Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Writ of government and Second Karbala

Writ of government and Second Karbala
Dr Shabir Choudhry 13 July 2007

A few days ago I phoned a journalist friend in Islamabad to find out about the progress of ‘Operation Silence’ at the Red Mosque, in which there was no silence but big bangs from beginning to the end. He instantly replied that ‘this event reminds us of the tragedy of Karbala, where ruler of the time Yazeed, despite being out of step with Islamic practises, in order to establish writ of government mercilessly butchered off springs of the Prophet Mohammed Peace Be Upon Him.

He said, both tragic events are black spots in the Islamic history; and both have great similarities. Hazrat Imam Hussain refused to accept ‘Khilafat’ (rule) of Yazeed because he did not practise Islam, and he encouraged anti Islamic traditions and practices. Hazrat Imam Hussain thought that if he accepted his rule and what he did, then that would be tantamount to accepting his un –Islamic life -style and playboy character, which would have corrupted the society.

Everyone knows how Islamic is Islamabad and Pakistan. While demanding Pakistan the slogan of Islam was used to get the support of masses, otherwise there was no intention of making the country Islamic or land of pure where there could be peace and prosperity. Pakistan is what they wanted to make of it, and it is not an accident of history that we find chaos, corruption and undemocratic and un Islamic practices accepted as part of daily life there.

I am no fan of Niazi brothers, and there is a lot of circumstantial evidence to suggest that they were ‘b’ or ‘c’ team of the government, and government agencies used them for their purposes. But that apart, was there anything wrong in their demands?

Disagreements started with governments U Turn on Afghanistan, and especially after the government demolished seven mosques in Islamabad because they were on the rout where VVIP travelled and some dignitaries from abroad also travelled, and in view of secret agencies these mosques were considered threat to these VVIPs. Ghazi brothers demanded reconstruction of these mosques. Apart from that they demanded establishment of Islamic laws in Pakistan. They also said that there were many brothels in Islamabad and in Pakistan, which are against Islam and which are causing serious social and cultural problems.

When despite repeated requests the government did not take any action to rebuild these mosques or took any action against these people and brothels then the Ghazi brothers with help of their male and female volunteers took certain actions to stop them, which in actual fact was role of the government. One can accept that it is not a role of individuals to impose laws, as this right and power is endowed with the government; but the Ghazi brothers and their followers believe that if the government of the day does not stop these un-Islamic acts then it becomes obligatory on true Muslims to stop the evil by force if they can.

Muslims who believe in this kind of practise rely on the saying of Prophet Mohammed PBUH, in which he said, if Muslims see wrong - doing they should stop it by force and if they cannot do that then they should openly voice against it, and if they cannot even do that then the minimum they can do is to say in heart that it is a bad act. And the last position is the weakest state of Imaan- faith.

The government of the day in Pakistan is un - Islamic, and had no love for Islamic laws, so there was no question of implementing Islamic laws in Pakistan. According to Ghazi brothers they repeatedly asked the authorities to take action against brothels, and against those who were running them or were protecting them, but no action was taken. So it was their moral and Islamic duty to take action against these people.

Here I am not comparing Abdul Rashid Ghazi with the most respected and loved person in the history of Islam, Hazrat Imam Hussain, but one has to look at these similarities in the actions and plight of both:

Hazrat Imam Hussain refused to accept Yazid, as Head of Islamic government. He could have just kept himself busy with his prayers and looked after his family; and could have ignored what Yazid was doing. Similarly Ghazi brothers could have ignored obligations of Islam and jihad, and could have left it to the government whether to impose Islamic laws or not, or to close brothels or let people open a few more; and could have continued with teaching of Quran and Hadees.

But both decided to oppose the government of the day and endangered their lives and lives of their love ones. Rulers in both cases took this as a challenge to their rule and decided to crush this opposition with the military might in the name of establishing ‘writ of government’.

Majority of Muslims throughout the centuries have condemned act of Yazid and curse him for what he did. But from a legal and technical point of view he was establishing a writ of the government - a plea which General Musharaf and his cronies are using.

Both were besieged by large and powerful armies of rulers of the time, and both armies denied them access to water and other necessary things. Both were besieged with their families and love ones which included women and children. Both asked for a safe passage that they could go back where they came from. Both were denied this safe passage and both fought till the very last, sacrificed their lives and did not surrender.

In both cases governments concerned justified their actions and proclaimed victory over people who challenged ‘writ of the government’.

In both cases prisoners were ill treated and ridiculed by the captors – highly respected female members of Hazrat Imam Husasin’s family were insulted and were taken to Damascus; and Molana Abdul Aziz was paraded in front of cameras with burqa and taken to prison, and female members of his family are also charged and taken to court and prison.

Both were let down by the people they relied on. Hazrat Imam Hussain was let down by people of Koofa on whose invitation he came there; and Ghazi brothers were let down by a large section of ulemas and perhaps those members of agencies and government officials who helped and supported them only weeks before the end of this tragic event.

Both tragic events took place in Muslim countries and Muslims were killed on both sides.

This Pakistani friend, after discussing these similarities, said, ‘this is a second karbala, we only heard and read about the first karbala, but we have witnessed the second Karbala before our eyes. I could not believe this was happening in a Muslim country where Muslim soldiers were unleashing brutal bombardment at a Mosque where there were hundreds of innocent men, women and children’.
He said if the government was serious and sincere in arresting these two brothers there was more than one way of ending this stand off. As mosques are public places where no one is denied access, it is not too difficult to arrest anyone from there, especially at the time of morning prayer when usually only handful people are present. The government instead of sending rangers and army could have cooled off the situation by withdrawing them, and then send couple of dozen policemen in plain clothes who could have taken both brothers without much effort.
But the government wanted to impress people outside boundaries of Pakistan and achieve several goals by ending this siege this way. But this action will have its repercussions, and the second Karbala will also result in removal of government; and if it doesn’t happen soon then the government in order to save its interests could lead the country in to a civil war which will be disastrous not only to Pakistan but to the entire region.

Writer is Chairman Diplomatic Committee of JKLF, Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs and author of many books on Kashmir. He could be reached at: drshabirchoudhry@googlemail.com

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