Review of Religious Journalism: September 2008IPSweb
The religious journals in 4th bimonthly (July – August 2008) discuss Pakistan’s Domestic Affairs, Pak-US Relations, War on Terror, Religious Discourse and International Affairs as the major themes in their writings.
When we take a look at the debates on national-international events in religious journals of the 4th bimonthly (July – August 2008), following major themes emerge:
Under these broader themes, some topics are extensively and frequently discussed in religious journals across the board such as the topics related to Pakistan Domestic Politics (First Hundred days of the newly elected government, An Attempt to Amend Law regarding Capital Punishment, Concerns over the Security Situation at the Borders, Independence Day etc), Pak-US Relations (America’s Role in Pakistan’s Politics, Prime Minister’s Visit to America) and War on Terror (A Student’s Refusal to Receive Certificate from the American Ambassador).
Some topics were either not given detailed coverage or only a few journals touched upon them. These include: Pak-US Relations (Proliferation and Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan) and Religion, Politics and Differences (Sectarian Differences, People’s Party and Religious Institutions, Award for Salman Rushdi), War on Terror (First Anniversary of the Red Mosque Incident, Pakistani National, Dr. Afia Siddiqui’s Detention in Bagram, Future of NATO Forces in Afghanistan, Situation of Iraq), International Relations and Conferences (Situation of Middle East, Pak-India relations, Interfaith Dialogue Conference, SARC Summit conference, D-8 conference, 13th Anniversary of the Bosnian Massacre),
There are some other important topics that are usually of the interest of religious journalism, however, the religious journals of the bimonthly under scrutiny did not consider them worth mentioning such as: the Disqualification of Nawaz Sharif in the By-Elections, Nomination of Shahbaz Sharif as the Chief Minister of Punjab Province, Increase in the Number of Judges of the Supreme Court, Foreign Minister’s Visit to India, the Shrine Board Conflict in Indian Held Kashmir. It can be expected that these topics will be commented on in the next bimonthly.
For the purpose of avoiding repetition, the periodicity and the school of thought of the journals have been given in the footnotes. The study of this paper can be useful in understanding how religious journals retain their disposition, interests, religious identity and tendency while expressing themselves on the themes under discussion and what message they convey as a whole.
First Hundred Days of the Newly Elected Government
The journals of all schools of thought have voiced their views on the performance of the national government that came into power after the national elections of February 18, 2008. Looking at the journals, it appears that in their opinions, the performance of the government during its first hundred days is unsatisfactory for the public.
“Khatm-e-Nubuwwat” has expressed its view point on the present conditions in these words, which generally reflect the opinions expressed by all other religious journals:
“Undoubtedly it seems that the government coming into existence through the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz [PML (N)] and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) coalition is a continuation of the cruelty, violence and exploitation meted out during the last eight years of dictatorship. It appears to be likely that the present government has vowed to carry to completion the plans of the Parvez regime. Just as the clouds of the unrest, disorder, chaos, and anarchy were hovering over the heads of the Pakistani public during the Parvez government, the Pakistani public is going through similar circumstances during the democratic times. Just as life was made difficult for religious minded people while thieves, robbers, and thugs were ruling the roost; things are no different even today. We were bound by American policies before February 18; our rulers are still deprived of the blessings of being sovereign. Just as shocking price hike was inflicted on us then, it stands in front of us like a monster, added to it is the fact that petrol, diesel, kerosene oil, natural gas and electricity etc have become much more expensive. Acquisition of flour, edible oil and other basic necessities of life is no less than reaching the summit of a Himalayan peak for an ordinary Pakistani with an average income.”
To understand the journals’ perspectives on government’s performance on specific issues, a summary is presented under the following topics:
Proposed Amendment in the Law Pertaining to Capital Punishment
The government has sent the final draft of amendments in the law pertaining to capital punishment proposing to change it into life imprisonment with the recommendation of the federal cabinet, for the approval of the president of Pakistan on the occasion of Benazir Bhutto’s birthday. Although this draft could not become a part of law, because of the suomoto action taken by the Supreme Court, the journals seem to be very angry with the government because of it; they see it as an attempt to prepare ground for amending the law related to the blasphemy of the holy prophet [Peace Be Upon Him, (PBUH)], consider it to be opposed to the teachings of Quran and Sunnah and are, therefore, making a vociferous demand to withdraw it.
Journals of almost all schools of thought have written on this subject except the journals of the Shiite school of thought, who have not made any statement on this subject up till now. Below is the summary of points raised by the journals on the issue:
- Any change in the law of capital punishment falls under the jurisdiction of amending God’s commandments which no one can dare do except He Himself. Behind this filthy step seems to be the dirty conspiracy of changing the blasphemy law, which is an earnest demand and agenda of the so-called humanitarian NGOs of the West.
- This revision would give rise to many complications. The Prime Minister’s (PM) statement that it would do no good to people involved in serious crimes, is vague and confusing. For example, murder is a serious crime and if the person guilty of it is not given the death penalty, how can it be said that he has not benefited?
- “Muhaddis” maintains that this revision would cause a change in 26 different punishments as well as the Qisas (retribution) and Diyyat (blood money) law. Musharraf’s policy of pleasing the West appears to be behind this proposed revision because the parliament seems to be helpless on this issue. This is apparently the work of Kamal Shah who was appointed on different important posts during Musharraf regime and performed duties as the interior secretary. He is also a trusted man of Rahman A. Malik who is an Advisor for Interior to the Prime Minister in the present government.
According to the journal, the double standard of the western elements, who are trying their utmost to do away with this law, came to the fore at the time of Sadam Hussain’s hanging, when Iraq, which had done away with this law, temporarily restored it and wrote it off after Sadam Hussain was hanged, proving that this law is being used to serve western interests.
This revision would affect the entire structure of law in the country and Islamic laws would take the brunt of it.
The present government has neither the commitment nor time to fulfill its responsibilities of giving relief to the people or taking solid steps to pull the country out of the quagmire it finds itself in, but under the leadership of Pervaz Musharraf, it is focused on working against the Muslims even in this hour of extreme trouble. The Muslims of Pakistan should whole heartedly support the [suomoto action of] Supreme Court in this regard and religious organizations should get this point a priority in their agenda.
- Khatm-e-Nubuwwat has expressed anger that such decisions are taken in spite of the Prime Minister’s religious background. Along with it, the journal complains about the double standards of the People’s Party who on one hand is contacting international institutions for investigating into Ms. Bhutto’s murder, while on the other hand, they are making efforts to give relief to people who have committed blasphemy acts against the Holy Prophet (PBUH).
No one, including the President, has the right to change Islamic laws as according to article 227-A of the 1973 constitution of Pakistan no laws conflicting with Islamic principles can be put into force.
- Ahl-e-Hadith writes that such a change in the law will only widen the circle of family enmities. Lawlessness will be promoted in case the life for life and limb for limb law is amended. The journal further mourns that this country is so unfortunate as its rulers become authoritarian for changing any Islamic law.
- According to the Al-Sharia, this law is a guarantee for safety of life “in the society. Since it is not binding on Pakistan to act on any resolutions passed by the United Nations that are in conflict with Islam, It is impossible to do away with this law. Besides, the journal shows concern that in spite of expressing loyalty to the Holy Quran and Sunnah, changing Islamic laws on the incitements by the West has become a regular practice in Pakistan. The amendment in Hudood Ordinance is a clear example of it.
The journal writes that only the next of kin of the murdered person has the right to forgive; even the state does not have this right. So the PM, rather than sending the summary of the proposed amendment to the President, should devise a system of appeasing the next of kin of the victims as it is the requirement of justice as well as the instruction of Quran and Sunnah.
- Nida-e-Khilafat has given the following arguments while discussing the Islamic aspect of this issue:
– The commandment of Qisas (retribution) is binding according to the law of Sharia, as it has been decreed that Qisas should be taken by the principle of life for life and limb for limb.
– Murder of one man is akin to the murder of whole humanity and Qisas has been declared to be equal to life for society.
– Avenging or accepting Diyyat (blood money) instead of Qisas is the right of the next of kin of the victims
– Doing away with the death penalty, besides being a deviation from Sharia and enmity with humanity, encompassing the indications to amend the blasphemy law and is one of its hidden designs.
 It was proclaimed in the elections by coalition parties that national policies would be formulated according to the desires of the people.
 Weekly Khatm-e-Nubuwwat, July 23-31, 2008, Karachi (Deoband)
 It, however, needs to be noted that as to the Shiite position on capital punishment that it is not different to the Sunni school of thought.
 Qisas means retribution and Diyyat means blood money/ransom/compensation. The law is derived mainly from the following verse of Quran: “Retribution is prescribed for you in cases of killing: if a free man is guilty then the freeman; if a slave is guilty then slave; if a female is guilty, then female. But if something (compensation) of a murderer’s guilt is remitted by his brother, this should be adhered to fairness and payment be made in a goodly manner.” (Al-Quran: Al-Baqarah 2: 178-9).
 Rahman A Malik is generally believed to be quite close of Pervez Musharraf.
 Nearly 90 countries have already written off this law.
 Monthly Muhaddis, July 2008, Lahore (Ahl-e-Hadith)
 Weekly Khatm-e-Nubuwwat, July 23-31, 2008, Karachi (Deoband)
 On December 1, 2006, President Pervez Musharraf signed “Protection of Women (Criminal Laws Amendment) Act,” which amended Hudood Ordinance in the midst of fierce criticism from religious circles. For detailed discussion on the issues, please see Muhammad Maulana Taqi Usmani, “Amendments in Hudood Laws – The Protection of Women’s Rights Bill: An Appraisal,” Institute of Policy Studies, Islamabad, 2006.
 Monthly Al-Sharia, August 2008,Gujranwala (Non-Sectarian)
 “The Termination of Death Penalty: an Open Deviation from Sharia,” Weekly Nida-e-Khilafat, July 31- August 16, 2008,
In the short period of the first 5 months of the newly elected government, the prices of petroleum products have been increased four times along with a hefty increase in prices of the daily necessities. Two kinds of opinions are put forth by the religious journals in this rgard. Some see it in the backdrop of economic warfare being waged in the form of rising prices in the international market whereas some believe the present government is responsible for it. Important points raised by the journals are given in the paragraphs below.
- Zarb-e-Momin expresses concern on the recent increase of 10 rupees per liter in the price of petrol despite a reduction of 18 dollars per barrel in the international market. Citing a report the journal asks the reasons for selling petrol at Rs. 86 per liter when the government imports it at Rs. 32 per liter. According to the journal increase in the price of imported items is some times beyond the control of the government but a shocking increase in the prices of edible items and natural gas is a slap in its face especially when it has come to power by raising the slogan of food, clothes and house for everyone.
Anwar-e-Madina and Al-Hamid have claimed that the present rise in prices is a result of deviating from the basic ideology of Pakistan (Islam) while Nadwatul Ilm maintains the government cannot run away from its responsibility by blaming the previous government for the rising prices because its own performance during the last 5 months has been unsatisfactory. Therefore if the government wants to stop a bloody revolution and outright anarchy it should withdraw the recent increase in the price of petroleum products and attempt to stem the flow of problems by making use of all available resources.
- Commenting on the rising prices, Nawa-e-Islam says that price hike is destructive for the economy and claims that extravagance of the government is responsible for it.
- Al-Jamiah presents its analysis that it has become impossible for a common salaried person to make ends meet. In the journal’s view salaries and benefits of Ministers, Advisers and Members of Senate and the National Assembly should be reduced by 50 per cent. Limits should be put on the remunerations of officers appointed against heavy salaries and effective price control committees should be put in place in all the provinces. Besides, putting checks on hoarders can help change the existing circumstances. A storm will run through everything if such steps are not taken.
- Ahl-e-Hadith, holding the present government and its policies responsible for the current state of affairs, has also demanded that the situation be improved.
Reinstatement of the Deposed Judges and the Long March of Lawyers
Reinstatement of the deposed judges was said to be the top most priority of the present government but in reality this problem does not seem to be resolved even after the laps of 5 months. Lawyers’ movement for the restoration of judges is being continued but its tempo seems to have diminished. It is still not clear what turn it will take in future. This topic has been a key issue for religious journals during the last few months, however, they did not comment much on it during these two months. Those who have covered it in their editorials remind the government of the promises it has made and demand that the deposed judges be restored. Besides, there are some commentaries on the lawyers’ nation wide long march of the second week of June.
- In the view of the Zarb-e-Momin the judges, though released on the very first day the government came to power, have not been reinstated even after one hundred days and the government’s excuses about it are a big question mark. The limitations that do not allow the elected national government to honor its commitment and put obstacles in taking decisions according to the wishes of the people, are still extremely obscure. The journal demands that rather than working on unnecessary goals, the government should pay attention to the solution of important issues like the restoration of judges and make an effort to ensure the provision of basic needs of life to the public.
- Appreciating the long march by the lawyers and political parties, Nida-e-KhilafatAhl-e-Hadith have hailed it as a step in the right direction. Happiness is expressed on the peaceful long march that was fully mobile for 4 days and was successful in terms of attendance, being completely peaceful, a hope for the restoration of judges and a picture of Musharraf’s helplessness. It is no less than a miracle that no unpleasant incident occurred in it. and
However, about calling the sudden end to the long march improper Nida-e-Khilafat has said that the public should have been informed beforehand that there would be no Dharna(prolonged sit in as a protest) so that disappointment should not have spread among the lawyers and the public.
On the other hand Ahl-e-Hadith has insisted that the decision not to stage a Dharna was very wisely taken because it has badly flopped many of government’s plans, thus the situation of violence and aggression, the opportunity for anti Pakistan elements to take advantage of the situation, did not arise. 
Concerns over the Security Situation at the Borders
Not only Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan has become unsafe, the dangers are also hovering over the Balochistan because of the circumstances arising out of the ‘war on terror.’
- Commenting on this state of affairs Nida-e-Khilafat writes that because of its eternal enemy – India – Pakistan’s eastern border has almost always been volatile so much so that two wars resulted out of it. Although Pakistan faced political tensions on its northern border as long as Afghanistan was under the Soviet influence, Pakistan never had to deploy its forces along that border. After 9/11 and American occupation of Afghanistan, this border became unsafe and because of President Musharraf’s lack of foresight, even after deploying 80 thousand troops, the situation on the borders is unstable and critical. According to President Musharraf, one of the covert objectives of the change in Afghan policy was national security, which has become much more threatened than before.
American forces attack the territories of Pakistan; while Pervez Musharraf used to put these attacks in the account of Pakistan army, the newly elected democratic government washes hands of its responsibility by lodging small protests with the Americans. America now wants to dismember Balochistan from Pakistan and take control of the Gawader port in order to contain china’s advances. In the journal’s opinion, making us use force against Balochies and the tribal people would make their job easier.
The government should understand that the previous government came to its demise because of these policies. America has its own interests. We should not make the tribal people and the freedom-fighting Afghans our enemies for the sake of America. We should make it clear to the Americans that we cannot co-operate with them at the cost of our national integrity.
- Ruknul Islam, Zarb-e-Momin and Al-Haq have called the land and air incursions of the allied forces into the Pakistani territory an attack on the country’s sovereignty. They have also strongly criticized the government’s apologetic attitude on it. Ruknul Islam is of the view that the Interior Minister’s saying that the government of Pakistan will demand compensations for the people who have lost there lives as a result of the American drones unilaterally bombarding Pakistani territory, is against our national prestige. The journals questions whether our soldiers are American slaves that we should demand compensations for them. Zarb-e-Momin writes that it is stupid to dub almost 40 incursions as a result of some misunderstanding.
- Haq Char Yaar, commenting on the movement of the allied forces on the Pak-Afghan border, has called it a prelude to waging war [against Pakistan] and cautioned the government of Pakistan to be cautious. While stressing upon calling of the operation in the tribal areas and seeking solutions to the problems through negotiations, it also says that a meeting of senate and the national assembly should be called to take stock of the situation.
Criticizing the statement of the PM, Yousaf Raza Gilani, that there are foreigners in the tribal areas and chances of a tragedy like 9/11 occurring again are very much there, the journal has said that this statement is highly irresponsible. It has also expressed the apprehension that the mention of a new 9/11 is a preamble to America’s dirty designs against Pakistan. For countering it, the government will have to demonstrate wisdom and the strength of their belief in the Almighty Allah.
In the view of Al-Aitisam, agents of RAW, KHAD and CIA are killing Muslims in the guise of Muslims, in the operation being carried out in tribal areas.
General Political Situation of Pakistan
Pakistan has not been able to get the required political stability even after 60 years of its independence. While political and economic instability is on the rise, violence and insecurity have become a big issue along with myriads of other problems during the on going decade. Religious journals seem to be full of concerns in this scenario and regard the pro-west attitude and flawed policies of their governments to be a cause of the current instability. They present the following view points with regard to the diagnosis and solutions to the problems mentioned above.
- According to Al-Aitisam, one of the major reasons for the present instability is service of the western countries by the vested interest groups. For their own lust for power, they neglect the objectives of getting Pakistan. As a result in spite of possessing abundant natural reserves and capable human resources, it has become a home to problems of all kinds.
- In the same context, Tohid al Sunnah is of the view that Pakistani public love their country and their religion Islam but the politicians deceive their supporters through attractive slogans; a living example of it is the ”Pakistan First” slogan of Musharraf. The journal views that the clash between the army and the public of Pakistan is a highlight of America’s enmity to Islam and Pakistan that is why the latter is attacking the protectors of Pakistan and Islam through its allies in the region. After using their lands against each other, a conspiracy of making Pakistan and Afghanistan fight each other is being worked on. Pro-west leaders of both the countries – Musharraf and Karzai – are accusing each other of violating the international borders.
- Wafaq-ul-Madaris, criticizing President Musharraf’s policies and his way of governing in the same context, has called him a unique reference of hatred and humiliation in the history of Pakistan.
- Anwar-e-Madina laments the rising incidents of suicide and severing limbs and holds the unjust distribution of wealth responsible for this state of affairs. It asserts that an equitable interest-free Islamic economic system is a safety valve and calls for its practical implementation.
- In the opinion of Dawat Tanzeem-ul-Islam, the present time demands tolerance, unity, unanimity and sacrifice from every Pakistani. Central and provincial governments (regardless of the fact what the previous governments did) should seek the ways of solving the problems. Leaving the politics of revenge and uniting the whole nation, one should adopt a way of getting out of this whirlpool of problems.
- Arafat, indicating the particular thinking of breaking Pakistan into parts, writes under the title of “Pakistan Surrounded by Neomujeebs”, opportunist rulers and groups opposed to [the existence of] Pakistan are taking advantage of the present instable condition of the country. The journal includes Jamiat Ulma-e-Islam along with ANP, MQM, Akhtar Maingal (as a result of the unjustified murder of Akbar Bhugti) and many other Balochies and above all Parvez Musharraf to be the representative of the Mujeeb-like role. It appears to be worried about the circumstances prevailing over Balochistan. Moreover it considers the silence of Pakistanis to be meaningful and a lull before the storm. Only the awakening of the Pakistani nation can save it from the so called Mujeebs, it opines.
- Nida-e-Khilafat believes that the politics of Pakistan is still not mature and lacks a political awareness. In its view the past greatness of the Muslims seems to have disappeared when the rulers used to resist whole heartedly the cultural onslaughts of other civilizations whereas today we have bowed our heads in front of the western ways of life. According to the journal, the country was weakened by martial law. Thanks to the interest based loans, the Pakistani economy has been in doldrums right from day one. The industries of the country, especially the textile industry, are at the verge of destruction. This political economic deterioration has been going on from the start but its graph has gone up to great heights in the last 8 years, during which the Islamic civilization and customs are being deformed, by promoting the western culture. This situation is continued so far.
The journal, in its issue of July 31- August 16, sees the role of political parties with appreciation after the election of February 18, because of which an air of peace was felt in the atmosphere of the country, but the sudden appearance of Richard Boucher, the foreign secretary of the United States poisoned the atmosphere again and political twists of Asif Zardari exacerbated the environment. Only because of it, an effort was made to bring ISI, the institution that irks the enemies of Pakistan, under the control of the Interior Ministry. In short it appears that an environment of unity has disappeared in effect.
 Its details are given under the heading International affairs.
 Weekly Zarb-e-Momin, July 25-31, 2008, Karachi (Deoband)
 Monthly Anwar-e-Madina, August 2008, Lahore (Deoband) and Monthly Al-Hamid, August 2008, Lahore (Deoband)
 Monthly Nadwatul Ilm, August 2008, Karachi (Deoband)
 Weekly Nawa-e-Islam, July 18-24, 2008, Karachi (Shiite)
 Monthly Al-Jamiah, July 2008, Jhang (Brelvi)
 Weekly Ehl-e-Hadith, July 12-18, 2008, Lahore (Ahl-e-Hadith)
 Weekly Zarb-e-Momin, July 18-24, 2008, Karachi (Deoband)
 Weekly Ehl-e-Hadith, June 21-27, 2008, Lahore (Ahl-e-Hadith) and weekly Nida-e-Khilafat, June 19-25, 2008, Lahore (Non-Sectarian)
 Weekly Nida-e-Khilafat, July 24-30, 2008, Lahore (Non-Sectarian)
 Weekly Al-Aitisam, August 1-7, 2008, Lahore (Ahl-e-Hadith)
 Monthly At-Tauheed Was-Sunnah, July 2008, Panjpir, Swabi, (Deoband)
 Monthly Wafaq-ul-Madaris, June-July 2008, Multan (Deoband)
 Monthly Anwar-e-Madina, July 2008, Lahore (Deoband)
 Monthly Dawat Tanzeem-ul-Islam, July-August, 2008, Gujranwala (Brelvi)
 By Mujeebs, the journal refers to Shaikh Mujeeb ul Rahman who led the separation movement of East Pakistan in 1971, leading to the independence of Bangladesh
 Monthly Arafat, August 2008, Lahore (Brelvi)
 Weekly Nida-e-Khilafat, July 17-23 and August 31-16, 2008, Lahore (Non-Sectarian)
- In view of Zarb-e-Momin, because of taking others on board for advice but making decisions that serve its interests, PPP is gradually losing the confidence of its coalition partners and is becoming isolated because of its undemocratic attitude. The words uttered by Amin Faheem, a senior member of the PPP that “this is some new People’s Party” are significant in this backdrop.
- In the same vein, Khatm-e-Nubuwwat, commenting on Governor Punjab, Salman Taseer’s withdrawal of the decision of expelling Qadiani students who were guilty of taking the law in their own hands, says that it is an example of encouraging anti Islamic elements in preference to the religious forces. It further elaborates that to add insult to injury, he issued orders to take action against the Muslim students, who tried to rein them.
Many religious journals have expressed views with regard to the 61st anniversary of the independence of Pakistan celebrated on 14the of August. These views include comments on domestic and foreign affairs issues. Al-Aitisam, Ahl-e-Hadith, Majallah Al-Daawa, Ishraqhave contributed writings on the subject. Their summary is as follows. Nida-e-Khilafat and
- Majallah Al-Daawa writes that the word celebration to us seems meaningless. In our view, we should concentrate on our mission rather than indulging in celebrations because the secret of progress lies in devotion to the mission and struggle. Especially in the face of present situation of Pakistan, even the word independence seems meaningless. In this backdrop, the current visit of the PM to the United States and his role there bears witness that the leaders of independent nations do not adopt such apologetic attitude as the one adopted by the Premier of Pakistan.
The efforts of our rulers to please America and India can never succeed. In the journal’s view it is simply because of the attempt to please India and America that the former has constructed dozens of dams on our rivers but our rulers cannot even lodge a small protest. It seems that they have sold their rights to America and India in order to be able to rule. The journal writes that the history of past and present bears testimony that as much you bow in front of your enemy as will he become unmanageable. Therefore our rulers should review their strategies. The tribal Mujahidins are our brothers; we should fight our common enemy by making them join our ranks. This is the message of the present day of independence. The practical step that the public took for liberation, the change on the February 18 and the way they had rejected the slavery of Americans are the dreams that are yet to come true.
- The non-sectarian Ishraq writes that we have forgotten the objectives of the creation of Pakistan. Even the mere existence of Pakistan is something to go by in the present scenario. All the dreams of a welfare state have fallen apart and democratic politics has been linked to personal interests. The reason for the deteriorating circumstances of the country, which is endowed with all kinds of natural reserves and gifted human resources, is ignorance of religious and worldly matters.
The sole reason for not being able to establish our country an Islamic welfare state, it is that our religious imagination is restricted to sectarian opinions. The result of being unaware of a political consciousness is the failure in establishing a welfare state by shirking of our responsibilities towards providing worldly education and strengthening the democratic values whose basic characteristic is that the entire system of society is just, transparent and provided with the basic facilities of life. According to the journal the only way of making the dream of 1947 come true is education.
- In the view of Muntazir-e-Sehar, the nation is tired of the system of Taliban and America and is waiting for an Imam Khomeini and this is the message of Independence Day.
Lawlessness and Public Reaction
Incidents of lawlessness are on the rise in Karachi because of which public trust in law enforcing agencies is deteriorating along with an increase in fear, harassment and the tendency of acting on ones own behalf. One of its signs is that people burnt burglars alive in Karachi. Although it is an extremely important topic for religious journalism for purpose of providing guidance from Islamic perspective on the possible reasons and methods of overcoming this attitude, only Zarb-e-Momin took notice of it in the period under discussion and expressed concern on the incidents of theft and burglary in the presence of police. The journal, without going into the details of Islamic perspective on the issues, demands that the government should take steps to over come the public’s feeling of lack of stability and make adequate plans to control the incidents of theft and burglary otherwise things may go out of hand.
America’s Role in Pakistan’s Politics
The religious journals, in general, appear to believe that the American policy, role, desires and influences in the internal affairs of Pakistan are hypocritical, unfair and unfavorable. They openly express such opinions in their editorials and analytical columns. During the period under discussion, one journal each of the Deoband and Shiite has articulated quite similar views on this subject. Commenting on the recent visits of American high officials, they interpreted their statements akin to dictation for the government and people of Pakistan. The summary of the view points of the journals is given below:
- American interference in the internal affairs of Pakistan is no secret. The abrupt visits of the American Deputy Secretary, John D Negroponte and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen seem to indicate some new dangers. It appears from Michael Mullen’s visit that as the American presidential elections are coming nearer, pressure is mounting on the Pakistani Government to take action in the tribal areas and that they want to carry out a decisive operation in those areas before President Bush leaves the office. The reward of playing the role of a front line ally in the war against terror is being paid in such a way that Pakistan’s own security is at risk so much so that Talibanization is being talked about in a city like Karachi and like its predecessor, the present Government is no batter than a silent spectator.
- American dictation to Pakistani rulers and politicians is nothing new but the situation has so much deteriorated that Richard Boucher is telling the Pakistani public that Pakistan’s problem is neither the removal of president Musharraf nor the reinstatement of the judges but the real issues are: rising prices, terrorism and the power shortage. His real purpose is to draw the public attention away from the real issues and push them deeper in other issues. The co-chairman of PPP has issued similar statements which prove that he is openly speaking the mind of Bush and Musharraf. Pakistani people’s dream of getting rid of American slavery seems to take a long time to come true.
- The journals reiterate the conviction that policies followed during the last 8 years of the Musharraf regime are a real cause of Pakistan’s miserable condition and his removal from the office is a guarantee for the security of the country. It has also been restated that the new government will have to re-define its priorities by freeing itself from the American pressure in order to safeguard our national character because there is no guarantee of our security as long as Musharraf‘s policies of safeguarding American interests continue.
Prime Minister’s Visit to America
The newly elected prime minister of Pakistan visited America on the invitation of the US President George Bush for 4 days on 28th of July 2008. This visit was undertaken during the last days of the month, therefore there has not been written much about it in the monthly journals. It is expected that it will be discussed in the publications of the next month. Regardless of the school of thought, weekly journals are taking this visit as a link in the chain of the continuation of American policies in Pakistan. A summary of the opinions of the journals are related in the paragraphs below:
- Nida-e-Khilafat opines that the Prime Minister’s visit to America during the last days of the Bush administration will not be of much use. It is a 40 years old tradition of Pakistan that the newly elected Prime Minister makes first visit to China because china is a friendly neighboring country; it should have been the first country to be visited. As the economy of the US is in the control of Israel (Which is the sworn enemy of Pakistan), therefore it is not much useful to rely on America for our national security. Under the circumstances when America wants the occupation of Gawadar in order to contain China and backing the separatist movement going on in Balochistan for that matter, our visits and loyalties of any kind can not stop America from achieving its own interest.
- In the view of Ahl-e-Hadith, American bombardment of the tribal areas of Pakistan is a strong message in itself. We should feel it and the Prime Minister should talk to them from an equal level. We are cooperating with them in the war on terror but we will not be silent on the bombardment on innocent civilians, unprovoked attacks in the boarder areas and the atrocities committed against Dr. Afia Siddiqi and other innocent citizens.
The journal writes that we should not be happy for getting money in the name of “aid” because 1) it has been given on the condition of buying decayed American crops and we are being asked to make more sacrifices in return for it, 2) the money we are getting as a loan is a scheme of enmeshing our country in the vice of interest. In the view of the journal, the Prime Minister should have told them without mincing words that the real problem of Pakistan is dictatorship and the lack of justice while maintaining that Kashmir is a part of Pakistan and it needs no dictation in any of its internal or external affair including Kashmir.
- According to Nawa-e-Islam, this visit carries a lot of importance in the background of the political future of this government. Since it seems to be failing to control the situation in the tribal areas of Pakistan, the American President has got an opportunity to put more pressure on Pakistan with the excuse of fighting war on terror and to get his demands accepted. Therefore, while many other issues came under discussion during this visit, the most important was the emphasis on adopting an effective strategy against the rising tide of the activities of militants. However, in the journal’s view, given that the American agents, who were rejected by the people of Pakistan, are still hovering over the government, therefore the chances of success against extremism seem to be impossible.
- The Prime Minister is meeting President Bush in a whirlpool of problems, in the opinion of Zarb-e-Momin, he should not fall under any pressure in such circumstances and being a leader of an independent country, inform the American Administration of the real state of affairs which is that the internal instability and uncertainty is because of the bitter fruits of American pressure. The journal hopes, the Prime Minister will try to dispel the negative impressions rising about him and display courageous leadership qualities.
- Majallah Al-Daawa dubs the Prime Minister’s assurance of complete support to American President and putting the war on terror as his own war as a greater slavery than the one the previous government indulged in. Commenting on the insulting treatment with the Ministers in the delegation as an insult to the nation, the journal further writes, if the visit is seen as a successes even after this insult, it can only be called the Government’s simplicity and stupidity.
