Politics and Religion

Shaikh Moazzam Khan





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Shaikh Moazzam Khan

Since the arrival of Prime Minister Imran Khan in the power corridors in Islamabad, opposition parties are making tireless efforts to create hurdles for the running of government affairs. The reason for their acts is somehow obvious. PM Imran Khan is not corrupt that’s why opposition parties have failed to find any logical ground for their criticism against the government. Instead of compromising with corrupt politicians, PM Imran Khan is taking stringent actions against the corruption and corrupt system in the country. This is core and basic point of difference between government and opposition parties.

When opposition parties no argument to substantiate their claims against the poor performance of government, some of them are now using religious platforms to weaken the position of government. Now, when we talk about religion, it has nothing to do with politics. We have so many precedents before us where religion is being kept away from the politics. But, in Pakistan, things are very complicated unfortunately. The credit goes to some corrupt politicians who incites religious leaders to come out the streets and pressurize government. This practice has been seen many times in last five to ten years. From Tahir ul Qadri’s Awami Tehrik to Tahreek e Labaik (TLP), the country has witnessed use of religion in politics.

Some politicians used religion as a bargaining tool to deal with government and made it sure that their demands got accepted. This is one part of the story. Since the PTI-led government in political reins, issue of religion is once again dominating the debates in news channels. Right-Wing political parties such as Jamiat Ulma Islam (JUI) led by Molana Fazal Ur Rehman, Jamat e Islami (JI) led by Siraj Ul Haq are accusing PM Imran Khan of trying to establish relations with Israel and keeping soft corner for Ahmadis. These accusations have dire consequence for the religious harmony in the country where religious communities have ideological concerns.

In past few weeks, a heated debate is there in media on the issue of Ahmadis in Pakistan. Few fake news was circulated in social media claiming that Pakistani government has allowed the inclusion of Ahmadis in the minority commission of Pakistan. These were serious accusations. Anti-PTI politicians started to blame PM Imran Khan for giving unconstitutional favours to the Ahmadis. JUI’s Molana Fazal ur Rehman played leading role in this episode. He repeatedly called PM Imran Khan a ‘Jewish Agent’. It is pertinent to mention here that under the second amendment in constitution of Pakistan, Ahmadis are non-Muslim. They have limited rights under the constitution. But, rest of the minorities are enjoying all their fundamental and religious rights.

JUI-F and their sponsors have started accusing PM Imran Khan of working hand in hand with Israel in allowing Ahmedis to be recognized as Muslims. Some PML-N touts have also followed this theme. The government officials vehemently denounced these claims. Ministry of religious affairs in a statement clearly rejected these rumours that Ahmadis are being included in the commission for the first time. The other I would like to say here that inclusion of this group in a minority commission is nowhere near to accepting them as Muslims. It is actually the opposite. Now, Qadiyanis won’t be able to work with fake names and declared sects. They have been properly added as a minority. The constitution of Pakistan provides basic rights to all communities including non-Muslims. Ahmedis/ Qadiyanis are still citizens of Pakistan, and citizens of Pakistan are not traitors, they have every right to live a happy life in this country. 

Political parties should think before using any religious claim in the political matters. Religion is very sensitive issue in Pakistan as we all know. There must not be politicization of religious norms and values as it will severely damage the religious harmony in the country and create sectarian divide. Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) are the major political parties in Pakistan and they should care about the national interests of the country. There first priority should be religious harmony not political gains as this issue is not for politics. Apart from that, PPP and PML-N should be ashamed of themselves for using religion in politics just to gain an upper hand.

Bilawal Bhutto claims himself as the leader of liberal community in Pakistan. His PPP is the only left-wing political party in the country. He should revisit his party recent claims about the Ahmadi community in the country and accusations against government. This is not the time for political gains as the country is fighting severe challenge of Covid-19 pandemic. He should come out and show some leadership skills. The country needs unity not division over flimsy religious grounds. Same responsibility of religious political parties such as JUI-F, JI and TLP. They shouldn’t use religious card for political gains. The social media trial of the government must be stopped. Sane voices must prevail in the country.