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pakistanis fear of growing influense of radical islam

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    pakistanis fear of growing influense of radical islam

    do the pakistanis really fear radical islam. do they want democratic tolrant islam that jinnah beleived. long absence of democratic
    system will help bring radical islam since
    there is no ligitimate means of coming to power by elctions?

    following article examines the fear of pakistanis

    Pakistanis Fear Growing Influence Of Radical Islam
    Clerics Seek to Bar Women From Work
    Women wait for public buses in Karachi, where female bus conductors face opposition from Islamic groups who object to women in the workplace. (Pamela Constable - The Washington Post)

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    By Pamela Constable
    Washington Post Foreign Service
    Friday, December 22, 2000; Page A38

    KARACHI, Pakistan -- Sitting primly in the front seats of grubby urban buses, tickets clutched in their laps and pink uniform scarves draped over their heads, the female conductors of the New Shandaar transport company seem unlikely targets of religious outrage.

    But this is Pakistan, where conservative Islamic influence is steadily creeping into daily life and clerics emboldened by the political vacuum created during 14 months of military rule are flexing their muscles with increasing success.

    Last month, when the provincial government inaugurated the new Karachi bus service with Pakistan's first female conductors, there were immediate protests from clerics and religious parties, who argued that it was immoral and offensive to have women working among strange men in public places.

    "Islam says women should stay home, under the veil, looking after their children," said Abdul Rehman Salafi, who heads a mosque in the city. "If men and women are allowed to mix freely, it leads to crimes, and unmarried women become mothers. Islam gives full freedom to women, but only within four walls."

    The bus company has not changed its policies, and the conductors say they have encountered no difficulties doing their jobs. Most are young housewives who need the $85 a month to help feed their families and see nothing wrong with earning it punching bus tickets.

    "Everyone has been respectful and cooperative," said Zahida Begum, 29, a mother of four who started working for New Shandaar three weeks ago. "These religious leaders should not object. We are doing this only because of economic pressure. If women can be air hostesses, why not bus conductors?"

    Most Pakistanis would agree, and many are proud that their country -- long dominated politically and economically by a secular, Westernized elite -- has remained religiously moderate and tolerant aside from pockets of radicalism influenced by strict Islamic teachings from Saudi Arabia, Iran and Afghanistan.

    No religious party in Pakistan has won more than a handful of elected political offices, they note, and periodic efforts to impose Islamic law, or sharia, over the secular constitution have failed.

    But under their breath, many secular Pakistanis admit they fear the increasing stridency and street power of radical Muslims, whom the military government headed by Gen. Pervez Musharraf seems unwilling to challenge and who appear to be gathering strength at a time when political parties have been banned.

    Already the government has backed off plans to modernize the curriculum of religious academies and to change the law to make it more difficult to accuse someone of blasphemy. And it has allowed religious groups to hold public rallies while prohibiting those by political groups. It gives free rein to Islamic guerrillas fighting in India's portion of the disputed Kashmir region, even while saying it wants to seek peace with India.

    "Musharraf must rein in the religious groups if he wants to do business with the rest of the world, but he does not want to provoke them," said Khalid Mahmoud, a scholar with the Institute of Regional Studies. "The extremist groups are not popular, and they are not in a position to take power, but they can create a lot of trouble."

    In such cities as Peshawar, which is heavily influenced by the strict Islamic codes practiced in next-door Afghanistan, religious groups have shut down cable TV operations and music halls. Banners recently appeared across the city calling for restoration of the caliphate, a form of hereditary Islamic rule.

    Some secular Pakistanis are also alarmed at the growing religious conservatism their children bring home from school and play. Hundreds of thousands of poor Pakistani children attend madrassahs, autonomous academies devoted to the study of the Koran, and Islamic influence is growing in public schools as well. One college professor said most of his female students come to class with their heads veiled; a generation ago only a handful did. Another man, a middle-aged bureaucrat, said he was horrified to learn his children were being asked to take up collections for Muslim rebels in Russia's secessionist Chechnya region.

    Some Pakistani analysts, however, say fears of radical Islamic influence are exaggerated. Only a handful of religious groups espouse Islamic revolution, and only one relatively moderate group -- the Jamiat-e-Islami party, headed by Qazi Hussain Ahmed -- has the organizational and financial strength to mount a political challenge to the establishment.

    "Jamiat does not believe in violence, but in teaching," said a senior Jamiat scholar. "Not all members wear beards or veils. We support a peaceful, political process. This is not the right time for us to move. If the army fails, there could be chaos. But the political parties have lost grass-roots support, and their governments have proven corrupt or incompetent. So what is left? The religious groups who have never been in government."

