ISLAMABAD – With only one day remaining to Jamaat-e-Islami (JI)’s General Convention – a party with its own membership criteria – many are mesmerized by the role its going to play in the national political arena.
JI leaders are hopeful to gather half a million mass at Pakistan Minaret from November 21 to 23 in Lahore. The party sources also confirmed the participation of at least 30 international delegations from countries across the world.
However, the party formed in 1942 still holds a strict criteria of its membership that revolves around reading the assigned literature (mostly pamphlets produced by party’s senior leaders) and adopting an ‘Islamic’ way of living. This strict criteria had remained the primary reason of gap between the party and majority of the population. At least one JI leader Qazi Hussain Ahmed was aware of this fact as he wrote in his articles published in leading Urdu daily Jang.
Qazi Hussain Ahmed remained the chief of JI from 1987 to 2009. He had the honor of holding this position for the longest period of time only after the founding chief Maulana Moududi.
According to the political analyst and TV Journalist, Mazhar Abbas, Qazi had a gut feeling that JI could not become an alternative political force in Pakistan due to the lack of attractive agenda for masses. Moreover, he also believed that people who were not the members of JI could be good Muslims and therefore deserve a respect.
Many in Pakistan believe that the student wing of JI – Islami Jamaita-e-Talba (IJT) – had remained the largest and most controversial student organization of Pakistan. IJT enjoyed stronghold in country’s biggest universities including Punjab University, Karachi University and International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI). This student reportedly involved in brawls against other liberal student organizations and federations. In a similar incident once IJT members dragged Imran Khan and get him arrested in Punjab University when he was trying to address a gathering organized by Insaf Student Federal (ISF) – student wing of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf – in Punjab University Lahore.
Moreover, for the youth not enrolled in any universities, JI has it’s youth wing – Shabab-e-Milli – which is also considered the moral brigade. The excuse of such acts from the IJT and Shabab-e-Milli remained that persuading people to adopt Islamic life style is one of the duties of Islamic state, if state fails to do so then it shifts to them.
Interestingly Qazi Hussain Ahmed had once tried to make a forward block comprised on few names who remained active leaders of IJT before merging into JI’s second or third tier leadership. According to the details available with PakistanTribe‘s correspondent Qazi was working on this in order to make an alliance of ‘like-minded acceptables’ to get strength in 2013 general elections. Unfortunately death came to him before any tangible success.
Qazi – who remained a hardliner supporter of Afghan Jihad against Russian aggression – refused to buy Al Qaeda’s logic about Pakistan Army and its military operations in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Saleem Shehzad’s ‘Inside Al-Qaeda and Taliban’ gives a deep insight of how Qazi was nothing like his predecessors and successors when it comes to the national policies. The same book claimed that Qazi was trying to bring back former IJT members then fighting against foreign forces in Afghanistan and against Pakistan Army in FATA.
Political analysts in Pakistan believe that Syed Munawar Hassan – former chief of JI – had further damaged the popularity of the party with his controversial statement about Pakistan Army’s deceased soldiers who sacrificed their lives fighting the outlawed militants.
Moreover, the announcement from the JI’s chief Siraj ul Haq that his party will be raising voice against the government’s ill policies is already overshadowed by Imran Khan’s powerful movement against Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government.
Speculations were being made that JI Chief Sirajul Haq might join Imran Khan’s movement against government but Professor Ibrahim – JI’s head in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) – made it clear that what taste Imran Khan would get on his taste buds after November 30.
Ibrahim – who remained an active member of outlawed Taliban appointed negotiation committee for peace dialogues – clearly termed Imran Khan’s agitation as ‘Dance and Singing’. He said “Dance and singing cannot bring any change and our party workers will never be a part of it.”
But not to forget that JI has now adopted somewhat modern techniques to propagate their stance and presence.