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Jihad not mandatory in Kashmir: Pro-Taliban cleric

By Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
May 03, 2009 16:45 IST
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Contradicting terrorist groups' claim that they were engaged in jihad in Kashmir, hard-line Pakistani cleric, who brokered a peace deal between Taliban and NWFP government, has said jihad is 'not mandatory' in the Indian state as people there are not demanding Sharia (Islamic law).

Cleric Sufi Mohammad, the chief of the banned Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Sharia Muhammadi, said the Kashmiris are demanding a state and not Sharia. "Therefore, jihad is not mandatory in Kashmir."

"Today, there is no place in the world where jihad bil qataal (holy war) is taking place," Muhammad said in an interview with Geo News channel.

He said that Sharia prohibited the stopping of vices through the use of force and added that democracy is kufar (infidelity) and backing democratic forces is useless.

'Even I do not offer prayers under pro-democracy people,' the cleric said.

Former Jamaat-e-Islami chief Qazi Hussain Ahmad and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam leader Fazlur Rehman are searching for Sharia in democracy, he claimed.

Muhammad said women are not allowed to go out of their homes except to perform Haj or the pilgrimage to Mecca. There is no need to seek a wife's permission for jihad.

He was also of the opinion that there is no Islamic Sharia system in Saudi Arabia or Iran.

Meanwhile, the influential Dawn newspaper said in an editorial on Sunday that the authorities "remained true to their word while Sufi Mohammad did not" after the signing of a peace deal in Swat in February.

Muhammad had promised that "a large number of militants would lay down arms in a public ceremony" following the peace deal and the government even accepted the cleric's demand that militants would surrender to a Qazi or judge of an Islamic court and not the government or the military.

'Within hours, however, he (Muhammad) addressed a public rally in Swat in which he aired the view that the constitution, the higher judiciary and democracy itself were all un-Islamic,' the editorial said.

'This volte-face suggests that Sufi Muhammad either carries no real clout with the militants, is simply playing politics or is part and parcel of the Taliban, albeit with a softer image.'

The daily also said Muhammad's 'double-dealing was one the catalysts' for the ongoing operation by security forces against the Taliban in Dir and Buner districts. Now that the militants are on the back foot, the government should not halt the operations and must focus on getting the Taliban 'to disarm as promised at the earliest', it said.

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Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
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