 Weekly Zarb-e-Momin, July 18-24, 2008, Karachi (Deoband)
 Qadiani (also known as Ahmadi) claim to be Muslims but they were declared non-Muslims in the Constitution of Pakistan for the reason that they do not believe in Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) being the seal of the prophets, after whom no other prophet would come. This belief is one of the fundamental prerequisites for being Muslim. All the Islamic schools of thought share the same belief about this group. For details, see Al-Quran (Al-Ahzab 33: 40)
 Weekly Khatm-e-Nubuwwat, May 16-22, 2008, Karachi (Deoband)
 Weekly Ahl-e-Hadith, August 09-15, 2008, Lahore (Ahl-e-Hadith), weekly Al-Aitisam, August 15-21, 2008, Lahore (Ahl-e-Hadith), and weekly Nida-e-Khilafat, August 14-20, 2008, Lahore (Non-Sectarian)
 Monthly Majallah Al-Daawa, August 2008, Lahore (Ahl-e-Hadith)
 “The Dream of August 14,” Monthly Ishraq, August 2008, Lahore (Non-Sectarian)
 Monthly Muntazir Sahar, August 2008, Karachi (Shiite)
 Weekly Zarb-e-Momin, June 27 – July 3, 2008, Karachi (Deoband)
 Weekly Zarb-e-Momin, July 4–10, 2008, Karachi (Deoband) and weekly Nawa-e-Islam, July 11-24, 2008, Karachi (Shiite)
 Weekly Nida-e-Khilafat, August 7–13, 2008, Karachi (Non-Sectarian)
 Weekly Ehl-e-Hadith, August 2-18, 2008, Lahore (Ahl-e-Hadith)
 Weekly Nawa-e-Islam, August 1-7, 2008, Karachi (Shiite )
 Weekly Zarb-e-Momin, August 1- 7, 2008, Karachi (Deoband)
 Monthly Majallah Al-Daawa, August 2008, Lahore (Ahl-e-Hadith)
Proliferation and Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan
Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan is considered a hero of the nuclear power Pakistan but at the international level, he was accused of proliferating nuclear technology. At that time, when this issue surfaced, he admitted that he had been involved in proliferation through an underground network and Government of Pakistan kept him under house arrest for a long time. His imprisonment was conditionally removed. When he was set free, he alleged that the army and General Musharraf were involved in the nuclear proliferation. Though this issue is of extraordinary importance for Pakistan, only Zarb-e-Momin” has written on it in its editorial.
- Expressing concerns on Dr. Khan’s statement, the weekly has called it more dangerous for institutions than personalities, however in the journal’s view, it is necessary to analyze the situation with the legal position of the transfer of the nuclear energy because if this transfer of energy is a crime, its real responsibility lies with America and its European allies, because atomic energy is the achievement of the German Scientists. America laid hands on this technology after World War II and from there its proliferation started and many countries, including Israel directly or indirectly got this technology.
If by any remote chance it is a breach of some international treaty, Pakistan has not signed any treaty in this regard for the breach of which Pakistan can be blamed; therefore we should not convict ourselves by giving voluntary explanations. The journal expresses the opinion that nuclear energy will become a source of producing electricity in future, therefore, some countries want their monopoly on the possible sources of atomic energy. This is the reason that they are trying to put pressure on smaller countries.
First Anniversary of the Red Mosque incident
A military operation was launched against the administration of the Red Mosque in July 2007 alleging that they offered refuge to terrorists, kept illegal arms and took other illegal steps. Maulana Abdul Rasheed Gazi, deputy head of the institution, along with many other male and female students was killed. After a year of that operation, an anniversary conference was held under the title of “Martyrs of the Red Mosque” in which paying the bravery of the martyrs due gratitude, it was strongly iterated that their mission would be carried on.
Soon after the congregation dispersed, a suicide attack was made on a Police van off the venue of the conference. Many police men were killed or injured in the blast. Although anger and grief have been expressed in religious circles generally, it is noteworthy that there has been no commentary in the religious journals of all schools covered during the period except those of the Deoband.
Zarb-e-Momin and Al Sharia have expressed views on this occasion. A summary of their thoughts is given below.
- The sacrifices of the martyrs of the Red Mosque will not go waste and their effects are felt in the whole country.
- This tragedy left deep effects on the politics and society of Pakistan, expressions of which came up in the election of 18 February when the party responsible for this tragedy lost the elections shamefully. Indeed the country falling into the prey of restlessness and uncertainty is because of this tragedy.
- It would be easier to get their demands accepted if the family of Abdul Rasheed Gazi joins them.
- It would be much better if other religious schools of thought, political parties and groups of lawyers join them. It is an encouraging decision for Umme Ahsaan to second the Scholars’ Action Committee.
- The journals, criticizing the government for not taking any practical action even after the Supreme Court order of reopening of Jamiah Fareediah and rebuilding of Jamiah Hafsa, demand that the Supreme Court orders be followed to the letter otherwise there would be no difference between the present and the previous regimes.
- The journals have demanded from the successful parties in the elections particularly PML (N) that they got their votes on the cause of Red Mosque, (their slogan especially in Rawalpindi was “who’s vote?, vote for the Red Mosque or Red Hawaili”), therefore PML (N) should play its part in resolving this issue.
- The journals strongly expressed their resolve that the demands of the inmates of the Red Mosque were completely justified and the solution of all the problems faced by Pakistan lies in the implementation of the Islamic system of justice.
Dr. Afia Siddiqui
Dr. Afia Siddiqui, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Brandeis University educated Pakistani national who mysteriously disappeared, along with her three children, was branded a member of Al Qaeda, kidnapped by the security agencies of Pakistan while visiting her parents’ home in Karachi, Pakistan, in March 2003. According to media reports, she was handed over to the American agencies and was kept in Afghanistan for five years. After intensive civil rights groups’ pressure and angry protests in Pakistan, the US authorities acknowledged arresting her and produced Dr. Siddiqui in a New York court on August 15, 2008 to charge her with possessing documents including recipes for explosives and chemical weapons and description of New York land marks plus firing two shots at a US army captain.
Not much has been said by the religious journals in this regard during the period under review, however Zarb-e-Momin has made it the subject of its editorial and Ahl-e-Hadith has partially referred to it.
- Zarb-e-Momin commenting on the report of the human rights commission (in which the atrocities she was subjected to while in custody were mentioned) writes that on the one hand it is unveiling the hidden character of the torchbearers of human rights and on the other it represents the insensitivity of the Pakistani Government which proves beyond any doubt that it has no role in liberating its prisoners. Introducing Dr. Afia as the sole female prisoner of Bugram Jail has also shown the real face of the so-called torchbearer of women rights.
The journal further states that even the most dangerous criminals are given a chance to defend them selves in court but Dr. Afia was given no such rights (rights given to prisoners under the Geneva Convention). The journal asks OIC and United Nations to intervene in this issue and especially asks UNO to bring to justice the people who in the name of war on terror are responsible for genocide in Afghanistan & Iraq as has been demonstrated in the case of Milosevic.
- Ahl-e-Hadith writes in the background of the PM’s visit to America that he should enquire from them if it is not terrorism to murder innocent people and if Dr. Afia Siddiqui, the woman who loves Islam and Pakistan is not innocent? Is it not American brutality to dishonor a daughter of Islam?
Refusal to Accept Award from American Ambassador
A ceremony held in the honor of students who had won scholarship from the Harvard University of America on the 17th of June 2008 under the auspices of a private school in which many important personalities, including the Chief of Army Staff, General Ishfaq Pervez Kiani’s wife, Zahida Kiani were present. The American ambassador to Pakistan, Anne W. Peterson was distributing awards on this occasion. A Pakistani student, Abdul Samad Khurram refused to accept the proffered scholarship as a protest on American bombardments on the tribal areas of Pakistan, saying “I cannot accept an award from the ambassador of a country that has attacked my country.” Journals of all the schools of thought hailed his action as a display of national honor and valor.
- Khatm-e-Nubuwwat says putting his future at risk by refusing to accept an award from the American ambassador; Samad has elevated the nation’s honor by refreshing the memory of the past glory of the Muslims. The journal further writes that this student does not belong to a religious school or to a religious militant organization; on the contrary he is a common Muslim and a patriotic Pakistani. Our brave army, energetic police, agencies, dynamic bureaucracy and enlightened members of provincial assemblies, national assembly, senate, respected President, Prime Minister and Federal Ministers should follow this deed of honor.
