Attack on Maulana Fazlur Rehman shrouded in mystery
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April 08, 2011
Since the establishment of Pakistan till now, role of religious parties in the country has been unquestionable, however the religious parties have not got the right mandate which they deserved, otherwise they could have formed a complete government in the Center. However, in Khyber Pakhtunkhawa and Balochistan, they have an obvious vote bank, so sometimes they are ruling, and occasionally we find them sitting in opposition benches.

Think Tanks and people having considerable knowledge in Pakistan regarding political and religious parties believe that the role of the biggest religious party in Pakistan i.e. Jamaat-e-Ulema Islam is unquestionable. Some of the analysts think that Maulana Fazlur Rehman is gradually gaining momentum and popularity, and slowly he is going to reach where late Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan was.

On March 30, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (Fazl) Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman escaped a suicide bomb blast in Swabi when a bomber targeted the workers of JUI-F near the Swabi interchange on Peshawar-Islamabad Motorway. The suicide attack occurred just a minute before the arrival of JUI-F Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman at the interchange and some of the party sources said that the Maulana was the real target of the bomber.

Ten people, including two policemen, were killed when a suicide bomber targeted the workers of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (Fazl) near the Swabi interchange on Peshawar-Islamabad Motorway.

The JUI-F was scheduled to hold a public meeting at the Government High School, Swabi, and the workers were told by former provincial education minister Maulana Fazal Ali that they should receive their party chief at Swabi interchange, and from there he would be brought in a procession to the venue of public meeting.

Fazl survived another (2nd) hit in Charsaddah when at least 15 people were killed and 13 others seriously injured in a suicide attack on him within two days.

Fazl and his companions were luckily unharmed in the attack near the DCO office on his convoy heading to a public meeting. However, two of his guards were injured. The JUI chief had a narrower escape this time round as he said the bomber struck only ten yards from him.

Talking to media persons after the attack, Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman said leader of the opposition in the Provincial Assembly of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Akram Khan Durrani, and former federal minister Azam Swati were accompanying him, and both also remained unhurt in the suicide attack. After consultation with colleagues, we decided to postpone the public gathering at Charsadda, he added, saying that he had received no threats to life from any quarter.

There have been, within 24 hours, two suicide attempts on the life of JUI-F Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman. In Swabi, a suicide bomber on a motorbike blew himself up as the convoy passed nearby, killing 10 people. Another 13 perished in Charsadda a day later, in another suicide attack. Fazl, who remains defiant, insisting his party will not cave in to the pressure, is quite evidently a wanted man.

The Maulana has been fortunate to survive. Security forces in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) have reportedly advised him not to address any rallies.

The Upper House of the Parliament adopted a unanimous resolution to condemn the suicide attack on the convoy of JUI-F Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman in Swabi, demanding the government to investigate the incident and bring the culprits to book.

According to a review report, those killed in terrorist incidents during last three months include 597 civilians, 94 security forces officials, and 511 terrorists. Last year, 1292 local people, 471 security officials, and 3797 terrorists were killed. The attack on Maulana was a planned conspiracy under the prevailing circumstances.

Earlier, former MNAs of JUI-F Maulana Miraj Uddin, and Maulana Noor Muhammad had lost their lives in bomb blasts and suicide bombing, respectively.

It is pertinent to mention that ANP Chief Asfand Yar Wali and PPP Sherpao Head Aftab Ahmed Sherpao have become target of suicide bombings, but miraculously survived.

The vacuum created by the loss of PPP founding father Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto is yet to be filled.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani strongly condemned the suicide attack on Maulana Fazlur Rehman, terming it a cowardly act, adding that “we have to devise a joint strategy to cope with the menace of terrorism and extremism”. He expressed these views on a point or order in the Senate.

After the twin attacks, a special contingent of FC has been deployed for security of the Maulana, who has also started selection of trained workers for his security.

Maulana Fazlur Rehman started mass contact campaign at a time when there was no political activity in the province. Here the question arises that are there powers trying to fail this mass contact campaign, and if the attacks on the Maulana were a message to other political powers to limit their activities?

On the other hand, JUI-F is present on political scene as a religious-political power to reckon with. Maulana’s principled stance on issues such as drone attacks, Raymond’s release, parting ways with the federal government on Hajj scandal etc., has raised his political stature recently. In the present political scenario, if opposition is ready to agree upon any consensus leader, it is Maulana Fazlur Rehman. While on the other hand, Maulana is one of the biggest supporters of parliamentary system in religious circles and is eager for change through votes. In the wake of the situation created by the recent wave of terrorism in the country, Maulana had an apparent role in passing of a joint resolution during the in-camera meeting of parliament last year.

Whereas his clear-cut statements about terrorism, extremism and killings of innocent people has brought his workers in national mainstream. He has rendered his services to government several times with regard to peace and stability in tribal areas. It clearly indicates that the Maulana can play a role in bridging the gap between liberal and religious powers of the country.

A present, the poor law and order situation is evident to everyone. Anti-Pakistan forces want to create a situation of civil war, anarchy, terrorism and extremism by attacking such national leaders to accomplish their evil ambitions. National leaders are not born everyday in the lives of nations.

In short, the Government has to take serious steps for the security of all religious and political leaders to avoid unpleasant incidents in future.

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