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Something is fishy - Mufti Naeem

KARACHI, July 6(Dawn): Mufti Mohammed Naeem heads the Jamia Binoria, SITE Town. Dissociating himself from Afghan and Kashmiri fighters, he believes that jihad can only be ordered by the state. With regards to the current crisis in Islamabad, he believes that much remains hidden from public view.

Q. What are your views about the events in Islamabad?

A. I was amongst the delegation of religious scholars that met the two brothers in Lal Masjid early this year. We told them that establishing their own court and kidnapping and forcing repentance are against Islam and Shariah and expressed displeasure over the use of female students in enforcing their own agenda. But the brothers remained adamant and paid no heed. We must realise that the enforcement of the Shariah lies in the jurisdiction of the government. We can pressurise the government but we have no right to run a parallel system of governance which Shariah terms sedition since this would lead to anarchy.

Q. Do you think that Maulana Aziz's attempt to flee in a burqa has demoralised your fraternity?

A. It has defamed the institution of the madrassah. It was a shameful act for one who claimed to champion religion and accept martyrdom for his cause. Such an act is condemnable. Nevertheless, the media exploited the whole drama and made the burqa a laughing stock. Abdul Aziz is now a prisoner, no matter how misguided, and the media should respect that. Meanwhile, the authorities should stick to the wise policy of restraint since any offensive will lead to a huge loss of life. The government must not be egotistic like the two brothers.

Q. What damage has their egotism done?

A. Such acts will only damage and bring notoriety to Islam and Pakistan, and dilute all the efforts to dispel the West's impressions about extremist militancy in Pakistan's seminaries.

Q. Do you think the brothers acted on their own?

A. Two persons could not create such a drama, or brainwash brigades of students. All this must have happened at someone's behest, which needs to be investigated. Something is fishy. How could they acquire such quantities of weapons and explosives? We need a thorough judicial enquiry.

Q. What will the Wafaqul Madaris, which controls thousands of seminaries, do about the pupils who will now roam free?

A. We all agree that those thousands of brainwashed students should not be abandoned and have suggested that the Wafaq do something. We will have to pursue the government and the students' parents to remove all the effects of extremism from these students' minds, otherwise they could create greater problems in future.
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