The USG Open Source Center translates an interview given by the leader of Pakistan’s oldest and largest Muslim fundamentalist party, the Jama’at-i Islami [Islamic Society], Qazi Husain Ahmad. The Jama’at had been willing to be part of the government since 2002, and [the coalition to which it belongs] had held about a fifth of the seats in parliament; it also dominated two of Pakistan’s five provinces, the Northwest Frontier Province and Baluchistan. Despite the party’s puritanism and generally anti-American stances, it is not typically violent, though some individual members had developed ties to jihadi groups and even al-Qaeda. The party’s main demands during the present crisis have been that Gen. Musharraf reinstate the [secular] chief justice of the Supreme Court, end the state of emergency, become a civilian if he is to be president, and hold free and fair parliamentary elections. On the other hand, the Jama’at is pressing for full implementation of Islamic canon law as the law of the land, including the principle of hisbah, which would give all Muslims standing to interfere in the private affairs of other citizens on grounds of Islamic law. It seems especially shameful that the Jama’at kidnapped opposition leader Imran Khan, the former cricketer, on the campus of Punjab University and turned him over to Musharraf’s police, apparently because they dislike Imran’s secularism. In this interview, Qazi Husain shows a willingness to join the Pakistan People’s Party in a democratic coalition against Gen. Musharraf.
‘Pakistan: MMA Chief Demands Reinstatement of Judges; Ready To Work With Bhutto
Report on interview by Afzal Shahid and Kashif Salman: “Supreme Court Not Acceptable Sans Judges Who Did Not Take Oath: Qazi; We Can Launch Joint Movement if Bhutto Agrees to Restoration of Judiciary”
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Document Type: OSC Translated Text
Lahore — . . . Qazi Husain Ahmad, head of the MMA [Islamic Action Council coalition] and the Jamaat-e Islami [Islamic Society], expressed these views during an exclusive interview with the Khabrain on 11 November: “No solution other than reinstatement of the (deposed) chief justice, Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhary, and other judges is acceptable to us. There is virtual martial law in the country. What is emergency plus? If all people (political leaders) agree on the one-point agenda of restoration of democracy, Maulana Fazlur Rahman will also join them. We should not participate in elections under the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO). All political parties, including the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), and others, who participated in the previous election under the PCO, should accept their mistake. Taking part in elections under the PCO can be the stance of the Jamiyat-e Ulema-e Islam but not of the MMA (Muttahida Majlis-e Amal). The international media and governments are supporting Bhutto. We request Bhutto to agree to the agenda of restoration of the judiciary. If she agrees to this demand, we can launch joint movement. Awareness is imperative for the survival of the country and people should come out on the streets. The new ordinance is aimed at destroying the judiciary and snatching the fundamental rights of people.”
[Qazi Husain Ahmad] said: Media has a basic role. The United States and Europe want to see Bhutto as an alternative to President General Musharraf. Bhutto’s stand is more pro-American than Musharraf. Two important figures of the US think tanks have said that Americans have advised her to improve her image. She was asked to do so and not to worry about them. Bhutto, however, started issuing statements such as allowing access to the Americans to Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan. The media continues to support her on her return. There has been no substantial increase in support for Bhutto. If you have money, you can gather 100,000 drumbeaters around you. Some people turned up after the government allowed Bhutto (to come to Karachi).
Permission was not granted in Rawalpindi and people could not gather. This is the whole game of the media. Bhutto has been bracketed with Musharraf. People know about everyone’s stand. All judges who did not take oath under the PCO, including Iftikhar Chaudhary, should be restored. All of them are respected judges. The Supreme Court (SC) is not acceptable to us without them. The chief justice cannot be removed under the emergency. Judges and the Supreme Court were insulted by suspending the constitution. These judges should be immediately reinstated enabling them to give verdict on the uniform. A time will come when someone will be tried under Article 6 (related to sedition).
Musharraf has trampled on the constitution for the second time. Those who participated in any election under the PCO should accept their mistake. If the PPP is with the opposition, it should come out of assemblies. If its MPs do not do so, this means that they have accepted the PCO.
[Qazi Husain Ahmad] further said: Restoration of judiciary is the agenda. We request Bhutto to agree to this agenda and join us. If she does so, we will launch movement together for restoration of judiciary under Iftikhar Chaudhary. We will not accept anything in which the judiciary is not restored.
The real objective of the rulers was to remove the judges from their way and no decision will be accepted until they are restored. The same (old) bench should decide whether Musharraf was eligible to contest the presidential elections. We will not accept any solution until the restoration of the judiciary at any conference or consultations held under the auspices of the MMA or the All Parties Democratic Movement (APDM).
He said: The movement that has been launched will move forward and people will join it. The Jamaat-e Islami and the Awami National Party staged demonstrations and big gatherings at every place in the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) but the media did not highlight it. Five people were injured in firing in Batt Khela in Swabi (during demonstration) but the media made not mention.
The behavior of the government is leading to civil war. The only solution to the prevailing situation is to create awareness among the masses so that they come out on the streets to force them (rulers). The objective behind eliminating the Supreme Court was to put an end to accountability because it was summoning officers and the civilian and military bureaucracy is not accustomed to it. That is why they got rid of the judiciary. Their thinking will not change until people come out on the streets. Even the gun-wielding people (army) will not be able to stop them.
The basic objective behind an Islamic system is to create a link between the creation and the creator. It differentiates between the permissible and the forbidden and advocates a system of accountability. The second objective is protection of life, property, and honor. These are the basic objectives for which the whole society should be prepared through education and preaching. People who create disturbance after this should be punished. The system of justice cannot be established without economic justice. Economic justice is imperative but not possible in this system of exploitation.
Some people are enjoying everything freely while the majority is being deprived of basic necessities. The greatest benefit of Islamic system is that no one can amend it. People should demand its enforcement and strive for it. Martial law is un-Islamic and is a revolt against the system of God and His Prophet. The Koran declares one as devil, who enforces his own system instead of His system and wants his orders instead of the laws to be obeyed. ‘
(Description of Source: Islamabad Khabrain in Urdu — Sensationalist daily, generally opposes Pakistan People’s Party. Circulation of 30,000.)