Monday, May 07, 2007

Maulana Fazl ur Rehman: Some Comments


I am disturbed to see certain kinds of remarks being made by some Indians about Maulana Fazl ur Rehman of the Jamaat ul Ulema Islami (JuI-F).

There is a lot of nonsense doing rounds about "lifafas" changing hands and other rubbish about diesel purchases. This is an unhealthy line of thinking for Indians although it may be par for the course in Pakistan.

Maulana Fazl ur Rehman is the son of the Mufti Mehmood who hails from the Dera Ismail Khan area. The late Maulana Mufti Mehmood was a Deobandi scholar who was close to the late Maulana Hussein Ahmad Madani, who as you all know firmly opposed of the partition of India and is the author of the seminal work, Islam aur Muttahida Qaumiyat (Islam and a Unified Nationhood) . This extremely influential document laid the foundation for an extraordinary body of work on pluralism and democray from Maulana Hussain Ahmad Madani's successors at Dar ul Uloom Deoband like Maulana As'ad Madani.

It is correct that Maulana Fazl ur Rehman played a major role in the creation of the Taliban and other Islamist radical group (esp. the Harkat ul Mujaheddin) along with other Pakistani Deobandi luminaries like Maulana Shamzai and Maulana Yousuf Ludhianvi. It is also true that Maulana Fazl ur Rehman today exercises considerable influence on the Muttahida Majlis e Amal and on a substantial fraction of the Deobandi seminaries in Pakistan and by consequence he has some influence among the "big five" (HuM, JeM, SSP, LeJ and HuJI). However his name does not elicit a positive response with the LeT and many Jamaat-ud-Dawah (the prosletysing wing of the LeT) and Ahl-e-Hadith leaders are on record openly condemning him.

It is a matter of considerable speculation what precisely goes through the mind of a Pakistani Deobandi jihadi these days. The few that have been captured speak only reluctantly and it is unclear what their real thinking is. All the regular channels of expression, their magazines, the pronouncements of their Maulanas and the speeches of friendly khatibs have been carefully smothered under Pakistani government's censorship. After all the changes that one has seen Gen. Musharraf's "about turn" on Afghanistan and Kashmir put the Jihadis through, one really has only a passing grasp of what their true feelings are on these matters.

Despite what everyone says, it is a matter of record that any meaningul progress in Op Rakshak has been achieved lately only after a careful appraisal of the position of the Pakistan Army and the Muttahida Jihad Council's true position on affairs. People will do well to remember that a deeper understanding of this has allowed the Unified Command to direct its energies in the most efficient and productive manner imaginable. It is foolish to expect the security forces to make progress in a difficult situation without a political policy that is more sensitive to the details of the matter at hand and is thus capable of setting achievable goals for them. Ofcourse these days "Deoband" has become a bad word among some people, but this is a passing fad, and history will very differently.

It is important to keep an eye on the facts of the matter before rushing to conclusions or developing unrealisitic ideas.


At 12:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi m,
surprising that Maulana Fazlur Rehman is pro india. I though he is rabidly anti-india. Can you clarify some of your posting in more detail. About how Unified command is viewing MJC,PA and how the Op rakshak has made commendable success.
also look at the AP(chinese posturing at AP) thread that you started recently. West attempts to get India-China at each other's throat is indeed condenmanble.
tell me with all this how one cannot harbour anti-west feelings?

At 7:31 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hello Anonymous,

I would not use loaded terms like pro-India and anti-India. These terms lose meaning in this context.

Maulana Fazl ur Rehman represents the convergence of two branches of the Deobandi tree in Pakistan, the first branch extends from Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi, to Maulana Muhammad Yusuf Binori, to Maulana Yusuf Ludhianvi and Maulana Nizamuddin Shamzai (Maulana Fazl ur Rehman's close associates) and the second extends from Maulana Hussain Ahmad Madani to his friend Maulana Mufti Mahmood (Maulana Fazl ur Rehman's father).

This convergence creates a unique opportunity for communication with people that we have over the intervening years become somewhat estranged from. It is important that this opportunity is not lost.

I regret I cannot clarify what exact changes have occured in the Op Rakshak arena.

It is not a question of pro west or anti-west at this point for me personally as I favour only expediency. Those who spread lies about GoI's interaction with Maulana Fazl ur Rehman are doing everyone a disservice.

Yes I know he likes talking to the media but one must recognise that also he has to talk otherwise the MDI/Ahl-e-Hadith crowd will use the absence of public comment against him.

This is at best a trick game and we all walk a very thin line. GoI's silence must not be misinterpreted by those with private intentions.


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