By Nayyer Khan
Both Jamat-e-Islami and Pakistan’s deep state were looking for a charismatic character, who had a glitz of the Western culture and a mindset of an Islamist. One senior memeber of Jamat-e-Islami, namely Hafizullah Niazi effectively solved this problem by finding the right person for this job. He happened to be the brother-in-law of Cricket’s super star, male sex symbol and Casanova of International repute, Imran Khan.
The Jamaat Islami (JI) won Pakistan state’s patronage to be given a role in home politics for the first time during the brief, yet eventful tenure of military ruler Yahya Khan, when designing of state’s vital policy matters was assigned to then minister for Information and National Affairs, Major General Sher Ali Khan. Yahya Khan was no different from his predecessors – starting from Jinnah to Ayub Khan – who were hardly observant of Islamic practices in their personal lives; but had used political Islam as a major tool for defining national identity and nation-building. They wished to keep militant Islamism under control to prevent it from destabilizing domestic politics; yet direct it against India and also to use it to counter the leftist and nationalist dominant trends that were at the time working against what they deemed the Islamic ideology underpinning the state. In Sher Ali’s scheme of things the “ideology of Pakistan and glory of Islam” became pet words of our military leadership, which projected the army itself as ultimate defender of the ‘ideology of Pakistan’. Learning the lesson from public agitation against Ayub Khan, Sher Ali convinced Yahya that army should maintain its mythical image before the people as a final savior of the nation whenever national interests so demanded and, therefore, control the national politics from behind the scene; to avoid any situation in which people of Pakistan would ever confront the army directly. For this purpose a weak political government was needed to arise from the first general elections in Pakistan, scheduled to take place by the end of 1970, to be used as a fig leaf to army’s oligarchy.
As per Sher Ali plans the results of the polls were not to be manipulated during; but before the polls by providing the state’s assistance to religio-political parties – especially JI – in shape of financial and propaganda support. The substantial funds of Ayub Khan’s faction of the Muslim League confiscated by the Yahya’s Martial law regime were diverted to JI, in addition to money raised by IB from the industrialists and business class to fund the election campaign of Islamic parties (Hasan Zaheer ‘The Separation of East Pakistan’ Oxford University Press. pp 124-125). Funds were also poured in JI’s pouch by the Saudi government as well as Saudi sponsored Rabita al-Alam al-Islami.
Continue reading JI to PTI – ‘Good looking Jamaat-e-Islami’
The lies and triangulations of Imran Khan
By Saroop Ijaz
When the educated, prudent Imran Khan supporter is asked for her views on the unbelievably grand proclamation of the ‘dear leader’ stating that he will uproot corruption in 19 days and eradicate terrorism in 90 days, there are always two slants, often one after the other. The devotee will inevitably begin by arguing how Imran Khan will unquestionably and quite breezily achieve the said objectives in the self-stipulated time period. If the line of reasoning is further pursued (or reasoning used at all), they will gingerly and sheepishly concede that statements might not be susceptible to literal implementation, but making an invigorated comeback, state that he is better than everyone else and has built a cancer hospital and who else could they vote for etc? At this point a smirk breaks out on the face of the PTI foot-soldier; to them it is the clincher. The best argument for Imran Khan is something which can be vaguely phrased as some notion of the ‘lesser evil’. There is some difficulty in grasping the concept of how the subsequent quantitative judgment about less or more is precisely made, once the qualitative determination of ‘evilness’ has been reached.
Let me be plain on the matter, the proclamations of Imran Khan on corruption and terrorism and the arbitrary, flashy deadlines are untrue on their face. They require no elaborate refutation, and a child of 10 having average intelligence should see through them, unless of course they have uncritical love blinding them. This brings us to the question of motive, here again an unflattering binary is unavoidable; either he is lying by design or he does not possess the fortitude to understand and realize what he says. At a core level, it is a choice between deceit and self-deceit. I do not think Imran Khan is fantastically intelligent, but he is decent by cricketer/politician standard. Hence, because he is not severely mentally handicapped, it is safe to say that he does know what he promises is not only undoable, it is impossible that he will get anywhere close to these deadlines in the best of circumstances. The blatant misrepresentations cannot be attributed to Spartan simple-mindedness or childlike innocence; it is done with complete knowledge. Therefore, even to put it at its mildest, Imran Khan is deliberately and consciously lying.
Continue reading Saroop Ijaz on Imran Khan and the 19/90 days promise. Lying or stupid?
In his hurry to reach the prime minister’s chair, great cricketer and philanthropist Imran Khan has recently started acquiring every lota available on the Pakistani political scene (Lota, or ablution vessel, is the colloquial term for political opportunists who switch parties, frequently at a signal from our master strategists in Aabpara). His latest acquisition is Mr Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri, formerly foreign minister under Pervez Musharraf (and therefore part and parcel of the foreign policy that IK always describes as treacherous, anti-Muslim, sellout, disastrous, CIA-inspired, etc etc). Mr Kasuri, an otherwise respectable elder statesman from kasur, joined IK at a rally there. But somehow, the crowd spoiled the glorious occasion by running away with the chairs after the public meeting ended.
Who knows, maybe it was spontaneous, but I suspect that the fix was in…IK is remarkably disconnected from everyday Punjabi life and I think someone in the PMLN had the bright idea of teaching him “aatey daal ka bhao” (the price of flour and lentils…ie the state of affairs on the ground as opposed to how it looks from his evacuee property in Zaman Park). It wouldnt have taken much. A wink and a nod and a few professional saboteurs (the kind who are available in any village to “spoil” a rival’s wedding feast or other big occasion) would have started the free for all…after that, its a self-catalytic process. ….
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