting this as there are reports that some "agencies" had popped up the MMA to divide the vote of PPP and PML-N and not to give noticeable and crucial number of seats to the MMA. The govt. did support the component parties in MMA after 12 Oct 1999 Coup as the Military Govt. never banned the rallies of these parties as compare to the complete ban on Secular Political Parties. The worst was the surety, which reportedly Musharraf gave to the senior US officials before polls that religious parties wont get more than 5% vote.The two Pro-Taliban factions of the JUI are the followers of the Deoband School and have a strong following in the Pakhtoon areas of the NWFP and Balochistan. Both had strong links with the Taliban movement and supported their cause. The JI does not limit itself to a particular school of Islamic fiqh but it has been a supporter of the Taliban and Jihad in Afghanistan and Kashmir.

The JUP (N) is the follower of the Barelvi school which disagrees with the other two schools on a number of issues and it is also facing an adversary in Sindh in the shape of rabidly maniac Sunni Tehreek . The JUP was not involved with the Taliban or the insurgency in Kashmir. The TJP follows the Jafria (Shia) fiqh and has renamed itself as Islami Tehreek-e-Pakistan since TJP has been declared outlawed by the authorities and it also stayed away from Afghanistan and Kashmir, they were rather bitterly against Deobandis Talibans. Despite sectarian-denominat ional differences, they decided to work together to advocate an Islamic alternative to the existing politico-economic arrangements, underlining the supremacy of the Quran and the Sunnah. Though they emphasized supremacy of "Allah" in their election campaign, Pakhtoon ethnicity influenced their electoral performance. The two factions of the JUI enjoyed support mainly amongst the Pakhtoons (Pashtun) in the NWFP and Balochistan. Their electoral performance in these areas is mainly responsible for the MMA's electoral triumph. The JI chief is also a Pakhtoon but that party's support cuts across denominational differences and ethnicities.

However, the JI is not in a position to pull through an electoral triumph all by itself. The support base of the JUP(N) is limited to the followers of its leader in Sindh and Punjab. The TJP does not have any known strongholds and it played only a symbolic role in the MMA campaigning by showing unity across the sectarian divide. The MMA electioneering in the NWFP and Balochistan was at two levels. At one level, its leaders and candidates focused on constituency- specific issues. Like elsewhere in Pakistan, they talked about improvement of civic amenities, construction and repair of roads and streets and development work for improving the quality of life for the ordinary folks. They promised to work for increasing job opportunities, schooling for
children and ending corruption in government.

They also vowed to make the administration more responsive to the needs of the people. The second level of electioneering emphasized broader themes with strong ideological overtones. This included a sharp critique of Pakistan's socio-political and economic order and projection of an Islamic alternative. They talked of the primacy of the Quran and the Sunnah and demanded the restructuring of the socio-political and economic order on the basis of Islamic principles. However, they did not offer any detailed plan of the Islamic order they wanted to introduce. No specific solutions were offered for any constitutional, administrative, economic or legal problem. America figured prominently in their election campaigning. The major focus was the US military operation in Afghanistan and its consequences for Pakhtoons on both sides of the Durand Line. The JUI was the major supporter of the Taliban and its leaders launched street agitation after the US began air raids in Afghanistan on October 7, 2001. This effort fizzled out because other political forces did not join in.
Some of the JUI and JI leaders were arrested and placed under "house arrest" for a couple of months. Anti-American sentiments intensified when dead and injured Pakistani Pakhtoons or their Afghan relatives were brought to the NWFP and Balochistan. The arrest and killing of Taliban armed personnel by the Northern Alliance after the fall of Kabul perturbed them the most because a good number of them were Pakistani volunteers who had gone to Afghanistan to fight on the side of the Taliban. Some Pakistanis are still in detention in Afghanistan and at the US military base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. The neglect of the reconstruction of post-Taliban Afghanistan by the US convinced them that Washington was interested mainly in dislodging the Taliban and Al Qaeda and that it had no sympathy for ordinary people who suffered a lot in the American air and ground operations. Another factor that contributed to anti-American sentiments was the rise of the Northern Alliance with American support, which was blamed for deaths of a large number of the Taliban and other Pakhtoon prisoners in its custody. The over-representation of the Northern Alliance in the present-day Afghanistan government is another Pakhtoon grievance. All these factors strengthened anti-American sentiments which were widely shared in the NWFP and Balochistan. The MMA understood the ground realities in the two provinces and successfully articulated anti-America sentiments amongst the Pakhtoons there. Most Pakhtoon secularists and nationalists lost badly in both provinces because they had either supported American action in Afghanistan or stayed neutral on this. Commenting on the extremely poor performance of the ANP, a leader of MMA remarked that they lost for siding with the aggressor - the US.
It is interesting to note that foreign policy issues, including US action in Afghanistan, did not figure prominently in Punjab and Sindh. Some candidates did make comments on security and foreign policy issues but the election campaign focused primarily on constituency- related issues like how far the candidate would work for the welfare of the people and improve civic amenities for the community. The main reason was that these two provinces were not directly affected by American military operations in Afghanistan or by the predicament of the Afghans in the post-Taliban Afghanistan. The third important element of Pakistan politics, the Army, figured in the election campaign of the MMA. The military regime of General Pervez Musharraf was subjected to sharp criticism for "betraying" the Taliban and for facilitating American military operations in Afghanistan. The military regime was also criticized for letting American military and FBI personnel function in Pakistan.

Their resentment against the military government made them vocal champions of democracy and participatory governance. They talked of constitutionalism, fair and free elections, and return of military to the barracks. Rejecting the amendments made by the military government in the 1973 Constitution, they demanded its restoration minus these amendments. They highlighted their electoral performance to distinguish themselves from the Taliban, arguing that they appeared on the political scene though the ballots, not by the bullet, and therefore, they believed in dialogue and persuasion for implementation of their political agenda, including Islamization of the polity. Though the three leading factors of Pakistani politics - Allah, America, and the Army – promoted unity amongst the MMA partners and facilitated their electoral triumph, these factors might undermine internal cohesion and good governance after the MMA assumes power in the NWFP and Balochistan. The MMA will have to tone down its rhetoric on Islamization and relations with the US and adopt a down-to-earth approach towards domestic affairs, especially the army, and foreign policy. They may also have to accommodate some non-MMA elements for smooth functioning of their governments. This is likely to force them to dilute their domestic agenda. A failure to do so may entangle them in so many political controversies and confrontations that they will find it difficult to pursue their domestic and foreign policy agendas. Furthermore these religious parties had shown a dismal performance in 1997 election in particular and all the other elections which are held in Pakistan since 1947 was also not good.
They also failed miserably to counter US led campaign against Afghanistan in Pakistan as these parties could not stir the people against the govt. as one was expecting but the continued US bombing on Afghanistan, Camp X ray in Guantanamobay Cuba and very biased and extremely prejudiced treatment of the West vis-à-vis Muslim Community finally culminated in the landslide victory of MMA in NWFP and Baluchistan in particular and a visible presence and growing influence in other provinces as well. The rumor has it that a lobby within the Establishment has achieved this to upset the Musharraf Regime. The main theme on which the MMA fought the elections was Anti-US rhetoric, and surprisingly after the August meeting with Musharraf of Qazi and Noorani, the anti Musharraf rhetoric also vanished and now the slogan is supremacy of the Parliament. If the US attacks Iraq {which it already has though not fully} in near future then these parties which have an organized cadre of workers and funds to run an effective campaign and anti-US rhetoric to change the atmosphere then it will be a big problem for the govt. which is already in hot water due to minute majority and charges of pre-poll rigging, during poll rigging by EU, PPP, PML-N and even the MMA and above all forward blocs and horse trading galore. Some cynics also said that the Military Establishment had decided after 9/11 to have these Islamists inside the system rather than outside where they cant be approached and corrupted and that's why there was so much efforts by National Alliance, PML-Q, and other proxies of the establishment but too much success of MMA went up it heads, maybe there are some Pashtoon elements in Establishment who wanted to provide solace to the disgruntled Pashtoon elements who are angry with Karzai so they adopted a far fetch plan to blackmail or take even Americans for a ride by cobble together a diversified alliance like MMA.
There are still some Adventists in the govt. who think that Hikmatyar can topple Karzai and MMA has strong links with the old guards. If Musharraf let the MMA allows forming the NWFP and Baluchistan govt. then it would be a big pain in the neck of the Govt as USA operations are mostly concentrated in these two provinces. Ultimately any such govt. in both of these provinces would be sympathetic towards absconder Taliban or may be even Al-Qaeda. The only situation which now is visible would be an all out effort to break the MMA as happened in the Past by igniting any controversial religious issue in the Parliament which obviously wont be acceptable to
this diversified clan called MMA. To be on warpath against the Central Govt. the would be Provincial Govts. of MMA in both the provinces would take some cosmetic measures to implement its agenda and try to satisfy its voters, like Friday as weekly holiday , doing away with co-education, put a halt to obscenity in the print and electronic media and reform interest based banking. The implementation of some of the measures would inevitably trigger protests and alarm the Civil and Military establishments and culminate in Governor Rule. The MMA is also not in a very easy position as JI, and JUP on Shia Issues are not as rigid as their counterpart JUI factions are so either they would have to make some compromises which will ultimately end up in damaged reputation or have to quit the would be provincial govts. to avoid loosing the support of the voters who want results now.

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