Attempt to Sabotage the Elections
The Supreme Court of Pakistan, armed forces, political and religious parties including media and civil society remain keen to see democracy flourishing in the country by favouring the elections, going to be held in May 11, 2013. Although election campaign is now on peak, yet it is most regrettable that the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has accelerated its terror-activities to sabotage the polls.
In this regard, twin bomb blasts in Karachi near the office of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) killed four persons on April 27, while a third blast occurred near public gathering of Pakistan Peoples Party’s candidate. On April 26, terrorist targeted a meeting of Awami National Party (ANP) through explosives and killed eleven people in Karachi. On April 25, seven people were killed in a bombing on the office of the MQM. On April 24, there were series of blasts in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh in which 23 people were injured.
TTP which accepted responsibly for latest terror-assaults and the previous ones, especially on the ANP leaders has pledged to continue such attacks in future. Meanwhile, in the recent days, the TTP militants distributed pamphlets in Buner, Peshawar and different areas of Karachi, warning citizens against attending political rallies and casting their votes at polling stations. TTP spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan said that democracy was un-Islamic and was the agenda of secular forces in Pakistan. In the recent past, TTT insurgents gave similar threats to the people. For the purpose, a leaflet was distributed in North Waziristan Agency to reject the democratic system in FATA, propagating that democracy is western system of government which is against Islam.
It is notable that after passing through various forms of governments such as monarchy, dictatorship, Communism etc., western countries established the democratic system, as it empowers people to govern through their elected representatives, and make decisions as agreed by the majority. Despite it, the opposition is free to oppose any decision of the ruling party. In case of any violation of the constitution or democratic norms, the opposition party can go to the court. In fact, it is a representative system which is based upon equality of all the people, ensuring enforcement of rule of law through an independent justice. Based upon the system of accountability, it provides justice to all—majority and minority elements of the country. Nothing is forcibly imposed on the political will of the people who fully enjoy the freedom of thought and action. It is due to these merits that democratic system is widely popular in the world.
While Islam is a religion of universal application, as it emphasises peace, democracy, moderation and human rights including tolerance of political groups, religious communities and sects which are in minority in a country.
The Constitution of 1973 which was unanimously adopted, clearly states that Pakistan is basically a democracy guided by the Islamic principles and values—no law would be made contrary to Quran and Sunnah.
Notably, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in his sermon at Hajjatul Wida issued directions for protection of life, property and dignity of the whole mankind. The sermon became a charter of democracy which was included in the constitutions of the western elected governments in one way or the other.
While addressing the Constituent Assembly on August, 11 1947, Quaid-i-Azam who wanted Pakistan as a democratic state, said that he did not want Pakistan to be a theocratic state. He wanted Pakistan to be a liberal, secular and progressive state where both Muslims and non-Muslims were treated as citizens of equal status.
Besides, Islam respects women, while democracy also advocates the same. In fact, democracy does not evaporate respect for elders of a tribe or family and the process empowers the people to make their own rules for governance. Diversified people and religious scholars (Ulemas) participate in the system which does not exclude or discriminate any one on basis of caste, creed and sect. It does not destroy the established cultural norms and tribal system. It makes police and security forces answerable to elected members, making the tribal elders more powerful.
Islamic laws can be implemented through a system of governance, hence, elections are essential for placing the elected representatives to make rules and govern in any part of the country. Laws of Sharia (Islamic Jurisprudence) can best be put to practice through democratic system which does not make us un-Islamic or anti-Sharia.
Pakistan has to move along with the demands of modern time. Therefore, periodic reinterpretation of Islamic teachings in the light of inventions and discoveries is essential so that it can offer inspiration to all the people at all times. Such movement is called Ijtihad, which could provide new perceptions to Islam in accordance with the changed world vision.
However, Islam considers killing one innocent person equal to murdering the entire humanity, while Jihad is a sacred obligation, but its real spirit needs to be understood clearly, as murdering political leaders, innocent women and children is not Jihad. These Taliban and their banned affiliated groups are defaming Islam and are weakening Pakistan.
Taliban’s earlier threats to the Pakistan Peoples Party, ANP and the MQM have worried these parties which have almost curtailed their political activities in public to save lives of their leaders as well as those of general masses. However, ANP Chief Asfandyar Wali Khan has vowed not to bow down before the militants. And the lack of interest by the PPP in the election campaign has confined itself to mere newspapers and TV advertisements. While setting aside the orders of the Supreme Court, MQM which has declared the redrawing of constituencies in Karachi as an attempt to push the party against the wall has hold the Chief Election Commissioner and the caretaker government responsible for the present terror-attacks in Karachi due to non-provision of security. Showing determination, these parties have not boycotted the polls.
Nevertheless, these TTP related terrorists who have been carrying out ferocious attacks on the workers, leaders and offices of PPP, ANP and MQM also take pride in claiming the responsibility for the same. Now, people from all segments of life and majority of politicians want that a handful of terrorist elements must not be allowed to dictate their agenda and to impose their self-perceived ideology on the majority of Pakistanis through their undemocratic and un-Islamic practices.
It is mentionable that President Asif Ali Zardari declared that polls would be held on time, but his reference to ‘conspiracies’ makes it abundantly clear that attempts are being made to derail the process of elections which has entered into a crucial phase. The conspiracy theory is also strengthened as Information Minister Arif Nizami too has repeatedly talking about attempts to sabotage the election process or its postponement.
In fact, based in Afghanistan, secret agencies like American CIA, Indian RAW and Israeli Mossad are supporting TTP, Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) and other similar militant groups to thwart the process of elections and to create chaotic situation in Pakistan, as the latter is the only nuclear country in the Islamic world. A continued wave of targeted killings, suicide attacks, assaults on the places of worships, security forces, sectarian violence etc. are also part of the same plot. In this context, especially, RAW has hired the services of Indian Muslims who have well-penetrated in the BLA and TTP which have been conducting subversive acts on the political leaders and their offices.
Pakistan’s civil and military leadership has repeatedly disclosed that militants along with huge cache of arms are being sent to Pakistan from Afghanistan.
As regards foreign plot, it is noteworthy that like PPP, ANP and MQM, Pakistan Muslim League (N) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf are also liberal parties, but they are launching election campaign freely, and has not been threatened by the TTP.
Recently, PPP, ANP and President of Balochistan National Party (BNP) Sardar Akhtar Mengal requested the Chief Election Commissioner, caretaker government at centre and the provinces to provide security for their candidates, particularly by Pak Army. While Army is already deputed across the Pak-Afghan border to stop incursions from Afghanistan, and is also engaged in tribal areas in coping with the insurgents. However, at the behest of civil authorities, Army is ready to supply security during polls.
Yet the external-backed TTP ploy should not be taken lightly because it is a wake-up call for the entire nation. Now, the right hour has come that Pakistan’s media, politicians and leaders of religious parties including security forces must show practical unity against these zealots who seek to create anarchy in the country to accomplish their self-motivated designs by sabotaging the elections.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations