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Ideology and Politics of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (1947-1973)
Khilafat Movement provided an opportunity to the Ulema of sub-continent to take part in active politics, however, Anjuman-i-Khuddam-i-Kaaba which was the first ever organized confrontation with the British raj. It eventually resulted in the formation of Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind (JUH). Although Majlis-i-Ahrar-i-Islam, emerged as an effective instrument of Deobandi activism yet it denounced the creation of an independent Muslim state. Majority of Ulema believed that with the demise of British regime in India, the Muslims being a strong minority, could not be impoverished, therefore, JUH worked closely with the Congress. Interestingly, the history of the Ulema has been one of their perpetual conflicts with intelligentsia and the creation of Pakistan by the moderate leadership was a great setback for the “nationalist” Ulema. However, they failed to create a political constituency and continued to tag along with the Muslim League. Yet, JUI time and again denounced socialism and advocated the Islamic system for Pakistan. After 1970 Elections, both NAP and JUI emerged as majority parties in NWFP and Baluchistan. During the study, it will be analyzed that how JUI, a conservative Islamic party could form an alliance with NAP that had won the elections on the basis of secular ideas.
Jamit Ulema-i-Islam, National Awami Party, Coalition, Ideologies, NWFP
The Khilafat Movement not only brought the Ulema of British India with diverse opinions to a common platform but also organized them on converging political matters. In order to direct the Muslims in their socio-political as well as other subjects from a spiritual stand point, Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind, participated in the national politics. However, many prominent leaders of Jamiat opposed the demand for a sovereign country for the Muslim of India, beseeching that all the Indians, irrespective of their cast or creed, were one nation.
The creation of Pakistan was a great setback for the “nationalist” Ulema, yet the division accrued advantage to Deobandis as JUI remained a major political entity. Although it had played a vital part in adjusting the Islamic content of the 1956 Constitution, however, it practically failed to create a political constituency for itself. Under the leadership of Mufti Mahmud the party emerged as a political force although its attention remained focused on the religious issues. During 1970 elections, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto of Pakistan People’s Party emerged as a majority leader in West Pakistan, however, its strength was cramped in two major provinces—the Punjab and Sindh. However, National Awami Party (NAP) and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI) had clear majorities in NWFP and Baluchistan. It is believed that in order to save Pakistan from any further calamity on the pattern of East Pakistan’s separation, the ultimate choice for the establishment was to include both NAP and JUI in the power sharing. Despite having different ideological backgrounds and fields of operation, both parties entered into a coalition government in North-West Frontier Province and Baluchistan.
Deobandi Activism and Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind (JUH)
The Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI) traced its origin to the Movement of Shah Waliullah Dihlawi (1703-1762), his son Shah Abdul Aziz (1746-1824), Syed Ahmad Barelawi (1786-1831), Haji Imdadullah (1817-1899), Maulvi Fazal-i-Haq Khairabadi (1797-1861) and the most prominent figures of Darul Ulum Deoband Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (1828-1905) and Mohammad Qasim Nanotawi (1832-1880). (Faruqi, 1962) The establishment of Darul Ulum in Deoband (Uttar Pradesh), within ten years after the unsuccessful uprising of 1857 against the British colonial rule, was undoubtedly a bold venture. The organizers of Darul Ulum Deoband vigorously took part in the ‘Rebellion’, controlled the masses outside Delhi and for a while were victorious in ousting the British suzerainty from the region of Muzaffarnagar (UP). Haji Imdadullah, who after the crumple of the revolt left for Makkah, was Imam or the Amir of the Jihadis and Maulana Mohammad Qasim Nanotawi and Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi acted as the commanders of the forces against the British (Faruqi, 1962). Darul Ulum, which soon began to attract the attention of students and lovers of Islamic learning from far and wide formalized itself into a political entity instantly after the Khilafat Movement. It was intended to stop the British authorities to eliminate Khilafat in Turkey after winning the World War-I.
After the Khilafat Movement Indian politics largely revolved around domestic developments, with the Muslims opposing Hindu and British policies. The Khilafat question brought the Ulema of all shades of opinion on a common platform and for the first time they felt the need of organizing themselves in order to give lead to the Muslims in religious and political matters (Miyan, n.d). Consequently, the Ulema who were never a political party as such, the protection of the holy places of Islam, endangered by foreign occupation, compelled them to unite and mobilize their ranks politically (Pirzada, 2000). This development resulted in the establishment of the Anjuman-i-Khuddam-i-Kaaba which was the first organized confrontation with the British, eventually resulted in the formation of Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind (JUH); Abul Kalam Azad and Mehmud ul Hassan were its prominent personalities (Pirzada, 2000). Its main objectives, as laid down in its constitution, were:
- to organize Muslim Ulema on a common platform;
- to protect the national and religious rights of the Muslims;
- to propagate the Islamic values through missionary activities;
- to provide guidance to the Muslims in socio, political or religious matters;
- to setup sociable ties with other entities; and
- to fight for the independence of India from foreign rule. (Miyan, n. d; Sandelvi, 1998)
Majlis-i-Ahrar-i-Islam, an instrument of Deobandi activism, appeared in 1929 and pursued the confrontationist approach in politics during 1930s. Maulana Zafar Ali Khan, Ataullah Shah Bukhari, Maulana Daud Ghaznavi, Chaudhri Afzal Haq, Khawja Abdul Rehman Ghazi, Maulana Mazhar Ali Azhar, Maulana Habib-ur-Rehman Ludhianvi and Sheikh Hassam-ud-Din comprised the central management of the Ahrar (Farooq, 2000). The JUH and its associate Majlis-i-Ahrar could have joined the Muslim League but by considering the Muslim League not a true representative of the Indian Muslims as a whole, joined the Indian National Congress in their struggle during the freedom movement. Majority of the Deobandi Ulema believed that once the British rule was collapsed and the Hindus would assume the authority, the Muslims would not be deprived of their due rights (Faruqi, 1962).
The JUH worked closely with the Congress, appearing in joint mass demonstrations, and during the repressive period of the early 1930s at least 20,000 Jamiat workers were imprisoned for political offences. Although in the elections under Government of India Act 1935, JUH along with Majilis-i-Ahrar-i-Islam, the Parja Party and the Khilafat Committee cooperated with Muslim League Parliamentary Board but the coalition was short lived. In late 1930s the JUH once again cemented its ties with the Congress in favour of composite nationalism (mutahida qaumiyat) (Pirzada, 2000).
Maulana Husain Ahmad Madni (d. 1957), a central figure of the Organization, characterized the Pakistan movement at the “death knell” for the Muslims of the areas where they were in minority (Faruqi, 1962). He opposed the demand for a separate state for the Muslim of India, and emphasised that all communities i.e., Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs or Christians etc. were one nation. He further argued that while the Muslims of India were a distinct religious entity among the religious communities inhabiting the subcontinent, they were part of the same nation as their Hindus compatriots (Zaman, 2004). He believed that the concept of united nationalism was no different from what the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon Him) set-out as a principle among the people of Madina. The Prophet depicted in the Quran as preaching to their people belonged, Madani argued, to the same nation as did their infidel audiences. In the light of this justification, the JUH adopted an ideology according to which regardless of religion, Indians were an indivisible part of one “Indian nation” with one motherland.
However, history of the sub-continent clearly revealed a continuous divergence of Ulema with intelligentsia. In the aftermath of the War of Independence, the Ulema, not surprisingly, adopted a stance of a-political quietism and refuted Sir Syed Ahmad Khan while he attempted to unite the Muslim community in 1857. About a hundred of leading Ulema of the Deoband declared that it would be against the Islamic values to join his Association. Describing the situation, Erwin I. J. Rosenthal says:
His rational approach to revelation, discernible in his commentary on the Quran, aroused the implacable hostility of the Orthodox, and, although his views were kept out of the Faculty of Theology, Deoband look with suspicion at Aligarh, both on the religious and political grounds. The latter was due to his endeavour to persuade his Muslim community to seek protection with the British by co-operation with the occupying power since he was convinced that otherwise the Muslims would be subjected to a Hindu majority. (Rosenthal, 1965)
In fact, Sir Syed Ahmad Khan had a very dynamic conception about the religion. He looked down upon fanaticism and exclusiveness as negation of the true spirit of religion and advocated a broad, tolerant and enlightened approach in all religious matters. The section of Muslims who opposed him feared that, he might instill in easily impressionable youth his own religious beliefs and make him put on English style (Hali, 1975). However, it is believed that common Muslims, by following a political will give by Sir Syed, proved wiser than the old guard religious elite. This clash between orthodox and moderate Muslim political leadership became clearly visible during the demand for Pakistan when a segment of Ulema explicitly denounced the concept of Pakistan and opposed the statesmanship of Quaid-i-Azam. It seems that Ulema of the JUH opposed Pakistan on the ground that if it was established it would be a secular state and not an Islamic state.
The political developments in 1940s had a disquieting effect on the Deobandi movement. With the help of the Pakistan Resolution, the Muslim League regained remarkable strength on re-organization (Shahab, 1990). Many prominent Ulema of Deoband including Hussain Ahmed Madni, Maulana Muhammad Miyan, Maulan Abdul Haq and Habib ur Rehman Ludhianvi issued a fatwa (a ruling by a jurist on the legality or otherwise of an action) forbidding Muslims from joining the Muslim League. However, a few Ulema under Shabbir Ahmed Usmani, severely criticized the concept of “comprehensive nationalism” and formed Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI) in 1945. Allama, with the help of his colleagues, finally succeeded in bringing over most of the prominent Ulema of the sub-continent to the All Indian Muslim League (Pirzada, 2000).
JUI in Post-Independence Era (1947-70)
The existence of Pakistan proved a great setback for the “nationalist” Ulema, however, the division could not affect Deobandis as JUI stayed a major political strength. Soon after the establishment of Pakistan, the JUI started its efforts to create an Islamic structure of governance, as they interpreted it, in the newly independent state. It began to build up pressure for an Islamic constitution. Member of the Constituent Assembly Maulana Usmani, twice tabled resolution in the Constituent Assembly to discuss the steps taken by the government to set up an Islamic order in Pakistan (Talbot, 2005). He also founded Jamiatul Mujahidin, Islamic Education Society, All Pakistan Arabic Society as well as Jamiat Ukhuwwat-i-Islamiyah Pakistan to achieve the desire ends. The primary task before the JUI, however, was the framing of an Islamic constitution. For this purpose, the Allama, along with Pir of Manki Shrif, a prominent Muslim Leaguer from the NWFP, began to form a Shariah (the Islamic derived from the Quran and the Sunnah) group in the Muslim League. He also continued to ask the government, through his speeches to honour their commitment to enforce an Islamic system in the state.
In early 1949, the Islamic elements vigorously started a nationwide movement for an Islamic constitution. Consequently; Liaquat Ali Khan will have to present Objective Resolution which finally adopted it on March 12, 1949. The Resolution clearly revealed that sovereignty belongs to Allah the Omnipotent and authority would be exercised within His limits. Another step, in this connection, was taken by the JUI with other religious political parties, representing almost every school of thought, assembled under the leadership Sayyid Sulaiman Nadvi in Karachi in January 1951. A consensus on 22 Principles of an Islamic State was reached, which envisaged an Islamic State. These points summarized time and again demands of the Ulema community i.e., the sovereignty belongs to Allah; imposition of state laws on the basis of Qurani and Sunnah; the foundation of Islamic state should be Islamic Ideology and not racial, linguistic or geographical etc; establishment of doing right and to eradicate the wrong; head of the state should be a male Muslim citizen and guarantee of basic Islamic rights etc(Waheed-uz-Zaman, 1993).
In the meantime, a countrywide agitation against the Ahmadis started where the religious forces focused on the Ahmadiyya issue, regarded Ahmadis as heretics since the time their founder, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835-1908), made Messianic claims emphasized his cliques’ difference from other Muslim. The Ahmadis beliefs, their organization and their missionary zeal aroused hostility of the Ulema, and their high literacy rate and heavy representation in government services caused frustration among the Muslim community. The Markazi Jamiat Ulemai-i-Islam (MJUI) played a key role in Tahafuz-i-Khatm-i-Nabuwwat Tehrik (TKNT). It stipulated that Qadianis must be affirmed as a non-Muslim minority, removed from all executive positions (Pirzada, 2000).
To materialize these demands, the party actively participated in various forums—All Pakistan Muslim Parties Conference (Karachi), All Pakistan Muslim Parties Convention (Lahore), All Religious Parties Convention and the Punjab Majlis-i-Amal. During this period, the MJUI consolidated its political pressure for the demand of an Islamic constitution. They also took part in the protest held in various cities, which led to a worsening of the law and order situation. The situation relegated constitution-making down the priority list of Khawaja Nazimuddin’s ministry. However, when the draft Bill of 1956 Constitution, came out, it was discovered that it had no significant Islamic provisions.(Afzal, 2000). This aroused an immediate reaction. The Islamic forces, including the NIP, JUP, JUI, JIP and some PML Members of the Constituent Assembly put pressure for the incorporation of Islamic provisions. They also mobilized public opinion outside the Constituent Assembly. As a result the draft bill restored the Islamic provision.
The MJUI, which had performed a decisive role in formulating the Islamic content of the 1956 Constitution, along with other parties, however, failed to create a political constituency for itself and continued to tag along with the Muslim League. This political dependence had first resulted in the formation of Nizam-i-Islam Party (NIP). It, with the guidance of Maulan Athar Ali, participated in political activities directly. Two years later, Markazi Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam West Pakistan was founded but a ban on the party politics was imposed during the early phase of Martial Law. The MJIWP, however, set up a non-political body, Nizamul Ulema Pakistan (NUP). Its objective was religious, mostly directed towards reorganizing the madrassas, but on occasion it did indulge in politics.
When Ayub Khan came to power, he promised to bring about basic reforms in the society. He also introduced a new term: a religion of progress, however, the Ulema did not agree with Ayub Khan’s concept of Islam. This approach by Ayub Khan placed his government and the Ulema and religious parties in diametrically opposite position. JUI which already split into two groups; Hazarvi and Thanvi, on an issue pertaining to economic and social organization of the state, opposed Ayub Khan’s secular and anti-Islamic policies.
After the adoption of Political Parties Act in July 1962, political parties, including JUI, were revived. Mufti Mahmud, as acting Amir, summoned the shura at Lahore and the Markazi Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam West Pakistan (MJUIWP) was re-established, with Maulana Muhammad Abdullah Darkhawasti (1889-1994) as the Ameer and Maulana Ghulam Ghaus Hazarvi as Nazim-i-ala. On August 4, 1962, the party was reorganized as Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam Pakistan.(Khan, 1986) In the meantime, Ayub Khan, in order to prolong his rule, presented the Constitution of 1962. Interestingly, there was no provision requiring Islamization of laws although in the ‘Principles of Law-making’, there was a clause stating that no legislation should be repugnant to Islamic values.
Mufti Mahmud played a major role in the debate on the Constitution First Amendment Bill, which changed the country’s nomenclature and included Islamic provisions in the Constitution. The party’s main focus remained on religious issues including annulment of the ‘un-Islamic’ Muslim Family Law implemented an Ordinance on 2nd March 1961(Government of Pakistan, 1968) these laws remained nucleus of the JUI’s opposition to the Ayub regime. During the entire period, the JUI kept criticizing Ayub’s politics, and finally entered into a major alliance of Democratic Action Committee against Ayub government. JUI, in its full capacity, worked actively until President Ayub resigned from his office, however, he desecrated his own constitution by transferring power to General Yahya Khan.
