Saudi's "Grants" Imams to Pakistan
Dr. KHURSHID ANWARThe current Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr. Nawaz Sharif, took refuge in Saudi Arabia from December 2000 to august 2007.In a hearing of his plea, the Supreme court of the country stated on 17th October 2007: “The refuge of the ex-Prime Minister in Saudi Arabia, after he was released from the prison on the grant of amnesty by the President, cannot be considered as a political exile.” This means that Nawaz Sharif spent seven years in Saudi Arabia on his own will. During this period he had a luxurious time under the protection of the Saudi government .In the meantime, he discussed the relation of Pakistan with Saudi Arabia a number of times with the Saudi regnants. Probably Saudi Arabia foresaw the coming of Sharif to power in the days to follow. And so did it happen.
Three days ago i.e. on the 21st of august, the ‘Dawn’ reported from Karachi that the Minister of religious and inter-religious harmony of Pakistan, Sardar Yusuf who was on a visit to Saudi Arabia was promised by Abdur Rehman (The chairman of Masjid ul Haram Mecca and Masjid-e-Naqvi Medina) that imams would be sent from both the mosques to Pakistan every year. Abdur Rehman stated that the step was initiated in order to strengthen ties between both the countries.
What exactly is the motive of the Nawaz Sharif government in bringing in Saudi Arabian imams to Pakistan? It is noteworthy that very recently 30,000 imams in Saudi Arabia have been ‘dethroned’ from their positions. The Saudi government has cited the involvement of these imams in terrorist activities as the reason for dismissing them from service. As of now all these imams have taken refuge under Abdur Rehman with all the permission of the Saudi government. This agreement was not between the governments; rather it was a mutual understanding between the ministers and Abdur Rehman.
If Wikileaks is to be believed, Saudi Arabian funds were used for the recruitment of Talibanis in the Punjab region of Pakistan in 2005. In November 2008, Bryan Hunt, the then head of the American state department stationed in Lahore was in talks with the local religious and political leaders and the civil society. He was informed that the Deobandis and Ahl-e-hadith(Wahabis) are busy in instating fundamentalist madarsas in Multan, Peshawar and Dera ghazi khan. These institutions are being used to inculcate jihadi tendencies among children. Thereafter these children are sent to FATA(Federally Administered Tribal Areas) for training and then they are recruited in the suicide squad.The funds sent for such purposes from Saudi Arabia go into the hands of Deobandi-Wahabi organizations:Jamat ud Dawah, Al-Khidmat Foundation and Jaesh-e-Mohammad. The Arab sponsored Deobandi organization (Ahl-e-Hadith) functions as the communication link between the common people and the religious leaders. According to Wikileaks “The family of every jihadi martyr is given 6000 American dollars “.
According to an article “The involvement of Salfism/ Wahabism in the support and supply of arms to rebel groups around the world”, published by the European Union in June 2013, Saudi Arabia gives away 10 billion US dollars in grant every year which is being used for terrorist activities. These grants are given to the Deobandi Wahanbi organizations Jamat-ud-Dawa, Al-Khidmat foundation and Jaesh-e-Mohammmad.
If we look back into time, we would quite clearly know the intention of Saudi Arabia and America at the same the deepest roots of terrorism will be exposed. Jia-ul-Haq rose to power in 1978. The first step he took was to strengthen the ties with Saudi Arabia. The inflow of Petro dollar was as important as the American dollar. They changed the name of Layalpur to Faisalabad after King Faisal who had passed away in 1975. Immediately after this step was taken, a huge amount was sent to Pakistan.
1979 saw two very important incidences of history- The Soviet forces entered Afghanistan and Khumaini came to power in Iran. This was dangerous for both America and Saudi Arabia. Iran was a nation of Shia dominated population and Khumaini was Shia. All the laws were implemented according to the Shia religious books. It was also noteworthy that the official language of Iran is Persian and that of Saudi Arabia is Arabic. Jia needed to prove the point that he is a staunch oppose of Iran. Immediately the Pakistani government did a lot of things to appease the Saudi and the American government. It came to the extent of replacing “Khoda Hafiz” with “Allah hafiz”. This was done because Khoda is a Persian word and Allah is an Arabic word. Jia instructed the media to use Allah hafiz instead of Khoda hafiz. For the first time in 1979 Allah hafiz was heard on the Pakistani radio. The term “Khoda hafiz”, which was acceptable to all the religions, was gradually being ceased from use not just in Pakistan but the whole of South Asia.
This was the first step of Pakistan in moving from Islam to the Sunni Islam and that to towards Wahabi (Ahl-e-Hadith) in particular. A little later the movement to sideline Ahmediya, Bohra, Kadiyani and a little later the Shiya community form Islam started, which continues till date.
