Militants’ Undemocratic and Un-Islamic Practices
In the recent years, militants of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and its affiliated outfits like Lashkar-e-Janghvi conducted terror-activities such as suicide attacks, ruthless beheadings of tribesmen, assaults on security personnel and prominent figures including Shias, Ahmadis, Sufis, Christians and Sikhs. Besides blowing children schools, while attacking the female teachers in order to deny education to girls, they also targeted mosques, Imambargahs, mausoleum and burial places of Sufi Saints, and disgraced dead bodies. Their nefarious acts resulted into killings of several persons in Pakistan. In the recent months, they accelerated their anti-social, undemocratic and un-Islamic practices to sabotage the democratic process and the forthcoming elections.
When the Supreme Court of Pakistan, armed forces, political and religious parties including media and civil society remained keen to see democracy, flourishing in the country by favouring the elections in Pakistan, TTT militants started propagating that democracy is western system of government which is against Islam. For the purpose, recently, a leaflet was distributed by the TTP-led Pasban-e-Shariat Organisation in North Waziristan Agency to reject the democratic system in FATA. While demonstrating its undemocratic trends and un-Islamic notions, TTP has not only openly opposed democracy, but has also propagated negative notions like as to “Why Democracy is Forbidden for Tribes.” The aim is to thwart the process of elections and create chaotic order in FATA.
Meanwhile, in a video message to the media, TTP spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan said that militant group was withdrawing its offer of peace talks with the government. He also directed the people to stay away from polls, which he stated, was only serving the interests of infidels and enemies of Islam. Their leader Maulvi Fazlullah had also expressed his disdain for democracy, parliament and the Constitution of Pakistan.
It is notable that after passing through various forms of governments such as monarchy, dictatorship, Communism etc., western countries established the system of democracy, 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. People participate in the system to initiate and approve the development proposals, while rulers are made to regulate economic, social and cultural advancement. Nothing is forcibly imposed on the political will of 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.
Besides, 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.
Having co-relationship with each other, 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 confine religion to Mosque.
It does not tend to destroy the established cultural norms and tribal system. It makes police and security forces answerable to elected members, making the tribal elders more powerful.
Democratic system does not prohibit the religious parties or tribesmen to participate in elections. 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. In this context, Allama Iqbal pointed out that the only effective power that counteracts the forces of decay in a people is Ijtihad, adding, Islam needs “new standards in the light of which we begin to see that our environment is not wholly inviolable and requires revision.”
While condemning the TTP insurgents’ inhuman activities, more than 60 Islamic scholars recently clarified in their joint fatwa (edict) and separate statements that “killing of innocent people, target killings and suicide bombings including sectarianism are against the spirit of Islam…the terrorists’ self-adopted interpretation of Islam was nothing but ignorance and digression from the actual teachings of the religion. They elaborated that Islam does not forbid women’s education.
However, the militant outfits also recruit very young boys, and after their brainwashing through indoctrination, they train them for suicide bombings. The planners misguide these Muslims by convincing that they will have a noble place in the Heavens in exchange of suicide attacks.
Nevertheless, 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 innocent women and children is not Jihad. These Taliban and their banned affiliated groups are defaming Islam and are weakening Pakistan.
These TTP related militants who were also found in other criminal activities such as killing the moderate dissidents, drug-smuggling, forced marriages, hostage-takings for ransom and even car-snatching seeks to impose their self-interpreted ideology of Islam on majority of the Pakistanis.
These terrorists are not only carrying out ferocious attacks, but are also taking pride in claiming the responsibility for the same. Now, people from all segment 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 in the country.
Nonetheless, TTP militants who have turned insensitive and inhuman, having no sense of compassion and benevolence are acting upon anti-social, undemocratic and un-Islamic practices.
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.
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