News Analysis |
Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (Fazl) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman has categorically threatened the incumbent government to topple if it does not step down. He has urged Prime Minister Imran Khan and his government to immediately step down to avoid a march on Islamabad in October. During his speech in Quetta, the JUI-F chief repeatedly invoked religious cards against the prime minister and attempted to seek unconditional support of ‘all true Muslims’.
He said: “This is our last long march and next will be our Freedom March in Islamabad if the PTI government does not resign in August. After holding 14 successful million marches across the country, today we have arrived in Quetta and this sea of people shows what the people of Pakistan want.”
Scholars argue that democracy grows up in a ‘participant culture’ where people are rational actors and an integral part of the political process.
A large number of workers and sympathizers of the JUI-F from different parts of Balochistan participated in the march. Maulana Fazl claimed that at the culmination of the planned Azadi March, 1.5 million people would stage a sit-in in the federal capital until Prime Minister Khan and his cabinet resigned.
Interestingly, the JUI-F claimed his highly centralized religious party to be democratic. “The JUI -F is a democratic party and basic purpose of our struggle is upholding supremacy of law and Constitution of Pakistan. The party wants a peaceful Pakistan and is struggling along with other opposition parties to protect the ideological identity of the country,” the JUI-chief said.
Religious card against PM Khan
Once again Maulana used the religious card against the present government and demanded it not to touch any clause or act concerning Islam. Recently, during all opposition parties meetings the JUI-F suggested to use the religious card against PM Imran Khan which the PPP chairman explicitly declined to agree with.
MMA was whitewashed by the PTI across the country which further annoyed the JUI-F chief and his allies.
The PPP chairman was quoted by media saying his party will not use religion to target political rivals. During the Quetta rally, Maulana said while vowing to confront the PTI government’s flawed policies: “We have a clear version on blasphemy law and Khatam-i-Nabuwwat and will not allow the federal government to even touch the blasphemy law.”
Political Fatwa of Maulana Fazul against the PTI
This is not for the first time that Maulana is using religious card against PTI. In May 2013 Maulana Fazlur Rehman declared it ‘haram’ to vote in favor of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan and his candidates. He alleged Imran Khan for being sponsored by the West and the Jewish lobby. He also called Imran an agent of “Americans, Jews, Ahmadis and a person of ill character”.
Once again Maulana used the religious card against the present government and demanded it not to touch any clause or act concerning Islam.
Maulana further attacked Imran’s family and said that “a person who could not make his own children Muslim nor Pakistani, is dreaming of becoming prime minister of Pakistan and making the country an Islamic welfare state.”
Maulana further confidently asserted when inquired about the proof behind his claims that; “I am asked, ‘what is the proof that he (Imran Khan) is an agent of the Jews,’ I say there is only one proof and it is my own responsible personality. I am so righteous that I would never talk ill against anyone. This is enough that Maulana Fazlur Rehman says that he is a Jewish agent.”
Formation of Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal to defeat PTI
During the last general elections particularly in KPK, JUI-F and JI had to deal with the PTI which performed exceptionally during its five years tenure. The Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) — an alliance of religious-political parties, which first emerged in the history of Pakistan during 2002 election, were once again revived.
Maulana was made its chairman. The head of Jamaat–e–Islami, Siraj-ul-Haq, also welcomed the MMA and thanked Allah for its restoration. “We are thankful to Allah for this. The restoration of MMA for the protection of the Islamic identity of the country, its safety, and security is welcoming news for democratic stability. Running the country according to the constitution and Islamic principles is necessary,” said Sirajul Haq.
During the last general elections particularly in KPK, JUI-F and JI had to deal with the PTI which performed exceptionally during its five years tenure.
MMA like other political parties and interests groups were using an identity card to seek political support in the general elections. This time biggest threat to religious political parties in their respective areas was the presence of PTI. The best strategy devised by the leaders of religious parties was to get organized, make an alliance and defeat the PTI.
But invoking identities and ensuring political support was not something that ensured the growth and development of a democratic culture. Scholars argue that democracy grows up in a ‘participant culture’ where people are rational actors and an integral part of the political process. MMA was whitewashed by the PTI across the country which further annoyed the JUI-F chief and his allies.