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Wednesday, February 25, 2009


The largest jihadi network in Punjab, the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), was infiltrated by army officers after their retirement which led to an immoral relationship between the LET and the military establishment. The premier Islamic party, the Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan (JI), was set up by its ideologue Syed Abul Ala Maududi in such a way that it could not deviate from the democratic path and it had to work within the confines of the laws of the land.

Unprecedented pressure was mounted on the JI leadership to be vocal in favor of al-Qaeda and the Taliban, and this could have a vital influence on the selection of a new party president next month. This is happening at a time that Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kiani is visiting Washington on an extraordinary trip that could lead either to Kiani being sidelined or his empowerment and a major political change in the country. The reason for the uncertain outcome is that the American establishment is confused over who is actually pulling the strings. In this context, the JI's elections are being closely monitored by all quarters as they could turn this powerful pro-establishment party in the other direction, eventually leading it down the path of radical Islam.


Jamaat-e-Islami at the crossroads The Jamaat-i-Islami Pakistan is the country's only party to hold genuine elections for its president, every four years. All other parties, whether religious or secular, are the personal fiefdoms of family politics. The chief of the Jamiat-i-Ulema-i-Islam (JUI) Fazlur Rahman is the son of the previous party chief, Mufti Mehmood. The JUI's another faction is led by Maulana Samiul Haq, who is the son of the previous chief of the faction, Maulana Abdul Haq. The Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz group is led by the Sharif family (brothers and now sons and sons-in-law). The Pakistan People's Party was led by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, then his wife Nusrat Bhutto, then his daughter Benazir Bhutto and it is now co-chaired by Benazir's son Bilawal and her widower Asif Zardari. The Awami National Party (ANP) has been led by Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan's family members - his son Wali Khan, then his wife Naseem Wali Khan and now his grandson, Asfandyar Wali Khan.


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