Yahya Khan, after assuming the authority, abrogated the constitution and imposed Martial Law but also promised to end the One Unit scheme (with effect from 1st July 1970) and holding of the general elections. The JUI welcomed Yahya Khan’s decisions to abolish One Unit, implement parity between West and East Pakistan, and to hold elections on adult franchise basis (Ansari, 1976). Although in May 1970, the APJUI entered into the Muttahidah Dini Mahadh, an alliance of nineteen religious parties, however, APJUI’s election campaign was organized through its own party leadership.
A number of parties saw Socialism as universal remedy while others tried to find for solution in Islamic teachings and some focused merely on regional subjects. JUI denounced socialism and advocated the Islamic system for Pakistan. In order to achieve the desire end, the JUI announced its manifesto on 20 January 1969(Islami Manshur Kul Pakistan Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam, 1969). However, Bhutto prescribed socialism as a way to cure the country’s economic maladies and announced its manifesto, which also included ‘Socialism is our economy’ as one of its four major points. On 24 February 1970, 113 renowned Ulema of all factions from across the country issued a fatwa declaring Socialism as apostasy and co-operation with Socialists as haram (unlawful) in the light of Islam (Jang, 1970, February 26).
Elections 1970 and the Formation of the NAP-JUI Coalition Ministry
In the elections of 1970, for the first time since independence in 1947, the voters
were called upon to elect their representatives by direct votes. PPP became the leading party in the West Pakistan, however, its success was not complete because it had nominated 119 candidates of whom 86 won the election but 33 lost to their opponents—72 per cent of those fielded, and that too in West Pakistan only. NAP together with their political ally, JUI, got clear majorities in Baluchistan and the North West Frontier Province; it secured four seats for the National Assembly of Pakistan. Mufti Mahmud, who defeated Z.A. Bhutto in his home constituency, gained a major victory for his party (Government of Pakistan, 1972). Whereas in the Provincial Assemblies JUI got four sears in NWFP, two in the Punjab and three in Baluchistan. Consequently, Hazarvi’s group emerged as influential in the politics after winning commanding position in the NWFP and Baluchistan.
In 42 seats of NWFP Assembly NAP and JUI could secure 19 by needing 3 seats for the structuring of government. Yet, both entities had different ideological backgrounds; NAP as a champion of secularism with advocate of autonomy on the other hand JUI remained an Orthodox Islamic party believing on religious ideology. Although a feasible option for NAP with its 13 seats was to join hands with Abdul Qaiyum Khan's 10 seats, however, his affiliation with establishment and his ideology against Pashtoon nationalism prohibited NAP to form an alliance with Muslim League. Thus both JUI and NAP concluded the accord and entered a coalition government that recalled the old days of Khilafat Movement when Ghaffar Khan and JUH leadership helped each other. Similarly, on the issue of One Unit both parties had the same view point. However, when Ghaus Bakhsh Bizenjo, an independent candidate, was appointed as Governor of Baluchistan disturbances started in the entire province ( Mazari, 1999).
In this situation, both NAP and JUI asked for the nomination of the governors in Baluchistan and NWFP and Baluchistan must be finalized after consulting them, however, Bhutto did pay heed in this regard (Shah, 1996). It created an environment of mistrust between PPP and the NAP leadership. Consequently, NAP refused to permit its members to join Bhutto's cabinet. In the National Assembly, the PPP could secure only one out of eighteen seats in the NWFP, however, the NAP had twelve seats in the Provincial Assembly of the province. It was in this background that Bhutto, after coming into power, offered two cabinet posts in the central government to the members of the NAP. This move was intended to provide a cordial atmosphere for centre province co-operation (Ahmed, 1992). In addition to this, both NAP and JUI clearly stated that as PPP could not secure a single seat in Baluchistan Assembly, it has no right to take part in provincial administration.
