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Meeting Pakistan's New Islamic Leadership in
Peshawar, Frontier Province
Last month New Trend's representative
caught up with Jamaate Islami
Pakistan's new leadership team which is an
important component of the Islamic
government which has emerged in Frontier Province
with the overwhelming
support of the people.
It was also an opportunity to meet (briefly)
JI's leader Qazi Hussain
Ahmad and members of his family in their Peshawar
home. His son, a very fine
young physician, was particularly hospitable and
our representative was able
to pray with the family in their tastefully
Qazi Hussain Ahmad, with his milk white
beard, his brother, his son,
his relatives and friends all dress in Pakistani
dress, Pathan style, and
their education, sophistication and wealth have
not made them arrogant or
brash. Qazi sahib is now the leader of the
opposition in the Pakistani
parliament after having won from his constituency
in the Peshawar area with
an electoral lead which just about erased the
candidacy of his nearest
Our representative met a number of newly
elected members of the National
Assembly of Pakistan. However, New Trend's focus
was on the new government in
Frontier Province. Finally, New Trend managed to
interview Sirajul Haq,
Senior Minister in the new government in spite of
his hectic schedule.
SIRAJUL HAQ is an attractive personality,
quite tall, somewhat lanky,
almost boney, wearing an
Pathan-style sleeveless jacket over
his shalwar kameez. He is soft spoken but clear
in his thoughts, very calm,
thoughtful, to the point and VERY INTELLIGENT
(indeed SHARP). He looks like a
mullah but speaks like a university professor, a
total surprise for people
who want to stereotype Islamic leaders.
Sirajul Haque's ideas for reform in
Frontier Province are exactly
those of an educated, enlightened and progressive
Pakistani. He wants:
1. Hospitals and quality medical services for the
2. Clean water, especially for the poor.
3. Better roads, improved sewage services.
4. Clean air (he recognizes that Peshawar is an
environmental disaster area).
5. Forest development.
6. Better and more schools with emphasis on the
education of girls.
7. Crackdown on official corruption, end to
8. Cheap and quick legal services for victims of
Decades of secularist, corrupt governments
in Frontier Province have
ruined the health, education and environmental
systems. The corruption has
seeped down to the lower levels with the
distribution of blue movie videos
and the display of third rate Punjabi and Indian
movies. [The new Islamic
government removed all sign boards showing
dancing women and murderous men
and only weeks later had a big bonfire of
"playboy" type videos.
Unfortunately, there is a strange contradiction
in the situation in Frontier
Province. What the eloquent Sirajul Haq wants to
do is exactly what the
Province needs: unfortunately the MASSES DID NOT
ELECT THE NEW GOVERNMENT FOR
THESE PURPOSES. The people elected Islamic
candidates to FACE UP TO
and to SUPPORT THE TALIBAN JIHAD MOVEMENT.
Intense loathing of the American
bombing of Afghanistan and the treacherous role
General Musharref played in
handing over 400 mujahideen and Islamic
volunteers to the Americans caused
these landslide election victories for the
It is very doubtful if those in the new
government have the solid
determination needed to foil American designs.
This is a peaceful movement
which carries out demonstrations and rallies to
protest against FBI raids and
the ever growing treachery of General Musharref.
The new government has
warned that it will not tolerate armed
intervention in Frontier by the U.S.
Observers say that the U.S. will (and is)
intervening and the peaceful
movement is not able to stop such moves.
Musharref's mercenary troops have
helped the Americans to blow up the homes of
people who gave refuge to
The outcome seems to be that if U.S.
intervention increases (as it is),
the people will be disappointed in the peaceful
movement and start moving
towards the Jihad movements. Thus the electoral
process will fail owing to
U.S. military moves and the armed Jihad, strong
in Punjab but still weak in
Frontier, could gain immense support.
The peaceful demonstrations are Pakistanis'
way of saying to America: We
don't want to fight you. Get out of our country
and let us live according to
our values. Unfortunately, with Musharref and the
fat (and corrupt) military
establishment is in America's pocket and peaceful
protests are rejected as
"unimportant" by the U.S. embassy.
2003-02-05 Wed 08:32ct