Interior Minister Rehman Mailk. — Photo by AP/File

ISLAMABAD: Like his other colleagues who spoke in the National Assembly on Saturday, the usually tough-talking interior minister, Rehman Malik, took the role of a preacher to make a holy, though ambiguous, offer to Taliban militants: “Return to the fold of Islam” to end bloodshed.

Lawmakers from both sides of aisle, including some non-Muslims, invoked Islamic teachings for the sake of peace in the country as the house suspended its normal agenda to hold a rare debate to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) on a move from Khursheed Ahmed Shah, Religious Affairs Minister and chief whip of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).

But there were not many listeners for more than 20 lawmakers who spoke to a poorly attended house, which met a day after Eid Miladun Nabi (PBUH), which was a national holiday.

The sitting, chaired by PPP member Yasmeen Rehman, started with only 18 members present and the attendance never reached even 30 at any time, although the quorum for the 342-seat house requires the presence of 86 members.

After some of his usual bluster, such as “munafiqeen” (hypocrites) misusing a religious platform for violence, like throats of Muslims cut in Swat valley during the 2009 Taliban revolt there, and appealing to ulema to bring perceived deviators to the right path, the interior minister, addressing the Taliban, said: “I invite you to give up terrorism.”

Then asking them at whose behest they were fighting, he said: “I invite all Taliban to come into the fold of Islam and stop ‘qatl-o-gharat’ (murder and pillage).”

But the minister’s remarks remained ambiguous as he did not say if a halt of violence by the Taliban could lead to a dialogue, which the government has said in the past could be held only with those militants who laid down their weapons.

Mr Khursheed Shah, who wound up the debate, did not pick up the interior minister’s theme as he spoke of the need for ulema to use the pulpit to preach unity among Muslims rather than sectarianism, though he said “there is a mentality that promotes murders and we have to fight against this mentality”.

While most lawmakers avoided speaking of politics in general, before the house was adjourned until 5pm on Tuesday, the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam of Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the only religious party in the house, struck a discordant note after speeches by a couple of its members by staging a fifth walkout in as many days to protest against the imposition of governor’s rule in Balochistan where it was a partner in the dismissed PPP-led provincial cabinet.

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Comments are closed.

Comments (63)

January 28, 2013 10:59 am
Rajagopal, the Taliban are following as much Islam as you are.
January 28, 2013 10:48 am
When in minority , pretend to be secular , like in India , USA , Europe. When in majority , declare Islamic country , like in Pakistan , Bangladesh , Saudi etc etc.
Syed Ahmed
January 27, 2013 3:21 pm
“Return to the fold of Islam” Is this message for Taliban only? I hope the PPP's government also follows the principles of Islam in day to day dealing and governance.
Punit Gupta
January 28, 2013 10:45 am
I have respect for your words.
Punit Gupta
January 28, 2013 10:44 am
Sorry not able to give more than one thums- up.
January 27, 2013 2:53 pm
Do not write before you know the facts.
January 27, 2013 4:17 pm
January 27, 2013 4:01 pm
Obviously you can't fight them. They have an ideology according to which they want RULE OF GOD (ALLAH) in Pakistan. Whether Rehman Malik is initiating a political move to conglomerate the masses before the elections will be an early call
Hassan Bhatti
January 27, 2013 3:41 pm
Just 3 words.."Look whose talking"...You get it right!..;)
January 27, 2013 2:43 pm
And you are an expert on Islam with a name like Raja Gopal!!
January 27, 2013 5:33 pm
While I I am absolutely repelled by the Taliban's violence and intolerance, I am also deeply offended by your comment - you are passing a flippant value judgement on something you have no knowledge of and this attitude is repulsive. Its clear you don't know the history of Mohammad pbuh or Islam. When Muhammad pbuh was rejected by the people of Taif and the angel Gabriel came to tell him that the angels were ready to crush the city with the mountains, he responded with a prayer 'Spare them, for I hope that one day from among them will spring Muslims'. When he conquered Mecca, the inhabitants expected bloodshed but he spared everyone who had fought against him for years for he knew people would evolve and grow into Muslims. I wish the Taliban were as enlightened and tolerant as the Prophet they claim to be following but perhaps they lack knowledge of his teachings and practice.
Dr Khan
January 27, 2013 5:35 pm
Is there anyone in pakistan who takes Rehman malik seriously?
January 27, 2013 1:41 pm
Talibanis must be laughing out loud at Malik's lecture on Islam!
farukh jan
January 28, 2013 9:00 am
Islam means peace/submission/surrender to the rule of Allah, the creator of this universe and thus to implement this divine constitution in all walks of life as was demonstrated by the Prophet peace and blessing be upon him and his noble companions. Can anyone tell me which one, Taliban or Malik Rehman are following what is commanded by Allah and His Messenger? Fear Allah and stop being hypocritical about Islam by using its name and doing the work of satan. As a first step why not turn to the book of Allah and the authentic sunnah of the messenger and educate yourself at least to be saved from the evils of both Taliban and Malik Rehman and be the true Muslims who recognize the rights and obligation of Allah and his creations including any non Muslims who live among you while deciding all matters and carrying out your duties what Allah and His noble messenger have commanded us. Then you will see the true sweetness of Islam and it's brotherhood.
M A Mujeeb
January 27, 2013 1:38 pm
Brother it is a wrong notion in your mind that whatever Talibans are doing, conforms to the teachings of Islam. Currently Islam is the fastest growing religion particularly in the west.
January 27, 2013 12:26 pm
fazl-ur-rehman saab, its not up to you to decide who rules Balochistan. Maybe you would prefer if we put Malala in charge?
January 27, 2013 8:53 am
The minister's good speech remind me of his recitation of Surah Ikhlas. The gentleman couldn't even recite the written scripture. I hope YouTube is opened again for the masses to witness themselves.
January 28, 2013 1:28 pm
How much of True Islam was practised in the last 1400 years and how many mini-Islamic paradises were born? How about Islam in Islamic Republic of Pakistan working? Do let us know please.
Bryan Joseph
January 28, 2013 9:37 am
The sad part about Islam is that it got proseletysed in regions like Afghanistan and Pakistan...... No religion can change the people of this region.... They were like this even before Islam came in..... Rehman Malik... You may invoke Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) or Prophet Isa or any great men.....nothings gonna change in Pak... You must first know that Pakistanis have only the shape and structure of humans..... they are still evolving ..... Anarchy and religious madness is all across the streets of Pakistan. Every Pakistani city has witnessed more suicide attacks and lost many lives not in a state of war but due to RELIGION.... Pls. do not invoke religion....for the mad population of Pakistan it is another reason to kill.....It will remain like this for the next 25 years!
January 27, 2013 12:39 pm
Taliban are already following Islam..In fact, the original and unadultereated version.
January 27, 2013 11:08 am
Speaks volumes about the governance of Pakistan when a meeting does not even meet it's quorum requirements.
January 27, 2013 5:48 pm
well Hello!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Mr. Malik. Could you please recite surat IKHLAS (AHAD) Please????? (which is the heart and basis of ISLAM). Last time when you tried you could not recite let alone knowing the meaning of ISLAM....So please explain who is the munafiq????
January 28, 2013 9:16 am
taliban is not death & destruction.Taliban is true islam and terror for the enemies of Islam . you expect taliban not to react when you kill there people using drones and other means
January 28, 2013 4:10 pm
Yes, I agree. The true Islam is where people are not killed based on their religion. When our beloved prophet took over mecca there was "aam maafi", pardon for all, even for hind who had his uncle killed. True Islam is NOT Taliban's Islam. Taliban's Islam is not even Islam, since there is no "peace" in it.
January 28, 2013 5:37 pm
Never fear to negotiate but never negotiate out of fear. Pakistan should carry a big stick but speak softly at the same time.
January 28, 2013 7:47 pm
Melwyn Dcosta
January 28, 2013 8:26 pm
Preaching to a Frankenstein monster human values ? That too self created monster for other but which turned upon their masters. Ah the irony of it all
January 28, 2013 11:22 pm
Is Pakistan really serious about having all accomodative Islam in country? One thing that striked me from top "Khursheed Ahmed Shah, Religious Affairs Minister and chief whip of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party". Firstly you have religious affairs minister (why whould he/she be needed), secondly h is chief whip of PPP. Lets look at US. Chief whip is the party lead, why would religious affairs minister be chief whip. This clearly indicates to other people below that religion is being preached from top and you need to be religious to get anything done and if you are religious you can get away with anything.
January 29, 2013 12:42 am
angel Gabriel ??? are you sure ???
Mustafa Razavi
January 29, 2013 12:51 am
If wishes were horses.
January 29, 2013 1:20 am
islam islam u people even know anything else? you ll have any idea how you look in the rest of the civilized world as opposed to caves of course
January 29, 2013 1:39 am
@farukh jan The fact that the Taliban murder their fellow Muslims on a daily basis is common knowledge but what has poor Mr Malik done to be tarred with same brush? He maybe incompetent at his job but is that a sin? Who decides the "authentic sunnah of the messenger "? Don't you realize that this is the crux of the problem that each sect claims that ONLY they are following "authentic sunnah of the messenger " and everybody else is a sinner so deserves to die?
January 29, 2013 2:21 am
If Islam means peace/submission/surrender to the rule of Allah, -- then what is wrong with Maulana Malik in asking the Taliban to accept Islam and surrender.
Khursheed Ahmed Siddique
January 27, 2013 11:34 am
What is Islam fold? I think, this question is very important to explain and it is all guided in Quran and the life of our Prophet. Whether leading a life like the companions of our Prophet is something objectionable in modern times. What else our Prophet done in 23 year of life, Dawah and establishing the rule of Almighty Allah. Now, one has to see who is on the way of Our Beloved Prophet and who is on other side. No body has to adjudge it but yourselves.
Gerry D'Cunha
January 27, 2013 11:55 am
21st centuary islam being invoke by violence;hatred and killings.....
January 27, 2013 7:04 pm
'Laton ke BHOOT baton se nahin mante' Janab Malik Saheb. What country need is a complete elimination of Talibans. Men, women, children ALL. The only way to save Pakistan and Islam is to make them 'Jahannum Wasil'. Please do not waste your time on these frivolous and unattainable wishful thinking, Mr. Rehman Malik.
January 27, 2013 7:09 pm
shows how much knowledge you have earned.
January 27, 2013 7:34 pm
Malik needs to follow Islam and not interfere in Afghanistan affairs. You cannot have it both ways.
Khursheed Ahmed Siddique
January 28, 2013 12:10 pm
Mr. Rajagopal has a courage to put his rightful thought, which we Muslims can't. And by the way, what the correct perspective of Islam and deen e Mohammed.
January 28, 2013 12:49 pm
Mr. Malik we created the Taliban ideology of Islam for our mentors. it has become an ideology. It will take decades to wash it off. Charity begins at home. Change should come from with in.
January 27, 2013 10:52 pm
Just the person that we needed to hear this confirmation from. Mr. Rajagopal should next be invited to write an exegesis. Taliban have not to do with Islam
January 27, 2013 11:33 pm
With the consent of the silent majority...
vijay singh ivory coast
January 28, 2013 12:04 am
Khursheed Ahmed Siddique
January 28, 2013 2:12 pm
This is very true as far as the Pakistan is concerned and unfortunate to the people of Pakistan if they do not come in the fold of true Islam, a deen of Allah. We are supposed to be best guided people on the earth and our ignorance is inexcusable in all respect.
January 28, 2013 2:45 am
perhaps you need to understand Islam better to know what is "the original and unadultereated version" is Rajagopal.If true Islam is practiced and followed the world would be much better place for all
asif murtaza
January 28, 2013 3:30 am
you r right ...! i think rehman malik should have told TALIBAN to leave islam ....! pakistan will be peacefull....!
