A little about Difa-e-Pakistan Council

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Difa-e-Pakistan Council setup a stage at a new venue in capital city of Islamabad and once again warned government against restoring NATO supply route sand granting the MFN status to India. Difa-e-Pakistan Council – an amalgamation of some groups and individual figures, former military generals, politicians and also members of right-wing parties have gathered under the umbrella of a banned organisation with a new name tag. The council is propagating the following slogan in masses “against US aggression, NATO supplies, drones, Indian terrorism and MFN. We will unite and protect Pakistan from all threats would love to die for its defence.”

Despite criticism by supportive parties administration of capital territory did not allow three leaders of banned organisations, Jamaatud Dawa’s chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, chief of Ahle Sunnat wal Jamat Maulana Ahmed Ludhianwi and Malik Ishaq, the founders of the banned militant outfit Lashkar-e-Jhangvi to enter Islamabad, but silence of government at their participation and speeches in previous rallies cannot be ignored. What steps the government of Balochistan would initiate in the next rally of DPC is also an important question?

The union of 40 religious, political parties and banned organisations actively came on scene after NATO attack inside Pakistan during November, last year. Within short a span of time the council organised successful rallies in five major cities including Islamabad while its next destination will be Quetta.

The leaders of council pledged that they would offer every sacrifice to preserve and uphold the sovereignty, territorial integrity and ideological boundaries of the country, but at the very first level there is need to check individuals, groups and parties sitting in this union who they are, what is their back ground and who has given them this mandate? If we review profiles and agenda of these leaders and these organisations or parties it becomes clear that many of them have been involved in activities that create serious internal and external threats to this country or having ideologies and intentions against state declared policy for defence of country.

The head-chairman of this council and leader of his own faction Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-S) Maulana Sami-ul-Haq himself is closely linked to the Taliban movement in Afghanistan. He played a leading role in the Nizam-e-Mustafa Movement in 1977. The other main party in this alliance is Sipah-e-Sahaba (SSP), banned inside Pakistan and also internationally but working with new official name that is Ahle-Sunnat-Wal-Jamaat. The official name has changed but not the agenda as its stated goal is to primarily deter major Shia influence in Pakistan in the wake of the Iranian revolution. The other big name Malik Ishaq, head of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, the organisation which has been blamed for a string of attacks inside Pakistan and has often been linked to Al-Qaeda.

In the list of forty, the most active party is Jamaat-ud-Dawa, headed by Hafiz Saeed, who has been exonerated by the courts of all charges. The other well famed name in late 80s, the ex-spymaster Gen Hammid Gul is also one of the leading personalities who are out to defend Pakistan and he is the one who bluntly opposes the current policy of state to counter terrorism and defence strategy.

Not only the banned outfits and generals holding old narrative and policy are fully supported by the religious parties of the country, but also an emerging party claiming itself to be liberal, the PTI of Imran Khan, is also hand in hand with Sipah-e-Sahaba and Jamaat-ud-Dawa. Though PML(N) has not joined this council but the ideology of this party is ambiguous as its leaders have often shown soft corner for banned organisations to take their vote bank in hands as Punjab government ignored flourishing of these organisations and their arms.

HUMAIRA KANWAL

Islamabad