    In Karachi and Peshawar, a few Islamic clerics have from time to time shouted anti-Western invective over mosque loudspeakers at Friday prayers, warning of plots by foreign charities to emancipate Muslim women or threatening to kill Americans if the United States launches a military attack on Afghanistan. But others take a more moderate approach, raising objections to decadent secular ways without invoking followers to violence.

    Salafi, who at a recent Friday prayer meeting protested the employment of women bus conductors, said he was only doing his religious duty by calling attention to an immoral practice.

    "Islam teaches us what is right, and it is my duty to speak against what is bad," he said. "It is hard for us to make a difference, but more and more people are attracted to Islamic teachings. People do listen to us now. One day, with God's help, we hope that Islamic laws will be enforced in Pakistan in totality."

    "among strange men in public places"

    well I guess they have no choice but to stay home then. They're strange men walking all over the place in Pakistan.

    "Islam gives full freedom to women, but only within four walls.""

    freedom within four walls? why does that sound so wrong?!

    "Jamiat does not believe in violence, but in teaching,"

    Yeah bull$#!++ ! they're as bad as any other political party there. Maybe worse cause they cause all their trouble under the name of Islam.

    Man, those have got to be some tough women working as bus conductors!


      Brought nothing but misery to us back in colleges & universities, (could tell you numerous stories how they would harrass us all, me, my frnds & cousins etc. but not worth it!) & Now they're done it to t/ country. For a Jamaatii, All's fair in t/ game of religion! Ever notice how they treat thr wife? It's downright mental abuse - once again in t/ name of religion!



        what does we mean by radicals?

        r they those ppl who like to follow Islam closely?

        i'm not talkin about jamiaat here they r not even close to islam n its ways. i have been very close to these ppl n have seen how big of a muslim they r. Btw qazi saab wanted all young muslims to fight for islam in kashmir but his own son was studyin in uk kinda funny

        but back to the topic.
        once back in pak once i saw this lady who was an advocate of women rights in pak. talkin on tv n talkin about the rights Islam have given women
        i was laughing coz from nowhere she looked like followin the basiz laws of Islam one of them pardaa. She of there in front of thousand of ppl with all that make up n talkin about Islam ohh comeon


          What was Jinnah's vision of Pakistan? There should be no doubts on this score. He was clear in his mind that Pakistan was to be a democracy based on the rule of law, a country in which all citizens were to be equal regardless of caste and creed. Hatred, intolerance and bigotry had no place in his scheme of things. Nor, it must be stressed, authoritarianism. Pakistan's descent into dictatorship and religious intolerance - the first manifested in repeated bouts of military rule, the second in sectarian strife - is therefore all the more astonishing because there ought to have been no place for these things in Pakistan. Much of our history, however, is a betrayal of the Quaid's ideals. We have paid lip service to them but nothing more. Leaders, political and military, have alike failed Pakistan repeatedly. It is no surprise therefore if once again we stand at the crossroads, still trying to decide which turning to take.

          But if the Quaid's example is to guide our way there should be no doubts on this score. Would the Quaid have countenanced the noises we hear about 'sham' and 'real' democracy? If a turning has to be taken it must be the one which leads to democracy, a democracy which answers to the real concerns of the masses and one in which the rich are not cosseted at the expense of the poor. True, democracy has had its problems. But then the answer to that is not to uproot democracy altogether but to nourish it further. There is no other alternative. After all, nowhere in the world has the plant of democracy sprouted all of a sudden. Even in the best soils it has taken time to mature. We should therefore not be disheartened. It is not beyond the ingenuity and indeed genius of the Pakistani people to surmount their present difficulties, provided they remain faithful to the Quaid's ideals. Otherwise they might keep wandering in the woods.


            well inspite of all that you have mentioned in the mail rvkiz
            the fact remains that india is being ruled by rss a hindu fundmentalist force
            and in pakistan all the fundamentalist parties have never managed to win more than few seats
            so that says it all


              jinnah is no more and all those people are no more when jinnah though about secular pakistan at that time it was congress which was ruling india and there was a secular ideology in india but times have gone are the people who belived in secularism and infact its the people who kiiled gandhi are power in india .and likewise its the hardliners who are gaining strenght in pak
              but i still feel india is more communal than pak


                Originally posted by kabir:
                jinnah is no more and all those people are no more when jinnah though about secular pakistan at that time it was congress which was ruling india and there was a secular ideology in india but times have gone are the people who belived in secularism and infact its the people who kiiled gandhi are power in india .and likewise its the hardliners who are gaining strenght in pak
                but i still feel india is more communal than pak
                how can the be communal it is 97% muslims
                still sectarian kiling goes on between different armed groups.
                law and problem exists despite it is 97% muslim.


