ISLAMABAD: Senator Farhatullah Babar has questioned whether the anti-terrorism fatwa of religious scholars, declaring private jihad as well as suicide bombings as un-Islamic, also covered the so-called jihad across the national boundaries as has been proudly claimed by some militant outfits.
Farhatullah Babar expressed these views in a meeting of Senate Foreign Affairs Committee that met here on Wednesday to discuss Pak-US relations and other related issues.
The meeting, chaired by Senator Nuzhat Sadiq, was attended by Senators Daud Khan Achakzai, Karim Khawaja, Mushahid Hussain Syed, Ayesha Raza Farooq and Farhatullah Babar, besides Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif, Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua and other senior officials.
The absence of the words “across the national borders” in the fatwa unequivocally rejecting private jihad has created space for some jihadists, Farhatullah Babar said and asked the foreign minister whether the Foreign Office (FO) was on board in the exercise leading to the formulation of fatwa.
The foreign minister affirmed that the fatwa also banned private jihad across national boundaries. “The senator is entitled to hold his view but my view is different from him,” he added.
Farhatullah Babar enquired whether some actions were being taken to mainstream militant organisations without taking the Parliament on board, and asked whether the FO was aware of any such move.
He further said that the soft treatment meted out to former Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan, bail of Maulana Sufi Muhammad, shielding Masood Azhar from UN sanctions, and lately, the militant organisations entering into electoral politics pointed towards these undeclared moves.
Khawaja Asif informed that the FO was not aware of any move to mainstream militant organisations in the country.
Senator Babar also asked whether a three-member delegation of Afghan Taliban from their Qatar political office had arrived in Pakistan recently, as reported in the media, as part of the efforts to encourage them to join the reconciliation process. The foreign minister, however, denied that FO was aware if such visit had taken place.
The meeting also discussed the case of Haji Abdul Ghafoor, a Pakistani national who went missing in Madina last year. Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua informed the committee that Hajj minister’s visit to Saudi Arabia early next month would include this issue in the agenda of his talks with Saudi authorities.
The committee recommended that the Saudi authorities be asked to focus on the testimony of two officials of Pakistan House, Madinah of the altercation Haji Abdul Ghafoor had with police at the gate of Masjid-e-Nabvi after which Haji Abdul Ghafoor reportedly went missing.
The committee noted that this provided a crucial lead in tracing the missing Haji and asked the FO to focus on it.