KARACHI: Leader of the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) Sirajul Haq made several promises, including an end to poverty and illiteracy to the people of Pakistan especially Sindh if his party comes to power.
Addressing a gathering at the two-day workers’ convention organised by the JI at Bagh-i-Jinnah here on Saturday evening, he said the convention was like calling a jirga in the province to discuss the issues of the people here and how to resolve them. He said Sindh was the Bab-ul-Islam (Door to Islam) for this region where the youth were no less than Mahmud of Ghaznavi and Ahmed Shah Abdali.
“Yesterday, prime minister of India Narendra Modi sent a message to Pakistan that he would block our rivers. Today, standing here in Karachi, near the mausoleum of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah I want to inform Modi that the line does not exist on his palm that says that he can do any such thing. Mr Modi, if you stop our water, we will stop your breathing,” said Mr Haq.
He said the JI welcomed the change in the Chief of Army Staff as it showed discipline. “The discipline with which Raheel Sharif stepped down and the discipline with which his successor has stepped up is what we welcome. The JI also follows the motto of Pakistan Army, which is ‘Iman, Taqwa, Jihad fi Sabilillah’. We, too, are followers of none other than God. It is God that we fear, and all our struggles are for Him alone,” he said.
“Today, through this convention, the JI is looking to bring about a revolution by making the hard-working people of Sindh realise their potential and power and demand for a change in the way they have been treated until now,” he said, adding that his party had always wished for a world that was free of poverty, illiteracy, corruption, injustice, racism, lies and intolerance. “We don’t differentiate between people because our religion, Islam, has taught us to treat everyone equally,” he said.
“But,” he said, “our enemy wants to break us up and make us fight among ourselves. If fight is what we are going to do, let’s put up a fight against illiteracy because that is what gives way to the other bad elements such as corruption,” he added.
The JI leader pointed out the corruption and other negative elements that we see around us today has been handed down to us by our former British rulers who entered this region in the garb of traders. “But the East India Company only wanted to rule to crush our identity, our culture. They were thieves, too. They stole the throne of Tipu Sultan and the Koh-i-Noor diamond from us. Our government should get these back. If the JI were in power, we would definitely demand the return of our treasures from England,” he said while recalling the British role in the Kashmir issue. “They left India without giving the Kashmiris their right,” he said.
“The British may have robbed us in several ways but the entire progress in the West is actually courtesy of what they learned from Muslims,” he added.
He said the feudal system and the class differences here were all thanks to the British. “The feudals and landlords are all agents left behind by the British to make sure this country never prospers. They have gotten together to become powerful themselves and rule over others through a kind of social terrorism. They make sure that the common man does not reach the assemblies or the senate. How else do the same faces still look down on us be it in a democracy or martial law? How else is it that the divide between the poor and the rich only gets bigger?”
He said that Pakistan earned 70 per cent of its revenue through agriculture. “How is it that the children of the peasants in this agriculture country of ours go to bed on empty stomachs while the children of the feudals and politicians who don’t even work enough are getting fatter by the day?”
Giving the example of India, Sirajul Haq said that there they had done away with feudalism and reaped its benefits, too, as their revenue from agriculture had multiplied. “It is four times of our income through agriculture because there peasants own the lands on which they work, and are happy,” he said.
Bringing up Pakistan’s industry, the JI leader pointed to the Pakistan Steel Mills. “It is the largest in Asia and the workers there have not been paid salaries for over nine months now. Here a man who owns a rickshaw can earn enough to feed his family of 11 members but we can’t even run a steel mill. Here a young boy will make a good living by running a small mobile phone shop, but our Pakistan Telecommunications Limited is accumulating losses,” he said, adding that it was all due to lack of goodwill in the government.
“Islam is what can save us. If you study Islamic history, you’ll see that Islam has a solution to all ills of society, because it teaches us discipline. Discipline, which is needed to follow the right path,” he said.
Published in Dawn, November 27th, 2016