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How The Mullah-Elite Nexus Backfires

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Senator Babar Awan used to be a popular religious scholar and Mubaligh back in the 1980s and ’90s. His views on Islam and the way he commanded religious authority earned him country-wide recognition and pride. People earnestly watched, followed and honoured him because of his strong adherence to Islam. All of a sudden, he realized that he must land somewhere in politics and make the best of his religious services in his new profession. Consequently, he lost his previous standing, dignity and respect. Currently he is considered one of the most opportunistic stooges among Pakistani politicians.

Mufti Muneeb ur Rahman potentially shares the same fate as Babar Awan. Known for his reconciliatory and cold temperament, Mufti Muneeb possess an immensely honoured place among Barelvi Muslims. Apart from being a Mufti, he chose to serve as Chairman Rooyat-e-Hilal Committee (moon sighting committee). While this assignment could easily have been accomplished by the ministry of science and technology or meteorological department at the very beginning, Mufti sahab brought this responsibility exclusively under the domain of religious scholars. Currently Mufti sahab remains subject to vilification, criticism and contempt – not only by his opponent mullahs but almost every other sane section of our society.

Allama Tahir-ul-Qadri is another globally revered figure. He maintains his place as one of the few undisputed religious scholars among the Muslim world. He is a widely read and quoted Mubaligh and commands an unprecedented majority of followers across the Muslim world. He also wished to get his religious popularity cashed by adopting politics as a career. Dr sahab developed extremely antagonistic relations with the Sharif Family and ultimately lost 14 of his devoted political workers in a brutal skirmish with Punjab police in Model Town, Lahore. He sought to topple Sharif’s governmnet and stayed in Islamabad for several days continuing his sit-in (dharna) with his thousands of followers. Desperately failing to get any breakthrough, he was too dejected to continue his struggle against the government and decided to go back home. His political career has caused unprecedented damaged Tahir-ul-Qadri’s religious clout and respect among the people. And it was only a few months back that he decided to quit politics once and for all.

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Maulana Tariq Jamil is a current addition to the list. No religious scholar in Pakistan’s history has matched his popularity and caliber so far. He enjoys an extremely glorified space among the people almost of all religious sects and creeds. But his political leanings over a couple of decades with the ruling elite have greatly caused his personality damage. He is viewed as a politically polarized and pro-elite mullah rather than a universal religious scholar of the people of all sects and beliefs.

Scholars of all kinds are subject to great respect and dignity in general. Once they make themselves puppets to the ruling elite, and become subjective and partisan in any way, they become Tariq Jamils!

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Naya Daur