- Sahifa Ahl-e-Hadis is of the view that the media of the country should not have removed this incident from the scene so soon; it should be mentioned continuously because such incidents are a proud heritage in this era of materialism. Talking about such incidents, the journal discusses that they are the source of peace of heart and highlight the fact that there are people in the country who are free of slavish thinking. In the same background the journal appreciates one of the members of Pakistan Cricket team, Shahid Afridi’s refusal to participate in the ceremony of meeting President Bush during President Bush’s visit to South Asia saying that America is inflicting cruelties on Afghanistan.
- Nawa-e-Islam, in the editor’s note on this issue says that in this era when pleasing America is the way of life of the ruling elite, Samad Khuram’s daring step is a message to the westerns of what the people of Pakistan and other third world countries think about them. This student might not get the American scholarship (of which every student of the third world country dreams) but national pride is a greater reward than anything that America can offer. The journal wishes that rulers may understand this reality as well.
Differences among Schools of Thought
Along side other factors, the element of religious and sectarian differences are playing a distinctive role in the making of the sorry state of affairs, Pakistan finds itself in. while mostly occurring in form of Shiite and Sunni differences, these sometimes cause extremism and massacres. Pakistani areas of Parachanar, Hangu and Kuram agency etc have been surrounded by incidents of clashes on account of sectarian differences. A large number of Shiites also get affected in these areas. In this background, journals of particularly this school of thought have brought the situation to the fore in this bimonthly also. Besides, the topic that got a lot of attention with regard to sectarian difference is the statement of a Hadith about Hazrat Ali (R.A) by the famous religious scholar and the founder of Tanzeem-e-Islami, Dr. Israr Ahmad in a TV program. [The details are given under the sub title “Dr. Israr Ahmad’s Statement about Hazrat Ali (R.A)” on page 21]. The opinions of the journals are given below:
- Nawa-e-Islam, talking of the situation in Parachanar, expresses concern over it and considers it the result of government’s coldness and a conspiracy of the political administration. The failure in securing the release of 12 members of the Tori tribe is a clear proof that the government is not ready to practically accept the Shiite population even as equal to the Christian minority; because 9 Christians who were abducted from Peshawar, had their release secured within a few hours of the incident whereas the release of the Shiites has not been possible as yet. The journal, without penning down the names has accused some religious leaders of backing armed militants.
This situation is not a result of sectarianism in the journal’s view. Behind it there is an organized conspiracy of terrorism. The journal gives example of the murder of the many followers of Brelvi in this regard. While criticizing the government and some other elements, it also complains over the coldness of scholars of its own school of thought, political leadership and various Shiite organizations and believes that they too are responsible for this situation. The journal demands that they put pressure on the government to improve the situation. In its edition of 04-10 July, it criticizes the government’s agreement with the militants and writes that it has given them more courage and their brutality has increased.
The journal thinks that it is positive to look for a solution to the problems through dialogue but giving concessions to brutal killers is equal to putting the country’s security at stake. In its publication of 11-17 July the journal maintains that making hostage of 44 officials of Frontier Constabulary (FC) by the Shiites and their subsequent release is a deliberate conspiracy by the government’s lobby, which is the enemy of regional peace, and a tactic to provide an excuse to carry out operation in Parachanar. Condemning the role of the assistant political agent, it has also held the Federal government and the governor of NWFP responsible for it.
 Weekly Zarb-e-Momin, July 11-17, 2008, Karachi (Deoband)
 Weekly Zarb-e-Momin, July 11-18, 2008, Karachi (Deoband) and monthly Al Sharia, August 2008, Gujranwala (Non-Sectarian)
 Jamiat Ulma-e-Islam is a political party, lead by Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Wafaq-ul-Madaris is an examination board of Religious Educational Insitutions of Deoband school of thought.
 These organizations/institutions come from the Deoband background.
 Umme Ahsaan is the wife of Abdul Rasheed Gazi’s elder brother and the administrator of Red Mosque, Maulana Abdul Aziz, who is in prison these days.
 Jamia Hafsa was adjacent to Red Mosque and demolished while Jamia Fareedia, a religious educational institution affiliated with Red Mosque was closed down after the operation.
 Red Hawaili is the residence of Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, a former minister and an ex leader of Pakistan Muslim League (Q).
 Weekly Zarb-e-Momin, August 1-7, 2008, Karachi (Deoband)
 Weekly Ahl-e-Hadith, August 2-8, 2008, Lahore (Ahl-e-Hadith)
 Editorial, “Long Live Abdul Samad Khurram,” Weekly Khatm-e-Nubuwwat, July 7-15, 2008, Karachi (Deoband)
 March, 2006
 Fortnightly Sahifa Ahl-e-Hadis, July 20, 2008, Karachi (Ahl-e-Hadith)
 Weekly Nawa-e-Islam, July 27-03, 2008, Karachi (Shiite)
 A quotation or action said to originate from the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)
 One of the most prominent companions and relative of the Holy Prophet (PBUH)
In its edition of 1-7 August, the journal wonders if the Government can take actions against Taliban in the Khyber agency, North and South Waziristan on the dictation of external forces, then how would it explain giving them a free hand in Parachanar?
- Al-Arif, holding the current terrorism and militancy a continuation of Talibanization, also calls it the result of the free hand given by the government. It raises the suspicion by asking why the people who made such a noise on the matter of the Red Mosque are keeping quiet on the massacre in that area whereas the inmates of the Red Mosque intended to implement the Islam of the Taliban brand. Those who blocked their way by risking their own lives are commendable. The journal has asked the ruling elite and national institutions to play their required role and call an All Parties Conference.
- In the view of Al-Makhzan, the situation of the region demands a serious consideration because the conspiracies of hidden forces behind these activities are not out of question. The journal asks the government to fight the government of Afghanistan and the NATO forces if it is absolutely necessary and the patriotic Shiites are ready to stand by it but they should not be crushed down through Taliban or other forces of the kind.
Dr. Israr Ahmad’s Statement about Hazrat Ali (R.A)
Dr. Israr Ahmad’s twelve years old lecture on the teaching of Quran was re-telecast on a TV Channel namely QTV on 12 June 2008. In that lecture, he presented a Hadith as a reference for giving the reasons for the revelation of verse 43 of Surat-ul-Nisa (in which Muslims are commanded to keep themselves away from prayer when they are in the state of intoxication). While interpreting that Hadith, he mentioned that Hazrat Ali drank alcohol along with some other companions of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and later on led the prayer in the same state. While reciting the Holy Quran during the prayer, he made a mistake and on that occasion the verse mentioned above was revealed.
The prominent journals of Shiites school of thought (Al-Arif, Dqaeq-ul-Islam and Khair-ul-Amal), Shiite organizations (Majmae Ahl-e-Bait Pakistan, Jamia-tul-Muntazir Lahore, Imamia Organization Pakistan, Imamia Student Organization, Hussaini Azadar Alliance Punjab and Hussaini International Trust) lodged a strong protest against mentioning of Hazrat Ali in that context. On the other hand religious and scholarly circles of Shiite community carried out exhaustive discussions and declared the expulsion of Dr. Israr Ahmad from Islam. According to Neda-e-Khilafat, a journal affiliated with Dr Israr’s organization Tanzeem-e-Islami, he was abused and threatened of murder. This topic has been a recurrent issue among the journals of Shiite during the on going two months period.
