Tracing the current Afghan scenario to history

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Taliban at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, after the withdrawal of US troops. (Photo: Reuters)
Taliban at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, after the withdrawal of US troops. (Photo: Reuters)

China and Pakistan have joined hands to uproot the semblance of Westminster type of democracy from the Asian continent. That is what has happened in Afghanistan. Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has re-emerged after fighting the invading forces for two decades. Now there are three Islamic republics in the region namely Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan. All of them express their allegiance to sharia law meaning the law that has been derived from two sources, the holy book (Qur’an) and the tradition (hadith). The Quran has variously been interpreted; hardly two interpretations (tafsir) agree. The Sunni Hanafi sect of the Muslims in India largely goes by the tafsir of Allama Mauwdoodi. This interpretation has many takers not only in India but in Pakistan, Afghanistan, West Asia and some Islamic states in the African continent.

Similarly, the Quran is also variously interpreted by Muslim scholars. Many among them say that Islam is a religion of peace while others assert that Islam is a religion of protest. There surfaced protests, opposition and differences among the Muslims right from the day the Prophet departed from this world and a fierce struggle for succession ensued among his followers carrying the feud to the House of the Prophet (Ahl-i bait). Those who sided with the House of the Prophet formed a new faction which came to be called the Shi’a.

The story of animus between the Sunni and the Shia is most depressing. Since the Shias are in a minority except in Iran, they have been subjected to persecution in more than one way in every epoch. The Shias have their interpretation of the Quran. They are reluctant to accept the hadith or tradition of Sunni jurisprudents howsoever scholarly these may be.

Now in Afghanistan, there are Shia pockets in the north-west and the north. Their contribution to Afghanistan’s freedom is in no way inferior to others. Now that Pakistan is the virtual power holder in Afghanistan, and Pakistan has a formidable anti-Shia armed organization like Lashkar-e-Jhangvi at home responsible for carnage after the carnage of Shias, how is the interim government formed in Kabul going to maintain factional harmony? This is a big question. Now that the Taliban regime has announced that the Emirate will go strictly by the sharia code, is the code acceptable to the Shia population of Afghanistan?

The other day Radio Pakistan announced that the dress code for females in Pakistan has been determined to be strictly following the stipulations with the Sharia law. Pakistani women have had a good deal of freedom in dress code and movement because it has a semblance of a liberalised community. Now that the sharia law is to be enforced piecemeal, the question will the liberalised and emancipated segments of Pakistani Muslims, males and females agree to put the clock back to the early days of Islam?

Then there is the issue of bank interest which is prohibited under sharia law. Though Pakistan has been producing pretexts one or the other to dilute the interest issue, the fact is that a huge segment of Pakistani society has not accepted the option of doing away with the bank interest without prejudice to the zakat, etc., which a Musulman is expected to pay.

Now that the Pakistan government has taken off the lid from the dress code obviously to keep the diehard fanatics of the Taliban line in good humour, other sharia laws will gradually have to be adopted. For instance, the President, the PM and the entire cabinet will also have to observe the dress code; maintain a two-fist beard, wear shalwar reaching not below the ankles and wear a skull cap as does Lashkar chief Maulana Hafiz Saeed.  How come that the Taliban have, overnight, discarded their baggy shalwars, tatters and roughshod slippers and adopted the American soldier’s battle dress, bulletproof vests, night vision binoculars, ultra-modern machine guns and rifles, missiles and Humvees all left behind by the fleeing Americans. Where has sharia evaporated in thin air?

Anyway, whatever, the Americans are gone and never will return to Afghanistan. We must all be pragmatic and recognise that sharia which the Taliban and their mentors in Islamabad want to impose is a reality. The rule of sharia has begun in Pakistan and by implication; it should spread out to Kashmir also, where the Kashmir valley Muslims are more than ready to adopt it. Kashmir Muslim thinkers will very soon depute a delegation to Islamabad and Kabul to request the ecclesiasts there to issue instructions of what and how the sharia law should be implemented in Kashmir to replace the remnants of infidelity still pervasive in one or the other manner. Foremost of all activities, the first onslaught has to come down heavily on the Sufi shrines and waqf properties as Sufism is a big aberration because it comes close to the teachings of the Rishis strictly disallowed by puritanical Islam.

In all probability, the Taliban mullahs will volunteer to travel to Kashmir via Pakistan along with their American weapons to propagate the rule of sharia in Kashmir. They will deliver sermons on true Islamic teachings and their audience will comprise the top personalities of Kashmir like the ex-chief ministers, ministers, lawmakers and bureaucrats. Indian democracy gives them freedom of expression and action as does the sharia at least in eradicating all traces of damned western secular democratic concepts, which Indians have been brandishing shamelessly for the last seven decades and more and which have now been consigned to dust by the sharia abiding Taliban.

Real freedom (azaadi) is beckoning Kashmiris and they have to take the call!

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