Moreover, both parties ensured their collaboration only if Martial Law was lifted (Mazdaki, 1972). The Baluchistan NAP refused to participate in any activity by the local government (Kumar, 1978). This situation clearly reviled that PPP had no other option but to conclude an agreement with NAP and JUI in NWFP and Baluchistan. Negotiations of the PPP-NAP-JUI were held during March 4-6, 1972 at Rawalpindi. The delegates led by Bhutto, Wali Khan and Mufti Mahmud and Maulana Hazarvi respectively eccentrically concluded a 12 points Tripartite Agreement that majorly included, the restoration of Parliamentary system of government, convening of the secession of National Assembly, appointment of the governor in NWFP and Baluchistan, and lifting of Martial Law from the country.
On the same day, the President during his address to the nation announced the lifting of Martial Law. Wali Khan, at this occasion, showed his unambiguous confidence in the tripartite accord, particularly about removing of the Martial Law by August 14, 1972 (Dawn, 1972, March 7). Baluchistan Governor Ghaus Bakhsh Bizenjo also marked it a big event in the political history of Pakistan (Pakistan Times, 1972, March 9). However, Mufti Mahmud showed his reservations about the date when Martial Law was to be lifted; he said that Martial Law would be lifted on 21 April, when the provincial assemblies were to be convened. Finally with the adoption of Interim Constitution, Bhutto lifted the Martial Law in April 1972 which paved the way for JUI-ANP-PPP indulgent (Jang, 1972, April 15).
As a result Bhutto, Mufti Mahmud and Wali Khan concluded the Second Tripartite accord on April 27, 1972. The accord describes that the Centre agreed to seek consultation of JUI and NAP in formulating permanent constitution, reformulation of existing laws with teachings of Islam and to establish a board for religious and moral guidance etc. After signing the accord, in NAP-JUI meeting Mufti Mahmud was nominated as the Chief Minister of NWFP and Ata Ullah Mengal as the Chief Minister of Baluchistan. Thus, the first ever elected governments in NWFP and Baluchistan successfully assumed authority in post-independence era.
To conclude, we may conclude that Ulema, the most important segment of the Indian society, has decided to take part in active politics after the Khilafat Movement, however, Anjuman-i-Khuddam-i-Kaaba which was the first organized confrontation with the British colonial authorities, eventually resulted in the formation of Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind (JUH). In point of fact, the JUH and its associate Majlis-i-Ahrar pursued a confrontationist approach in the politics but strongly believed in the ideology of mutahida qaumiyat (composite nationalism). Although, they could have joined the Muslim League but by considering the Muslim League not a true representative of the Indian Muslims as a whole, joined the Indian National Congress in their struggle during the freedom movement. In addition to this, most of the Ulema have had a continuous confrontation with intelligentsia, however, some prominent Ulema under the leadership of Maulana Shabbir Ahmed Usmani, finally succeeded in bringing most of the prominent Ulema of the sub-continent to the All Indian Muslim League. After independence in 1947, Jamiat, like other political forces, extended its role. It started a vigorous movement for an Islamic constitution and provided a 22-point structure for an Islamic State and led an organized movement of Tahafuz-i-Khatm-i-Nabuwwat Tehrik (TKNT), however, it practically failed to create a political constituency for itself and continued to tag along with the Muslim League. This political dependency finally became a gateway for political institutionalism. On one hand, it denounced socialism, secularism and modern democracy but on the other it entered into an alliance with NAP, a champion of secularism and modern nationalism, after the elections 1970 was taken more surprisingly as an orthodox religious party was seeking cooperation from a secular force of NWFP. However, not astonishingly, this joint venture lived short but consensus of two different even conflicting ideologies left far reaching consequences.