                  I think its the Westerners who fear and not the Pakistanis.

                  Sarfraz Khan


                    Originally posted by kabir:
                    jinnah is no more and all those people are no more when jinnah though about secular pakistan at that time it was congress which was ruling india and there was a secular ideology in india but times have gone are the people who belived in secularism and infact its the people who kiiled gandhi are power in india .and likewise its the hardliners who are gaining strenght in pak
                    but i still feel india is more communal than pak
                    Read the constitution of Pakistan before you claim India is more communal. People like you had choice to remain in India whereas Pakistan practiced ethinic cleasing minorities had no choice. You amaze me minorities and even Shias and Ahmadis are regularly prosecuted in Pakistan. Pakistan is a religious state, it is ruled by people who only believe in superiority of Islam, whereas in India there is seperation of state and religion. People like you living in secular state critize secularism and demand more of it but they are completely content with Islamic states run and formed on the basis of religion. You and your lapsided thinking amazes me, God forbid if people like you ever come to power.


                      Rani, You are a hindu i think. Have you ever seen life i India from a muslims eye. Have you been to small towns and villages.Life for a muslim is very bad in some parts they are treated like animals. Rani try fixing india and we pakistanis will fix pakistan.


                        Rvikz, define the term 'Radical-Islam' before your post could be further debated.


                          radical islam means taliban form of islam


                            Ofcourse Rani is a typical example of a hypocrite Hindu who lives in a la la land! True to her colours, she continues to bash Pakistan in almost every single post. She is obssessed by Pakistan, hence she's got nothing bettr to do than bash pAKISTAN, IT'S CITIZENS & Islam, in ""!!

                            Tazz, that treatment of Muslims is in India is true not only in small towns & villages, but also major cities, like Bombay & Delhi etc. May I remind Babri Masjid, which is only one sad public fiasco??

                            Any time an Indian Muslim cries for his rights, he/she is accused of spying for Pakistan. These days t/ Imam of Babri Masjid has denounced t/ t/ building of a hindu Temple in place of t/ Babri Masjid. It's always sumthing or t/ othr going on in India, which is still MUCH LESS violence against Shia/ Ahmadis ( Iam NO WAY condoning it) in Paksitan. Plsss. we cudnt evn call our relatives in India , for fear that they would know they are getting calls from Pakistan & they wud get hurt!

                            Rani believes that India is one big paradise on Earth! Just ask t/ Hindu Dalits, who reside not only in small towns & villages, but also major cities & ask thm about that paradise! Forget how t/Indian Muslims feel & what kind of regular hell they go through in thr daily lives!!

                            [This message has been edited by FunkyDesi (edited December 26, 2000).]


