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Role Of Religion In Politics Essay Imran

Calls Imran an agent of the Jewish lobby.

JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman. PHOTO: AFP/ FILE


Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Saturday declared it ‘haram’ to vote in favour of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan and his candidates.

Imran Khan, according to Fazl, is being sponsored by the West and the Jewish lobby.

Fazlur Rehman used every word that would foment hatred against any person in the conservative masses of Pakistan. He called Imran an agent of “Americans, Jews, Ahmadis and a person of ill character”.

“A person who could not make his own children Muslim nor Pakistani, is dreaming of becoming prime minister of Pakistan and making the country an Islamic welfare state,” Maulana said.

“The Yahoodi (Jewish) lobby’s money is working (for Imran),” he said.

“I am asked, ‘what is the proof that he (Imran Khan) is an agent of the Jews,’ I say there is only one proof and it is my own responsible personality. I am so righteous that I would never talk ill against anyone. This is enough that Maulana Fazlur Rehman says that he is a Jewish agent.”

He went on to give a joint declaration of the clerics belonging to the JUI-F. “We the Ulema have agreed that giving vote to PTI is haram.

Anyone who casts his or her vote for Imran or to a person who is contesting election on the ticket on PTI is involved in haram and such a person is going against Sharia,” the chief of the JUI-F said.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 5th, 2013.

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From the moment you drive into the hospital premises it feels like entering into a very efficiently and professionally run organization, right from the security guards to nursing staff up to the consultant doctors quite detached from the bitter reality in the world outside. Shaukat Khanum(SK) the brainchild of Imran Khan unlike decrepit state funded hospitals-majority of those looking dysfunctional from a mile-doesn't seem to be letting you down at any stage. Even the profit driven, gleaming private clinics/hospitals that have sprung up over the years in Lahore might fool the naked eye on account of their misleading and often glossy exterior but most seldom deliver as far as value for money is concerned not to mention first class health care.

The pleasing landscape architecture with its sloping, manicured and often lush green lawns gives one the feeling of roaming in a UK National Health Service (NHS) hospital albeit a miniaturized version. "There are no specialized cancer hospitals like SK run by the NHS. In fact major hospitals have cancer treatment units", said Dr Irfan Ahmed a consultant urologist at SK when I asked him how he would compare SK with any specialized cancer treatment hospital in the UK where he has trained and worked extensively.

Dubbed by most as a maverick and unworkable idea at the inception level, SK like Imran Khan's cricketing career grew and flourished to become one of the surprising success stories in Pakistan's history; an underestimated and unnoticed aspiration blooming into a world class cancer hospital. Run along the lines of any smooth functioning corporate model SK proudly announces on its website the fact that cancer treatment to 74% of the patients is provided by the hospital without any major expense incurred by the patient which is no mean feat by any standards considering the kind of patient hostile atmosphere that subsists in most centers of medical care in Pakistan. According to unaudited figures the hospital's revenue for the financial year ending December 2010 stands at Rs 3010 million which includes donations, zakat, payments by patients and other sources. Operating expenses for the same year stand at Rs 2882 million which leaves a healthy leftover "profit" of Rs 119 million that can be reinvested in expensive equipment, medicines and infrastructure development etc.

"Patient Yasir Malik please contact desk number two please", chimed a polite voice in Urdu on the announcement system on a Monday morning in the OPD clinic which hummed with scores of patients and their attendants chatting in worried tones in all manner of languages and dialects spoken in the length and breadth of Pakistan. Hearing Punjabi, Seraiki, Pushto and some unrecognizable lingos makes one feel like being in the middle of a mini Pakistan of cancer sufferers with some hope of palliative cure otherwise almost non-existent elsewhere in the land. On the near empty first floor of the Services Building there are no queues of people falling over each other trying to donate their hard earned crust.

People calling Imran Khan a naive dreamer should take note that fund raising for SK is conducted on the lines of a world class charity by experienced dedicated and professional people from all over the world. Elaborate and well thought out schemes of fund raising are employed milking Imran Khan's name and reputation to the full amongst other things. One cannot but marvel at the highly effective fund raising techniques employed like well publicized celebrity formal dinners abroad as well as numerous celebrity visits all year round to the hospital, to name but a few.

That was the good part.

There will be very few people all over the country who would doubt Imran Khan's integrity and drive. Very few disagree with his rather vociferous criticism of the political elite who excel and thrive in a culture of greed and graft at times sounding like the only voice forcing them to mend their ways under the usually constant media spotlight. Imran's foray into politics which happened fifteen years ago and his subsequent journey on the bumpy and hitherto elusive road to power tells us little about his political vision except a few vague ideas of social justice and national pride. With some justification, most analysts dismiss it as a confused and convoluted ideology borrowed from our rich in brawn but weak in brain military's bravado often presented in seminars and research papers as the only workable narrative around in order to solve the country's ills.

Ivo Tennant, one of Khan's many biographers writes how on his first tour to England in 1971 Imran had attracted his elder cousin and mentor, Majid Khan's ire when he started bowling in the nets without measuring his run up. Any other teenaged cricketer would have been shunted out of the team unceremoniously for exposing a fundamental flaw in his approach even in that era, not to mention in the current climate where supremely talented young fast bowlers fall over each other trying to get the selectors' attention. But Khan's family connections and his older cousins and uncles, who never considered promoting and selecting their kinsmen from the Lahore neighbourhood of Zaman Park over more deserving players as even a mild form of nepotism, made his selection to the national side a foregone conclusion. The rest, as they say, is history.

Currently it looks like Khan has turned to the mightiest king maker in the land, the military establishment based on the anachronistic and misplaced argument that political immortals like Bhutto and Sharif also took the same path before falling out with their maker. His initial fiasco of an entry into politics with a half baked manifesto in 1996 was traced back to General Mujib-ur-Rahman, the erstwhile federal secretary information in the dark years of Zia's martial law by two respected journalists, Nusrat Javed and Shaheen Sehbai. It seems hardly any lessons have been learnt and by toying with the idea of utilizing the intelligence agencies' help he may be barking up the wrong tree here. Imran's dilemma is that he has carved his personal niche in politics but is yet to make a significant contribution as far as team effort is concerned. He may deem it easy to storm into the corridors of power by riding atop a tank but political wisdom and propriety demand that he should wriggle out of such fanciful dreams and explore the possibilities of making electoral alliances if anything is to come out of his almost delirious sounding speeches.

Imran Khan has nothing much to lose even if he fails yet again in his latest foray explaining his rather reckless and gratuitous Kargil operation like political maneuvers. He has the fame, credibility and the satisfaction of falling back on his charity work if politics don't work which may be looking highly likely with each passing day. His ex-wife, Jemima Goldsmith, who writes rather nostalgically and lovingly for a presumably scorned ex-wife, recently dubbed him as a cross between Guy Fawkes and Gandhi. The banter may reflect Khan's penchant for targeting the near impossible but the irony will not be lost on the people of Pakistan if that proves counterproductive and helps in sounding the death knell of democracy yet again. In many right thinking peoples' minds, he would do his countrymen and women a favour by emerging and eventually being remembered as a cross between Abdul Sattar Edhi and Mother Teresa.

Tariq Bashir can be contacted on [email protected] and on twitter @Tariq_Bashir