Understanding the seriousness of the issue, the leader of Tanzeem-e-Islami and Dr. Israr’s son, Akif Saeed, held a press conference along with the Deputy Chairman of Jamaat-e-Islami, Liaqat Balouch in which defending Dr. Israr Ahmad, it was stressed that the issue should be resolved through patience and negotiations. The journals of other schools of thought have discussed neither for nor against any of the party. Besides, an accusation has been levied against Liaqat Baloch of taking sides, and a memorandum of protest was submitted to Qazi Hussain Ahmed, the Chairman of Jamaat-e-Islami in which the conduct of Deputy Chairman was severely criticized and Qazi Hussain Ahmad was asked to set the record straight.
Adopting a very hard-line attitude towards Dr. Israr Ahmed, a demand has been made that his organization be banned with immediate effect; he be stopped from calling himself a Muslim; QTV should be banned and its production team along with Dr. Israr Ahmed should be tried and duly punished under PPC Act (1860) section 295-A and Section 6(2)(F) of the Anti Terrorism Act 1997. The Government was accused of taking sides as it deliberately stopped the media from publicizing the protest of the Shiite community.
Pakistan People’s Party and Religious Educational Institutions
Addressing the International Socialist Congress held in Greece, the co-chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party, Asif Ali Zardari said that the religious institutions are spreading religious hatred and they will be closed down if they do not adopt the national curriculum. It is a harsh statement so far as religious institutions are concerned but no considerable reaction has so far come up from the religious journals. However, Tarjuman Al Hadis” and Zarb-e-Momin reacting very strongly on this statement call it an expression of the dirty inner self of Zardari. They expressed the following views in this regard:
- It has been a way with People’s Party to launch negative propaganda against and hurt religious schools but the saddest aspect of it is that this statement has been issued at a forum at which all participants were socialists, secularist and people who reject religion. It was the voice of their heart that religious schools should be closed down.
- The journals have shown regret that Mr. Zardari has said something absolutely baseless just to please his ‘ideological masters.’ This unfounded comment has been made without the knowledge of the educational system of the religious schools.
- Rather than changing the syllabus of religious schools, he should study Farkhanda Noor Muhammad. Religious scholars are well aware of their curricula and they have been efficient in making necessary changes according to the need of the hour.
- Zardari is also suggested that he should try to remove the anti Islamic sections from the syllabus of state and privately run schools and the guardians of religious institutions will whole-heartedly accept the same curriculum.
- The journals expressed that Mr. Zardari’s statement is a cause of anger for the religious circles and forces them to think that the present Government also intends to take steps like those of its predecessor.
Award for Salman Rushdi
Nawa-e-Islam has stated that the literary achievement for which Salman Rushdi has been knighted, does not meet the standards set in literature and various known writers and thinkers of the west have expressed the same opinion time and again. 
Future of NATO Forces
NATO Forces and American troops are facing stiff resistance from Taliban and according to the international media, the month of June proved to be very exacting for the allied forces. While accusing that Pakistan is supporting Taliban, Allied forces keep on bombarding Pakistani areas.
- Zarb-e-Momin pointing in this direction stated that Taliban have inherited resistance; they neither trust Pakistan nor depend on it. In the opinion of the journal, the reason for the instability is not the Pakistani support to Taliban, but the bigger countries of the region may help the Talabin to resist the American forces the same way as America had extended a helping hand to these combatants against USSR. It simply means that history repeats itself. History has proved that the outsiders have never been able to establish a foothold in this region. The journal advises that it is better for the allied forces to grant the people Afghanistan the right of self determination and withdraw from Afghanistan.
Pak India Relations
Different news items keep on coming in media about the rise and fall in Pak-India relations and bring to light the accusations the two states levy on one another from time to time. Commenting on the accusation of Pakistani involvement in the explosions in Indian city, Gujrat, in July 2008, Nawa-e-Islam wrote in its editorial note that India is a big country in which several separatist movements are going on. Any one of them could be involved in incidents like these and certainly such elements which do not want a rapprochement between the two countries could also be involved. It is also possible that it may be an attempt to divert attention from India’s internal political situation. Therefore, it is not right to accuse Pakistan for such an action does not benefit Pakistan at all.
Situation in Middle East
Iran has been at loggerheads with America, Israel and many other countries over its nuclear program for a long time. The journals of Shiite have commented on this issue during bimonthly period.
- Muntazir-e-Sahar in its editorial, presenting a review of the sanctions imposed on Iran by America since 1984, has called the American policy, a collection of self conflicting features and based on double standards. A clear evidence of it is the objections on the Iranian nuclear program and use of all kinds of methods to put a stop to it and backing Israel in every possible way.
- Nawa-e-Islam has called the possible American attack on Iran publicized in various newspapers of the world as a part of America’s psychological warfare. Its purpose is to get its demands accepted by terrorizing Iran.
Ever since the American invasion of Iraq, it has been a prominent subject of religious journalism which is further stimulated by different kinds of statements from American officials.
- Commenting on American Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice’s recent statement that she is “proud of the U.S. decision to wage the Iraq war,” Nawa-e-Islam expresses that it is like rubbing salt into the wounds of the Muslims. If America is really proud of liberating two hundred million people through this invasion, then what is the reason for its stay in Iraq now? The journal further elucidates that the US-Iraq security agreement is a conspiracy of capturing Iraqi natural resources in general and oil reserves in particular. It has appreciated the Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Almaliki’s demand for the evacuation of forces and has maintained that it is the result of a public reaction that the government has been forced to make this demand.
- Commenting on the statement of American presidential candidate Barack Obama, of his intention to bring the Iraq war to a close and “It’s time to end the war in Iraq responsibly by asking the Iraqis to take responsibility for their future and to invest in their own country,” Zarb-e-Momin regards it a gust of fresh breeze amidst the present atmosphere of brutality. It further says that it is the need of the hour that such examples are not restricted to Iraq alone. A decision to bring the Afghan war to a close should also be taken. The weekly has further advised America to stop its hypocrisy if it wants to restore its confidence.
Palestine issue is very prominent in the international scenario in general and the Middle East in particular. While this issue remains under discussion for various reasons, one important aspect is the conflict between two armed groups Hamas and Fatah. Many an individual and country keeps on trying to contain and resolve this conflict. An effort to pacify them through negotiations was made in Mecca and Egypt but it bore no fruit. For this complexity and importance of the issue as well as the factors and actors involved in it, Palestine issue has been a regular feature in religious journalism.
- According to Nawa-e-Islam, the conflict between Hamas and Fatah is aired by Jewish lobby which, by supporting Fatah, tries to damage the popularity of Hamas. The journal also comments on the agreement of cease fire for six months which was brokered between Palestine and Israel through the mediation of Egypt asking the combatants to stop armed incursions against each other and Israel to lift the siege of Gaza. The journal says that although Israel was forced to make this agreement on account of its internal situation but now it is not sincere in honoring it. Palestinians should unite under the present circumstances that would ease the way towards their destiny.
 Weekly Nawa-e-Islam, June 27-July 3; July 4-10; July 11-17 and August 1-7, 2008, Karachi (Shiite)
 Monthly Al-Arif, July 2008, Lahore (Shiite)
 Quarterly Al-Makhzan, July-September 2008, Multan (Shiite)
 Dr. Israr Ahmad is the founder of Tanzeem-e-Islami, Pakistan and carries out preaching and thinking activities from its platform. He is the torch-bearer of implementing Islam as a system of law through Khilafah.
 Q TV is a religious TV channel of ARY Digital Network
 They probably consider this Hadith credible. Since the Hadith belongs to the period before liquor was prohibited, so they may think there is no aspect of the sacrilege of Hazrat Ali or any other companion of the Holy Prophet (PBUH).
 Monthly Daqaiq Islam, July 2008, Sargodha (Shiite), monthly Al Arif, July 2008, Lahore (Shiite), monthly Khair-ul-Amal, July 2008, Lahore (Deoband), and weekly Khatm-e-Nubuwwat June 26-July 6, 2008, Karachi (Deoband)
 Monthly Tarjuman Al Hadis, August 2008, Faisalabad (Ahl-e-Hadith) and weekly Zarb-e-Momin, July 11-17, 2008, Karachi (Deoband)
 Farkhanda Noor Muhammad wrote an Islamic studies book for Cambridge International O Level program. Religious circles in Pakistan have raised their concerns over the concepts presented in the book.
