I am not referring to Rimsha Masih, Salman Taseer or the Ahmadi community. This time around there is a warning for Imran khan to weigh his words as there is a likelihood that the legendary sportsman cum politician might get entangled in a banal blasphemy controversy, concocted this time round by the JUI leadership.
Imran khan in one of his by-election rallies, criticised JUI’s previous tenure’s performance in KPK by stating that he will clean their mess. As a repartee, JUI ‘s head Molana Fazl ur Rehman refering to Imran khan uttered words like ” beating GoldSmith’s agenda and his jewish conspiracy in the by elections “. He also cleverly portrayed Imran khan’s severe rebuke aimed at his party, as a blasphemous statement.
During his political campaign Maulana Fazlur Rehman played around Imran khan’s words quite skilfully. He equated his party’s last term performance as a tenure when Islamic values and the shariat were upheld that the PTI leader had allegedly profaned by terming it as a mess.
You have to give it to Maulana sahib’s skilful rhetorics. With his comments the discord between him and Imran khan has gone off on a new tangent.
It shows how in Islamic Republic of Pakistan you can get into big trouble if you don’t mind your tongue while confronting any dogmatic person with religious clout and fan following.
Tv show hosted by Waseem Badami on Ary tv on the 20th August 2013 also highlighted the gravity of the issue, which was escalated by Maulana sahib’s response to Imran khan’s criticism at JUI’s previous performance in KPK. In the show PTI’s otherwise outspoken candidate Shahreyar Afridi looked coy and rather submissive for the most part of the show in the presence of JUI representative who portrayed his party as the sanctimonious one and in the meanwhile ridiculed Imran Khan’s statement as desecration to shariat and Islam.
In my view there seems to be a an unending romance of the politicised clerics with the blasphemy law in the country ever since General Zia came to power. It has affected many a lives, curbed freedom of speech and put the clerics in charge of the way we should approach life.
As ironic as it may sound but in our country the only species that has the right to exercise freedom of speech with full pelt are the politically motivated Islamic scholars. Considering the current situation they can even get away with murder where as a layman’s words gets propagandised negatively by the clerics.
A recent example was that of Amir Liaqat Hussain, considered a part of the cleric’s cult, who rebutted a random Journalist Ziauddin khan’s incisive article that criticized his antics and his extremely popular show during Ramadan. He skillfully cloaked himself in the garb of religion and accused Ziauddin in return for disrespecting the Holy month of Ramadan.
It is a pity that the tainted politics in our country gets sustenance by playing the religion card. Not that i am a PTI supporter or Imran khan fan but just as a compassionate human being i want to advice a foolhardy Imran Khan to mellow down and mince his words while talking in processions and during political campaigning.
Not many politicians get to support various minorities openly in Pakistan just to avoid falling prey to the politically motivated muslim scholars’ animosity, who can launch a negative campaign against that particular politician. In hindsight we have myriads of examples in our country whereby a politician had gotten into deep waters just because of showing an iota of solidarity with the estranged minorities.
The political process is deemed as a driving force and pivot behind forming a country’s national narrative . It should not be given a religious shade, if a country is to build consensus across the broad spectrum and develop a healthy public discourse.
I hope Imran khan realises that it is high time for him to matures as a seasoned politician and may God help Molana sahib as well.