The most democratic of them all - Mushfiq Ahmad


Senator (1k+ posts)
The most democratic of them all


Mushfiq Ahmad
Saturday, April 06, 2013
From Print Edition

A few articles have been published on these pages recently lambasting the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leadership for talking to the Jamaat-e-Islami for seat adjustment. The writers heaped criticism on the Jamaat for its worldview and the role it has played at different stages of Pakistans political history.

While I do not wish to have a debate about the grounds on which they have censured the Jamaat, I must say that many of those who write against Jamaat-e-Islami often lose objectivity. They fail to consider those things about the Jamaat which merit praise.

The most important in this respect is that, despite being a religious party, the Jamaat-e-Islami meets all the norms of democracy. It has a written constitution, which is unfailingly followed. There is a proper system of membership which is completely documented. Its elected shura meets regularly and has the authority to question and even dismiss the amir.

Those who are saying that the PTI has set a new trend by holding elections for party posts have perhaps not studied enough the internal political culture of our different political parties. Otherwise they would have been aware of the fact that the Jamaat-e-Islami has a 72-year history of elections for every level of leadership.

Besides, the Jamaat is the only party in the country that is not dominated by any family. It is a party of committed politicians and activists, not families. Since 1941 it has had four amirs. They all had very different family and social backgrounds. The children of Maulana Maudoodi, the founder, have never had any major role in Jamaat leadership.

Everyone has to begin as a worker and rise through the ranks. Nobody is appointed vice-chairman or president, positions that Imran Khan offered to Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Javed Hashmi as soon as they joined the party, completely ignoring those who had been working for him for years.

Moreover, it is now the only literature-based party in the country. (There may be some left-leaning parties with their literature but they are non-entities in the countrys politics). It publishes literature on history, religion, economics and on social issues regularly. It has mandatory courses (nisab) for workers of different ranks. There is a comprehensive training system for workers. Study circles are organised throughout the year for workers. It has set up institutes for research in politics, history, economy, sociology and religion.

While other religious parties of the country only have madressah graduates, the majority of Jamaats members are college and university graduates, highly successful in their respective professions. Its leaders are not full-time politicians. They work hard in their respective professions and are, therefore, able to work for the Jamaat only when they are relatively free.

The Jamaat has a spotless record as regards financial integrity. Nobody can raise a finger on Abdus Sattar Afghani, twice elected mayor of Karachi, or Naimatullah Khan, who changed the face of the city in his four years as nazim of Karachi from 2001 to 2005.

It is the only political party to have served the people even when out of power by establishing charities, including hospitals, orphanages and schools with its own resources. It operates a network of more than a dozen schools and four hospitals in Karachi alone. The accounts of its charities are regularly audited and presented before the public every year.

The commitment of the members of the JI is also unmatched. There have never been fights for either party posts or assembly tickets. People are deserting the PTI after not getting tickets. This never happens in the Jamaat because its constitution bars members from seeking positions. Those who are suspected of desiring party positions are never considered for any office.

If any party loses two consecutive elections in Pakistan, it will vanish from the scene. But Jamaat workers have remained steadfast in the political arena despite successive setbacks in electoral politics.

Most parties of the country get votes either on the basis of ethnicity, sect, money or feudal power. The MQM manages to get votes in Karachi by making people fearful of Pakhtun dominance; the ANP appeals only to Pashto speakers; the JUI attracts people only from the Deobandi sect; the PPP and the PML-N garner votes on the basis of money and feudal power.

The Jamaat does none of these things. It has people of all ethnicities, sects and classes who are together only because of their commitment. People who work for other parties do so for getting government jobs, lucrative contracts or assembly tickets. Those who join the Jamaat-e-Islami never get any financial reward, but they continue to toil only for the love of their fellow Muslims.

Isnt it astonishing then that writers like Babar Sattar, Aasim Zafar Khan and Harris Khalique ignore all these facts about the Jamaat and directly or indirectly support those parties which have ruined the country by doling out jobs and contracts?

The writer is a staff member.Email: [email protected]


Minister (2k+ posts)
Re: The most democratic of them all

What about its militant wing???????????? Please do not give me the same excuses that MQM supporters gives. Wasn't JI part of 2002 MMA govt. in NWFP in Musharraf era? Were the tickets on female seats and senate given on merit?

Why don't JI take a clear stand. Is Maulana Diesel a good or corrupt politician? ...........If PML(Nawaz) gets votes on the basis of money and feudals then why even think of making electoral alliance or seat adjustments?

Farooq Sattar and Mustafa Kamal also did good jobs as administrator in Karachi does this mean that MQM is a neat and clean political party?

As far as internal politics is concerned we all know Qazi Hussian was ruling the party even after Munawar became chief. And what about the tussle between Liaquat Baluch group and the rest. Media doesn't give coverage to JI so both the good and the bad aspects of JI are not highlighted. Not all the members of JI has a voting right.