 Weekly Nawa-e-Islam, July 4-10, 2008, Karachi (Shiite)
 Weekly Zarb-e-Momin, June 27-July 3, 2008, Karachi (Deoband)
 Weekly Nawa-e-Islam, August 1-7, 2008, Karachi (Shiite)
 Monthly Muntazir Sahar, July 2008, Karachi (Shiite)
 Weekly Nawa-e-Islam, June 27-July 3, 2008, Karachi (Shiite)
 Weekly Nawa-e-Islam, June 27-July 3, and July 11-17, 2008, Karachi (Shiite)
 Weekly Zarb-e-Momin, August 15-21, 2008, Karachi (Deoband)
 Weekly Nawa-e-Islam, July 4-10 and August 1-7, 2008, Karachi (Shiite)
The Lebanon-Syria relations which had been strained after the assassination of the Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Al-Harare got established again. It has been agreed in the meeting between Lebanese President Michael Solomon and Syrian President Bashar-al-Asad to establish full diplomatic relations with each other. The decision to open embassies in one another’s capitals also came during this landmark visit. Writing an editorial note in this regard, Nawa-e-Islam maintains that Israel had a hand in spoiling their mutual relations because good relations between the two are a big obstruction in achieving its objectives. The journal advises them to beware of Israel’s conspiracies in order to have good relations.
Interfaith Dialogue Conference
In continuation of a conference held in Mecca among Muslims to foster understanding in the Islamic communities, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia called together representatives of the major religions of the world in an Interfaith Dialogue Conference that was held in Madrid, Spain on July 16, 2008.
In a joint declaration at the end of the conference, it was recommended that a special meeting of the UN General Assembly should be called with the purpose of advancing interfaith dialogue. Journals of all schools except the Shiite’s have expressed views in this regard. Summaries of the opinions of the journals are given below:
- Zarb-e-Momin protested on Muslims being humiliated at this occasion. Commenting in this respect, it says, even though the head of the spiritual center of the Muslims presented himself at the meeting, no significant personage from any other faith turned up for the conference and deemed it worrying. According to the journal, the effort to spoil the atmosphere even at this critical occasion at the hands of some of the participants belonging to other religions is a question mark in itself.
- Ahl-e-Hadith thinks while the interfaith conference is important, the unity of the Ummah is more important.
- The article by Muhammad Sami in Nida-e-Khilafat considers the conference a welcoming step. However, it also suggests that an effort should be made to appease our own people who annoyed as they have a more privileged right to dialogue.
- Al-Jamiah appreciating this attempt, advises the Muslims that keeping the policies of UNO regarding Kashmir, Iraq, Palestine, Bosnia, Kosovo and other Islamic countries in view, they should urge the 56 countries of the OIC to re-invigorate this organization rather than pinning any hopes on United Nations. Moreover, it appeals the Islamic countries to take necessary steps for resolving these problems from platform of OIC.
SAARC Summit Conference
The 15th SAARC Summit was held in Colombo on 2-3 August, 2008 and ended with the issuance of a 41 point declaration along with a pledge to eradicate terrorism. Zarb-e-Momin has presented the analysis of the achievements of this organization.
- The journal thinks that the organization could not succeed achieving any of its goals for the reason that it is working in the atmosphere of conflict between the member countries. This element has been more troublesome than the deficient economic and financial policies. The fact of the matter is that right from its inception; the organization has failed in resolving the differences and conflicts between member countries. As a result, meetings of SAARC countries are restricted to issuing declarations alone. In comparison, because of the mutual co-operation and tolerance “ASEAN” is batter able to achieve it objectives.
In the same background the journal claims that the agreement on putting an end to terrorism is impossible to be honored and useless unless terrorism is properly defined.
The meeting of Eight Developing Nations was held in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia on 4-8 July, 2008. Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani represented Pakistan in this meeting. Pakistan, Egypt, Iran, Turkey, Indonesia, Malaysia and Bangladesh and Nigeria are the members of this organization of Asian & African Muslim countries. From the perspective of religious circles, this conference holds a lot of significance in the wake of strong feelings of deprivation. However, only Zarb-e-Momin commented on the conference.
- In its editorial with the title “D-8 countries: Unity Required,” the weekly has laid stress on the member countries to display an ideal unity like the G-8 countries while endeavoring to achieve the mutually agreed goals of the organization. For the larger interest of the region, they should keep their mutual differences aside and instead of issuing declarations only, a serious effort should be made to resolve the problems of the member countries at least. Interestingly, the journal suggests that the G-8 and D-8 countries should join together for resolving the problems faced by the world and for developing a strategy to meet the forthcoming challenges and resolving the crises the world is facing.
Rising Oil Prices and International Politics
- Zarb-e-Momin expressing concern on the rising prices of oil in the international market, discusses that because of the surging oil prices, the prices of edible items have soared up resulting in entrapping the already poor countries into extreme poverty.
The journal shows its concerns over the price hike despite the announcement from gulf countries including Saudi Arabia of increasing the oil production to meet the energy needs of the world, proclamation by Saudi Arabia of issuing one billion dollars for OPEC and the statement of the Petroleum Minister of Qatar “that there is no decrease in oil supply in the international market.” The journal doubts that some invisible powers are using dirty tactics to keep their monopoly on the world’s oil get stronger. This situation can result in war among big powers therefore UNO should play its part in controlling the prices of oil, and the developing countries should look for alternative sources of energy.
- Nawa-e-Islam maintains that the increase is artificial, a scheme to safeguard the American economy from destruction and a strategy to keep its supremacy over the world. Developing and smaller countries are suffering from the results of these strategies.
13th Anniversary of Genocide in Bosnia
Bosnia Herzegovina was a part of Yugoslavia before 1992 and declared independence on March 1, 1992. After the demise of Soviet Union, Slovenia and Croatia had declared their independence on June 25, 1991 but they did not have to face any problem towards the achievement of their independence. However, Bosnia had to meet stiff resistance because of this declaration. The Genocide of the Muslims started in 1995 and 40 thousand Muslims were annihilated within a few years. The 13th anniversary of this mass murder was held this year. Zarb-e-Momin articulates in its editorial that the UN should revisit the way it functions that if it is the care taker of the rights of all the countries, the Muslim countries also have the right to safeguard their liberties. The Muslims should learn the lesson out of Bosnian experience that they would have to be united if they want to defend their interests.
Al Arif, monthly, Lahore (Shiite)
Al Asr, monthly, (Deoband)
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Al Hamid, monthly, Karachi (Deoband)
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Ahl-e-Hadith, weekly, Karachi (Ehl-e-Hadith)
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Haq Nawa e Ehtisham, monthly, Karachi (Deoband)
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Zarb-e-Momin, weekly, Karachi (Deoband)
 Weekly Nawa-e-Islam, July 18-24, 2008, Karachi (Shiite)
 Weekly Zarb-e-Momin, July 25-31, 2008, Karachi (Deoband)
 Weekly Ahl-e-Hadith, July 26-August 01, 2008, Lahore (Ehl-e-Hadith)
 Weekly Nida-e-Khilafat, June 19-25, 2008, Lahore (Non-Sectarian)
 Monthly Al-Jamiah, August 2008, Jhang (Brelvi)
 Weekly Zarb-e-Momin, August 8-14, 2008, Karachi (Deoband)
 Weekly Zarb-e-Momin, July 11-17, 2008, Karachi (Deoband)
 Weekly Zarb-e-Momin, July 25-31, 2008, Karachi (Deoband)
 Editorial, “Artificial Rise in Oil Prices,” Weekly Nawa-e-Islam, July 4-10, 2008, Karachi (Shiite)
 Weekly Zarb-e-Momin, July 18-24, 2008, Karachi (Deoband)