By Raza Habib Raja
Dear readers please see the following excerpt from Dawn
“MANSEHRA: Federal Minister for Tourism Maulana Attaur Rehman has said that Taliban are the true followers of Islamic ideology and the US has been creating hatred against them.
“Ulema and Taliban are the true followers of Islamic ideology and America is the biggest terrorist of the world, which is creating hatred against them,” said the minister while speaking at a public gathering in Allai here on Tuesday.
Mr Rehman said that the ongoing spate of terrorism could not be eliminated until the US and the world gave equal rights and respect to the Muslims.
“It is a misconception that Ulema and Taliban are against coexistence of people with different religions, in fact it is America which is against the interfaith harmony to maintain its hegemony on the world,” said Mr Rehman, who belongs to the JUI-F”.
Now this is a guy who has been appointed as Federal Minister for Tourism by PPP led government. I seriously think that although politics is the art of compromise, but this non sense should not be tolerated.
PPP since it belongs to the liberal side of the political spectrum should take serious notice of such statements as these undermine its liberal credentials. Although Maulana sahib is not from the PPP but his party is a key ally. Moreover, I vividly remember when Rana Sanaullah, the Law Minister of Punjab, met Sapah Sahaba for an electoral adjustment in Jhang, Salman Taseer actually wrote to Shahbaz Sharif blaming him of supporting Islamic fundamentalists. Likewise his stupid statement requesting Taliban, to stop attacks in Punjab were also construed as some kind of “alliance” of PML N with the hardliners. Some prominent journalists even wrote lengthy articles on that. Whereas I fully agree that criticism on Shabaz Sharif was justified, but fairness demands that PPP should condemn their allies also. Lets for a change show some REAL self introspection!
I think the major problem with both the major parties, PML (N) as well as PPP, is that they stand ready to go for occasional “practical” compromise with the hardliners. They forget that such so called pragmatic compromises have a deteriorating effect on the society’s ideological fabric as more and more ground is ceded to forces of extremism.
And PPP, due to its liberal orientation should be even more careful and therefore merits criticism. However here I have constantly seen that whenever you are critical of PPP, even with sincere intentions, you are branded as pseudo liberal or reminded that other parties have also conducted similar excesses. I think it is for the party supporters to realize that there are areas where criticism is justified and instead of justifying their party leadership, they should pressurize them.
And by the way, what is this guy doing as a Minister of Tourism? I mean what kind of tourism are we trying to promote here? Are we out of our senses? Is this the image of Pakistan we are trying to sell abroad?