                              Enforcing Islam by force

                              Aziz-ud-Din Ahmad
                              That fundamentalist forces should be increasingly turning their attention to enforcing sharia inside Pakistan through extra-parliamentary methods is not something altogether unexpected. The ruling elite has over the last two decades patronized a militant version of Islam rather than promote moderation in matters or religion. Those who were egged on to wage jihad abroad do not need an extra incentive to turn their guns towards their own government if they perceive it to be deviating from their concept of Islam. The chickens have finally come home to roost.
                              Five years back, Sufi Muhammad raised the banner of the enforcement of Shariat-e-Muhammadi in Malakand division. He declared the legal system prevailing in the country as being kufr, a term widely used to denote something which is the opposite of Islam, and called upon his followers to replace it by force. There were numerous clashes in the area. The armed workers of the organization kidnapped two legislators, and killed one of them. All attempts to persuade them failed. Paramilitary forces had to be called out to suppress those spreading lawlessness.
                              Last week, Maulana Akram Awan's Tanzim al-Ikhwan announced a march on Islamabad in order to force the government to immediately implement sharia, or the complete Islamic code. The adventure has now been put off till March. The postponement can, however, provide government only temporary satisfaction. Last Thursday, the Amir of the organization had reminded Gen. Musharraf 's government that any rejection of the demand would be considered as an act of kufr and force the al-Ikhwan to issue a call for jihad. Maulana Akram Awan maintained that by sending the ultimatum to Gen. Pervez Musharraf, he was in fact following the example of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) who had sent a similar message to another Pervez, the fire-worshipping Sassanid emperor.
                              The Tanzim al-Ikhwan is different from Tehrike-Nifaz-Shariat-Muhammadi in one vital aspect. The latter was centred in a remote region of the NWFP, far away from the centre of power in Pakistan, while the former draws support from the military districts of Potohar in Punjab and reportedly has numerous adherents among army personnel, thanks to the efforts undertaken by Zia to radicalise the institution, and the rhetoric indulged in by his successors. Among the negotiators nominated by Maulana Akram Awan are two army officers. The government has tried to wriggle out of the situation by assuring the organization that a committee appointed by it would look into their demands and take necessary action in less than three months.
                              An elected government can claim that demands made by any section of the society can be accepted only by the Parliament. No such excuse is available to the military government which has made its intent known to bring about constitutional amendments through executive diktat, bypassing the Parliament. It cannot convince the fundamentalist lobby that it is beyond its power to oblige them.
                              The military government faces a dilemma now. On the one hand, it has to convince the West of its moderation while on the other hand satisfy the fundamentalist lobby that it has so far kept with it. It cannot just eat the cake and have it too. In case the government yields to the pressure, it will be required to make hard choices for the economy, national defence and relations with the rest of the world. If the government decides to ban interest on foreign loans, it will have to live without these. In case it refuses to pay interest on arms purchased on deferred payment, it will have to defend the country with primitive weapons. If the Pakistani banks shift over to riba free banking, it will lead to large scale capital flight, leaving little for domestic investment.
                              Another group of fundamentalists that has recently sprung up in Pakistan is the al-Mohajiroun. The organization which has been banned in most of the Muslim countries was non-existent in Pakistan before the military take-over. It has now launched a full scale publicity campaign. It has a website and is organizing public seminars. Its principal demand is the enforcement of Islamic sharia through the resurrection of khilfah, or the caliphate system.
                              The al-Mohajiroun does not believe in realizing its objectives through normal democratic process. The task can, therefore, be performed either through executive orders issued by the military government or, if that fails to happen, through a militant struggle. The organisation regards democracy as an evil system violative of the injunctions of Islam. Incidentally this is exactly the position taken by al-Dawah wal Irshad, the umbrella organization of the Lashkar-e-Tayba. Both want democracy to be replaced by khilafah. Both oppose the concept of a nation state, which they want to be replaced by a world Islamic government headed by a caliph.
                              "All the states in the Muslim world", declares the al-Mohajiroun, "including Sudan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Egypt are members of the UN. The UN is a kufr organization because the UN Charter recognizes the territorial boundaries that exist in the world as well as those that divide the Muslims".
                              What is important for these organizations is the export of the Islamic revolution. It matters little to them if a Muslim state was to disintegrate as a result of their activities launched in order to achieve the objective.
                              The al-Mohajiroun regards modernity as kufr. So personalities like Kemal Ataturk, Sir Syed Ahmad Khan and Syed Amir Ali, idealized by many Muslims on account of spreading enlightenment in their countries, are categorised by the organisation as traitors to Islam.
                              Maulana Akram Awan shares the concept of enforcement of sharia with these organizations. Khisro Pervez, to whom he had ominously referred while sending his message to the Chief Executive, represented the forces of kufr in the days of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). The jihadis regard the US as having assumed the same role in the contemporary world. It will be quite logical for an Islamic government run by these organisations to send President Bush, who according to them is the chief representative of kufr today, the same ultimatum i.e. embrace Islam or face jihad.
                              The Islamic militants are not bothered about the need on the part of a Muslim country to adhere to responsible behaviour in international relations. The struggle of Lashkar-e-Tayba, according to Maulana Muhammad Saeed, will not end with the liberation of Kashmir. It will continue till the whole of India is turned into a Muslim state. And then will come the turn of other centres ruled by non-believers.
                              Whether the Islamist groups succeed in destroying the states under non-believers remains highly doubtful. They can, however, do enough harm to their own states, as is exemplified by Afghanistan and Algeria. There is enough weaponry in possession of well-trained militant groups in Pakistan to turn the country into another Somalia. The fact that some of the fundamentalist groups have suddenly directed the energies to replacing the system inside the country through extra-parliamentary means should worry anyone who wants to strengthen Pakistan as a modern democratic nation state, as visualized by Quaid-i-Azam, the great believer in parliamentary democracy.