by Sajjad Shaukat
In the recent months, the militants of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and its affiliated outfits accelerated their terror-activities by attacking the leaders and election-sites of the Awami National Party (ANP), Pakistan Peoples Party and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) including some other political parties and offices of the Election Commission of Pakistan till May 11, 2013 to sabotage the elections which were held in accordance with the schedule. Despite the subversive activities and threats of these insurgents, a majority of people cast their vote, and turn over was more than 60 percent.
The Supreme Court of Pakistan, Pak Army, political and religious parties including media and civil society remained determined to see democracy flourishing in the country by favouring the polls.
While accepting responsibility, TTP had not only felt pride for latest terror-assaults which killed several innocent people and candidates, but had also threatened to continue such attacks in future. Meanwhile, recently, 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. While rejecting the elections TTP spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan said that democracy was un-Islamic and western system of government.
It is mentionable that 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.
Even 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.
Pakistan has to move along with the demands of modern time. Therefore, periodic reinterpretation of Islamic teachings is essential. Such movement is called Ijtihad, which could provide new perceptions to Islam in accordance with the changed world vision.
Besides, 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. 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. Nothing is forcibly imposed on the political will of the people who fully enjoy the freedom of thought and action.
In this regard, by condemning the TTP insurgents? inhuman activities, more than 60 Islamic scholars recently clarified in their joint fatwa (edict) that ?killing of innocent people, target killings and suicide bombings including sectarianism are nor Jihad?, and ?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.? Unlike the Taliban, they elaborated; ?Islam does not forbid women?s education.? No doubt, these Taliban and their linked groups are defaming Islam and are destabilising Pakistan.
However, Taliban?s earlier threats to the PPP, ANP and the MQM worried these parties which had almost curtailed their political activities in public to save lives of their leaders as well as those of general masses. And the lack of interest by the PPP in the election campaign had confined itself to mere newspapers and TV advertisements. But these parties did not boycott the polls.
Notably, participation of the people in elections from all segments of life and politicians has proved 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.
In this respect, Chief of Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani who let the coalition government complete its tenure of five years, said on April 30, this year, ?A small faction wants to enforce its distorted ideology over the entire nation by taking up arms?the anti-democratic forces will never be acceptable.? Gen. Kayani explained, ?I assure you that we stand committed to assist and support the free, fair and peaceful elections…aimed at strengthening democracy and rule of law?linked to prosperity of the nation.? He also stressed a greater political consensus to tackle extremism and terrorism.
It is notable that President Asif Ali Zardari had declared that polls would be held on time, but his reference to ?conspiracies? made it abundantly clear that attempts were being made to derail the process of elections. The conspiracy theory was also strengthened as Information Minister Arif Nizami too had repeatedly been talking about attempts to disrupt the election process or its postponement.
In fact, based in Afghanistan, secret agencies like American CIA, Indian RAW and Israeli Mossad which have already been arranging terror-attacks on the places of worships, security forces, sectarian violence etc. through TTP, Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) and other similar militant groups left no stone unturned to thwart the process of elections and to create chaotic situation in Pakistan in order to complete their secret strategic designs. Especially, RAW has hired the services of Indian Muslims who have well-penetrated in the BLA, TTP, Jundollah, (God?s soldiers) and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi which have been conducting subversive acts in various regions of the country.
Pakistan?s civil and military leadership has repeatedly disclosed that militants along with huge cache of arms are being sent to Pakistan from Afghanistan.
Recently, PPP, ANP and President of Balochistan National Party (BNP) Sardar Akhtar Mengal had requested the Chief Election Commissioner and the caretaker government to provide security for their candidates by Pak Army. Nevertheless, Gen. Kayani who had approved the plan for army deployment to provide security during polls; himself visited Balochistan and Karachi in this respect.
Nonetheless by castigating the conspiracy, Pakistan?s media, politicians and leaders of religious parties including security forces got victory over these militants who intended 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