JUI getting radical, impatient?

By: Ashraf Mumtaz      Published: 03:56 PM, 2 Sep, 2020
JUI getting radical, impatient?
File photo.

The Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam, though a religious party, is emerging as a party with a radical approach which is running out of patience. And this is not a good sign. 

A member of this party from South Waziristan, Hafiz Isamuddin, (PK-113) while speaking on a point of order in KP Assembly on Aug 25 strongly criticised the role of the security forces for not clearing landmines from an area in his constituency and warned that he would bomb the assembly by putting explosives in his waistcoat if his grievances were not addressed.

The speaker expelled him from the house for a day for hurling the threat. 

No matter how justified the legislator’s complaint, the threat to bomb the legislature was unjustified, unexpected of a leader of a religious party. More so because he belongs to a religious party that teaches its followers patience in all situations. 

The JUI leader’s words are reflective of a radical change in the attitude of the party, which though restricted to a few pockets of KP and Balochistan, is the biggest of all religious parties. Other religio-political parties, including Jamaat-i-Islami, don’t have a considerable political base despite decades of struggle or are losing following because they have failed to come up to the expectations of their adherents. 

As a result, non-religious parties belonging to one school of thought or the other are dominating the political scene, a situation that should be a matter of concern for the religious parties. They should spare time to look into the causes behind their lack of public support, and work out a strategy to popularize themselves. 

Needless to point out that for JUI chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman Prime Minister Imran Khan is simply intolerable. He wants to see the cricketer-turned-politician out of power sooner than later. This is again an attitude incompatible with the desired temperament of a religious leader. 

All opposition parties rejected the results of the 2018 elections, which brought the PTI to power.  This outcome was unexpected for the major parties like the PML-N and the PPP that have been ruling the party for the past decades.  

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, who is a first timer in the National Assembly, called Prime Minister Imran Khan a ‘selected’ prime minister, a term now used for the premier by all opposition parties. 

Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who lost the previous election, launched a movement to dislodge the PTI government. For this purpose, he staged a long march from Karachi to Islamabad.

The PPP and the PML-N gave the JUI chief firm assurance of their support. But it turned out to be a farce.  

At the end of the long march, the Maulana staged a sit-in in Islamabad which continued for a couple of weeks before disappearing. The Maulana was left high and dry.

He is active against the government once again. He has formed an alliance of about a dozen smaller parties - who are all zero plus zero.  He is also trying to win the support of major opposition parties like PPP and the PML-N.  

An all-party conference is being planned to sketch a new strategy to bring down the government.  

Faced with a number of cases the leaders of these opposition parties also want to get rid of the PTI government at the earliest. But Maulana Fazl is more impatient. Perhaps, he has not been able to reconcile with the post-election joblessness.

That fact that a brother of him is a Senator, another brother a bureaucrat, son is a member of the National Assembly has not been able to satisfy him. A long stay in parliament has made him an ‘addict’.  He cannot wait for long to stay away from the comforts available to legislators.

But his impatience shows that he has little concern for the millions of countrymen who are without jobs and are finding it hard to make ends meet.

When the man at the top of a religious party is running out of patience and a legislator has threatened to bomb the assembly building, only Allah knows where the shift in the JUI’s thinking will lead the country.