Following an Inter Services Public relations (ISPR) statement that criticized the Jamat-e-Islami party chief (Ameer) Munawar Hassan, the top leadership of Jamat-e-Islami (JI) held a meeting in Mansora, Lahore. They affirmed complete support to the Ameer and responded in a press conference that the army statement was out of bounds and an interference in politics.
On November 1, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leader Hakimullah Mehsud was killed in a drone attack. The leaders of both Jamat-e-Islami and Jamiat Ullema Islam (F) called him a martyr. On November 7, during an interview on Geo News (a private news channel) conducted by Salim Safi, head of Jamat-e-Islami, Syed Munawar Hassan said that TTP former Chief Hakimullah Mehsud was a martyr, but the supporters of the US war, including Pakistan army soldiers who have lost their lives, are not martyred.
On November 10, Munawar Hassan held a press conference in Attock in which he reaffirmed his statement that he believed Hakimullah Mehsud was a martyr and that the Pakistani soldiers were not martyrs.
In response, ISPR strongly condemned Munawar Hassan’s remark. “Strong condemnation of his views from an overwhelming majority leaves no doubt in anyone’s mind that all of us are very clear on what the state of Pakistan is and who its enemies are. The sacrifices of our Shuhada and their families need no endorsement from Syed Munawar Hassan and such misguided and self-serving statements deserve no comments,” a spokesman for ISPR said in the statement.
When Truth Tracker tried to acquire more comments about JI’s statement from Liaqat Baloch, the secretary general of JI, he refused to comment further, adding that the official statement given on Monday, November 12, was enough.
While talking to Truth Tracker, Qamar Zaman Kaira, former Federal Minster and PPP leader, said that he didn’t believe ISPR’s statement crossed a line. “Syed Munawar Hassan should admit what he has uttered as his mistake. War against terrorism is not an alien for us. We are directly affected and our army, other law enforcing agencies and civilians have sacrificed their lives to protect the homeland,” he said.
“We can only take ISPR’s statement as political if Munawar Hassan had announced his views as political not religious,” Kaira said. He said the comment from Hassan of JI was out of line, and that the army was within its bounds to issue a response. “His statement gets army directly involved in it that’s why I don’t consider army’s view non-military,” Kaira added.
Kamil Ali Agha, leader of PMLQ, endorsed ISPR’s point of view. “The justification of Jamat-e-Islami is just a lame excuse. Syed Munawar Hassan has tried to generate only confusion among people as well as armed forces. To make such statement about martyrdom is a disappointment. The army has a justification behind the official statement because Munawar Hassan disheartens the forces,” Agha told Truth Tracker.
The chairman of the Sunni Itehad Council, Sahibzada Hamid Raza Khan, also approved of ISPR’s statement. “Martyrdom is not a political issue. To protect the country is the sole responsibility of the forces and soldiers are fighting against terrorism, which is a great threat to Pakistan. You can’t set aside their sacrifices all of a sudden by saying that their loss of lives fighting for the country is not martyrdom. Munawar Hassan has saddened not only the armed forces but also the relatives of the victims of the war on terror. Moreover, he has committed a un-Islamic act. I fully support ISPR’s statement in this cause,” he explained his point of view.
Zaeem Qadri, PMLN leader and member of the Provincial Assembly, told Truth Tracker that he didn’t believe JI’s declaration was justifiable. “No doubt the army should not interfere in politics, but ISPR’s statement can’t be taken as interference in politics. I have no doubt that people who sacrifice their lives while protecting the country are martyrs,” he told Truth Tracker.
Furthermore, according to Jang newspaper, ISPR got the government’s permission before releasing its statement.
S. M Zafar, former Federal Law Minister, renowned lawyer, and expert on Pakistani constitutional matters told Truth Tracker that he didn’t take ISPR’s statement as interference in politics.
“When the army is involved in any matter it can express its concerns. Syed Munawar Hassan directly mentioned the army by saying that our soldiers’ sacrifices were not considered as martyrdom because they were fighting along with US army, and so the army has to show its concern on any issue which may create problems within the institution,” he added.
“Soldiers have rendered sacrifices by protecting the homeland against terrorism and the insurgency,” Zafar said. He said he believed the ISPR was completely justified in issuing its statement. “They have the right to make any declaration when the question is raised directly at the institution.” Zafar added that although, Mualana Fazal Ur Rehman also called Hakim Ullah Mehsud a martyr, he didn’t drag the army into it.
“When you say something against army, it needs justification too,” Zafar said. “So, I completely endorse ISPR’s version and dismiss JI’s ruling that ISPR has given a political and non-military statement.”
Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain condemned Munawar Hassan in his statement. He took ISPR’s stance as a bold step. The Sindh Assembly also passed a unanimous resolution against Munawar Hassan’s statement.
Ulemas of the Sunni Ittehad Council have demanded that the Supreme Court hold a trial against Munawar Hassan for treason for giving an anti-army statement. They also demand that the Ameer of the Jamat-e-Islami party withdraw his statement. The Pakistan Ex-Servicemen Association has condemned the JI Ameer’s statement and shown complete support to ISPR’s stated response.
Based on the strong arguments of politicians, law expert and others, Truth Tracker rates JI’s statement as false.