When Bhutto assumed power on December 20th 1971, the JI burned his effigies in Lahore and declared the day as “black day.” When PTV showed surrender ceremony in Dacca, the JI led public protests, describing it as an attempt to humiliate the army. In 1973 the Amir of JI appealed to the army to overthrow Bhutto’s government due to its inherent moral corruption. Despite being Islamist and declaring secularists as kafirs (infidels), the JI joined hands with Bhutto’s secular opponents to achieve the goal of political power. In the early seventies, the JI launched a campaign called “Bagladesh Namanzoor” to destabilize Bhutto and to absolve the army of blame for the loss of country’s Eastern Wing.
In 1973, Burhanuddin Rabbani, a Maududi inspired Afghan cleric, fled to Pakistan, and was hosted by the JI. Thus began a partnership between the JI, the ISI and the Rabbani group.
When Zia overthrew Bhutto in 1977, the JI distributed sweets in streets of all major cities.
Maududi later supported Zia’s regime by endorsing his Islamization initiative. Zia ul Haq met JI Chief Mian Tufail Mohammad for 90 minutes the night before Bhutto was hanged. The following day, the JI supporters took to the streets to celebrate Bhutto’s death. Although the JI’s constitution prohibits coming into power using underground means, yet the JI was part of Zia’s cabinet holding the ministries of Information and Broadcasting, Production, Water and Power and National Resources. Professor Khursheed Ahmed, a JI ideologue, headed the Planning Commission to draw up plans for Islamizing the economy. The JI also supported Zia-ul-Haq’s referendum held in 1984.
Qazi Hussian Ahmad while supporting Zia’s Hadood Laws argued that woman were emotional and irritable, with inferior faculties of reason and memory hence their testimony in a court of law should be discounted. Women can be bracketed with the blind, handicapped, lunatics and children. However, later, Qazi got his own daughter Samia Raheel Qazi elected to the parliament. The JI later became the pillar of Zia regime and his “Islamic” state. In 1979 when Maududi died Zia attend his funeral.
In 1988 the ISI assembled a coalition called IJI of Islamist parties to serve as the army’s proxy in a controlled political system. The JI was the frontrunner in the ISI-sponsored IJI. The JI and its weekly Takbeer, during the 1988 election campaign ran photos of Benazir and her mother dancing with President Ford. These were even airdropped over the city of Lahore using aircraft from Lahore Aero Club. This was with the full collaboration of the ISI. Qazi Hussain Ahmed, the JI Chief, after her victory declared her a decadent western woman and a risk to national security.
In 1989, when the ISI forged an interim Afghan government in Peshawar, the JI recognized it and held rallies in its support, although it did not have a single Afghan city under its control. When in 1998 Mast Gul a militant Kashmiri militant came to Rawalpindi, a rally was jointly organized by JI & ISI which was shown on PTV, where JI openly condemned the Bhutto government and called for Jihad against India.
In the early 1990’s JI & ISI-backed Hizbul Mujahideen began “Jihad” against JKLF, liquidating them in Indian Administered Kashmir. By the mid-90’s, the JI was openly recruiting ‘volunteers’ for the ‘Kashmir Jihad’.
In 1996, the JI began a campaign demanding Benazir Bhutto’s ouster. After a series of unexplained bomb blasts, sectarian killings, and mysterious murder of Murtaza Bhutto, Benazir’s government was dismissed on November 5th 1996.
The JI also welcomed Pervez Musharraf when he toppled a democratic government, however, when he was not found much accommodative, the JI turned against him. When in 1999, Vajpayee came to Lahore, the JI threatened to block Vajpayee’s bus route and held street demonstrations all over Lahore. Nawaz Sharif planned to arrest Qazi Hussain Ahmed ahead of the agitation yet he could not, as Qazi was staying at the home of an official of the military intelligence.
Although the JI and IJT enjoy little popular support yet a highly structured system of committed cadres is JI’s mainstay. Continued indoctrination and deep penetration among various sections of the society characterize its organizational strength. From trade unions to teachers’ associations to women wings to charities, the JI is active. The JI and IJT workers would threaten and blackmail anybody from university administration to Railway Board, to newspaper owners and even the governments of the day. There are countless incidents where university teachers have been thrashed, students terrorized, offices of newspapers ransacked and mass protests organized, to achieve certain objectives. They act unscrupulously when it comes to vested interests.
Typically wearing a beard and a “shalwar kamiz”, appearing decent, advocating good conduct and preaching ethics, but in real life, they would write obnoxious anonymous letters to the parents of a liberal female student ,threaten and pillage the office of a state functionary for taking disciplinary action against an employee belonging to the JI, bring people on the streets to protest against initiation of music classes in the university, forcibly occupy hostel rooms and all this in the name of Islam, yet would accept dollars, riyals and rupees in bulk from the USA, Saudi Arabia and the deep state respectively, again, in the name of Islam. They saved tons of US dollars but also tried to save US enemy No.1 Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, the mastermind of 9/11, who was arrested from the residence of a JI leader in Rawalpindi. They would oppose military dictators, feudal lords, seculars and communists if they do not serve their interests, yet would support all of them if they do. They have the license to label something Islamic or un- Islamic and see which label carries greater opportunity to exploit. The expression “Islamic opportunism” aptly describes the conduct of this entity which has significantly contributed to our present day plunge into a bottomless ocean of retrogression and bigotry. Maududi is long gone but his legacy continues to haunt all those who aspire for a liberal and progressive Pakistan. (concluded)