January 28, 2013 1:55 pm
We are justified in enforcing good morals, for they belong to all mankind; but we are not justified in enforcing good manners, for good manners always mean our own manners.
January 28, 2013 1:48 pm
And taliban replied same thing back to Rehman Malik.
January 28, 2013 5:49 am
You have to but think why any human being would forsake the comfort and pleasure of a peaceful living to violence. You pinch somebody and then prim-up and hush them, that is cruel hypocrisy. If u read the works of Saleem Shahzad, u will know that the Taliban soldier who initiated throat-cutting in Swat was the one whose bedroom was raided at night when he was sleeping with his wife and child. He begged the raiders to let alone his wife and child and not to man-handle them, but they only laughed at him and bundled away a purdah observing woman in her night clothes. The soldier was also imprisoned and teased about it during his imprisonment. He publically vowed during imprisonment to slit the throats of those who humiliated his wife...
saghir Ayub
January 28, 2013 8:06 am
“Return to the fold of Islam” to end bloodshed. Look who's taking and invoking Islam. The one who does not even know sura al-Ikhlas which is the first Surah taught to every muslim. What kind of Muslim is invoking Islam to resolve issues the one who does not know Islam. This is basically a curse from Allah on us that these people are the rulers of a muslim state. Remember Pakistan is the only country who got independence based on Islam. Now we have 170 Million Muslim but no Islam.
January 28, 2013 8:29 am
Taliban's interpretation of Islam seems to be matching yours. Surely IQ levels must be the same.
A Shah
January 28, 2013 11:38 am
The Taliban is already following the purest form of Islam and will soon swallow the whole of Pakistan with this cancer.
A Shah
January 28, 2013 11:41 am
Rajagopal - i'm sad to say i actually completely agree with you. Taliban is pure Islam. We may not like what we see or hear but it is the truth.
Kaiser Waziri
January 27, 2013 4:10 am
Malik and Taliban will make good business partners. The Taliban ensure every one gets a haircut and Malik has been in this business for many generations.
January 27, 2013 4:23 am
Rehman, you are the man. Go after talibans. You can do it.
January 27, 2013 4:36 am
“I invite all Taliban to come into the fold of Islam and stop ‘qatl-o-gharat’ (murder and pillage).” By making such a statement, either Rehman Malik does not know the art of diplomacy and negotiations or he is not sincere about wanting peace in Pakistan at this time when elections are about to happen.
January 27, 2013 4:48 am
Religion is methodology to inject spirit for getting the dreams comes true with an aim to unite the Ummah, placing country to a state where everyone gets daily needs and finally the UMMAT live with dignity and prosperity. Unfortunately,neither states nor NGOs are taking any such action but rather putting back the country to stone age.
January 27, 2013 4:52 am
Islam as already been invoked too many times in the Jihadi media. I feel sorry for Islam as everyone uses it for their own puposes.
January 27, 2013 5:08 am
How can a incompetent man like him be a federal minister, this man does not which hole is he talking from
January 27, 2013 5:10 am
those who walk out may not be paid for a month! though it will make no difference to many khaas pot belly
Husain Jan
January 27, 2013 6:14 am
Talk of Islam by none other than our Home Minister ? And Fazlur Rehman does not seem to be interested in any thing else except being against governor rule in Baluchistan.
January 27, 2013 6:33 am
Nobody is addressing the root cause of the problem. Everybody is trying to evade it. Pak politicians must stop their shortsighted policies of thinking in Islamic terms only. Pakistan can survive only as a moderate Islamic nation where rights of general public and minorities are safeguarded. All provinces need to be given their due rights. As things stands today Pakistan is ruled by Punjabis who dominate army and establishment. Nobody cares for Balochis, Sindhis, Hazaras, Shias. Ahmedias have been declared as a kafirs. This is the state of a country created in the name of Islam !!!! Corrupt politicians and army have only been befooling the Pakistani public for all these 65 years. Rehman Malik can not beat TTP on Islam because the later claims to be” true” muslims and wants to implement true sharia in Pakistan. TTP stands on high moral ground because politicians like Rehman Malik appear to be hypocrites- on one hand supporting USA led war on terror and on the other criticizing drone attacks just for public consumption It has been clearly evident in 1971 that Islam was unable to stop dismemberment of Pakistan. TTP, if it came to power Allah forbids, then Taliban rule in Pakistan will be repeated. Are Pakistanis ready for that ? There will be only death and destructions beyond imagination- nothing else.
January 27, 2013 7:14 am
Rehman Malik, took the role of a preacher to make a holy, though ambiguous, offer to Taliban militants: “Return to the fold of Islam” This must be the joke of the century. The blind is leading the blinds
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