Organisations like Tahrik-e-Taliban Pakistan and Sipah-e-Sabha have killed about 250 people of the Shia community in Quetta, Peshawar and Kyber Pakhtoonkhwa from 12th January 2013 to February 2013. “Dawn” claimed that the Saudi Arabia supported Ahl-e-Hadith was responsible for the massacre of Shia on 12th January, 2013. The 23 member Rabita committee formed by the Qaumi Muttahida Movement said the same thing in the statement of 23rd March. The present Prime Minister Raja Parvez Ashraf declared these organizations responsible but neither any orders of raiding these organizations were passed nor was the question of funding source of these organizations, raised by Qaumi Muttahida Movement, answered. The Pakistan army and the ISI preferred to keep mum on the issue. It is quite clear that the ISI and the Pakistan army has deep links to these organisations and have been mutually using each other.
One of the important links of the chain of incidences is Hafeez Sayeed who has been the one of the main source of bringing in Wahabi movement in Pakistan, terrorism and the involvement of Saudi Arabia in such activities and the “grants” from the time of Jia-ul-Haq till date. The chain of incidences started with Jia-ul-Haq sending Jia-ul-Haq to Saudi Arabia to pursue higher studies in 1983. He returned as the promoter of Wahabi ideology and terrorist Islam and in 1990 founded Jamat-ud-Dawa and Lashkar-e-Tayyaba.
According to Wikileaks, after Hafeez Sayeed was released in the Mumbai bomb blast case by the Supreme Court of Lahore on 17 October, 2006, he visited Saudi Arabia. Nawaz Sharif at that time was present in Saudi Arabia. Hafeez Sayeed on his visit met with Nawaz Shareef and Abdur Rehman. According to the same report of Wikileaks, the “grants” given by Saudi Arabia and UAE for terrorists activities is sources through Hafeez Sayeed. Not only the ISI plays a very important role in it but also the government is well aware of it.
The attitude of the Pakistani government and that of the organizations related to it is also noteworthy. Any action that the Pakistani government, military, police and ISI has taken against terrorism has been particularly directed against the Taliban. The Taliban is mainly operative in the Afghanistan and the Khyber and Pakhtoon areas of the south-west border region.
Taliban has not been responsible for the terror activities and bloodshed in Baluchistan, Punjab and Sind rather they were conducted by organizations like Jamat-ud-Dawa, Al Khidmat Foundation, Jaesh-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Taiba. The offices of all these organizations do not operate from underground. Infact, they operate right under the nose of the government, army, police and the ISI.
Madarsas which are being used as centre to brainwash people and the training camps where people are trained to operate arms and where suicide squads are prepared all are operating in full view. But the whole Pakistani system has turns a blind eye to it. They clash with the Taliban forces once in a blue moon in the name of fighting terrorism.
Everyone is aware of the fact that these organizations generally get hold of poor or school dropout kids to fill up their suicide squads. Their kind of Islam is quite “intriguing”. When a suicide bomber is ready for his task he is literally readied as a groom. His parents are asked to dress him up. He is taken around in the village as a celebrity and his parents are congratulated as their son has been selected by Allah for the “noble” purpose of serving Islam. The heavens are waiting for him with its doors open. And when their son is “martyred”, his parents are compensated with 6000 American dollars. This barbaric act is conducted in the full knowledge of the society, the police and the administration. Never have the organizations like Jamat-ud-Dawa, Al-Khidmat, Jaesh-e-Mohammad or Lashkae-e Taiba been questioned in regard to such incidences.
The silent approval of the government turns uglier when these blood thirsty organizations kill the minorities. The government either tries to shield these culprits or they shamelessly blame the minorities. The forceful conversion of Hindu girls to Islam in Umarkot had been in the headlines. Contrary to the news report that common people were involved in the act, the act was done by the Jaesh-e-Mohammad recruits in the full protection of the government.
I wrote somewhere about one of my Christian friend from Pakistan. Her brother ventured into a mosque as he was thirsty and wanted to drink water. He was killed. The perpetrators were the “brave hearts” of LeT. Not even a case was filed against them. This gives out the message that nobody in the country is forsaken from the ill whims of these Wahabis. The “grants” given by the Saudi Arabia to these organizations fulfill these objectives. When the government and the terrorists draw their “salary” from the same source, how could the government take a stance against these organizations! These organizations are remote controlled by Saudi Arabia. This was the country that gave refuge to Nawaz Sharif. Now it stands before Nawaz Sharif with its agenda. It’s payback time.
The alliance regarding the Imams coming in from Masjid-ul-haram Mecca and Masjid-e-Naqvi Madina should not be viewed isolation from these events and the intentions of Nawaz Sharif in regard to Saudi Arabia should also be looked upon. The Imams, whom the Saudi government itself has declared as the sponsors of terrorism, are being brought into Pakistan. Will they not rest till they turn Pakistan into the epicenter of Wahabi movements and terrorist activities! Is Nawaz Sharif ready to repay his debt in such a manner that the non Wahabi populace of Pakistan bears the brunt of the Wahabi terrorism and the whole of South Asia falls prey to this fanaticism!