Affluent Afghans get Pakistani IDs as poor Pashtuns suffer


KARACHI: For the right price, any Afghan can obtain Pakistani nationality. In fact, hundreds of affluent Afghans have managed to obtain Pakistani IDs in exchange for handsome sums paid to National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) officials, The Frontier Post has learnt.

While poor Afghan refugees and ethnic Pakistani Pashtuns take the hit in the wake of lapses by Nadra in granting CNICs – as was the case with the late Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour’s citizenship – those with enough money can easily obtain CNICs by greasing the right palms.

In 2012, Afghan business tycoon Abdul Rehman Alokozay’s family obtained over 150 computerized national identity cards (CNICs) against a payment of Rs20 million to NADRA officials close to the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).

“It’s not the only well-off Afghan family enjoying nationality of its neighboring country, however, a big one, which is trading inside this country with Pakistani identity,” a source said. Alokozay Group of Companies (AGC), an Afghani conglomerate with its headquarters in Dubai, has presence in over 40 countries with distribution network in Middle East, Central Asia, Asia, Europe, Africa and North America.

“From the highly successful Alokozay Tea to the flourishing Alokozay Cooking Oils, Tissues, Evaporated Milk, Coffee, Biscuits, 3in1 Tea & Coffee, Sugar, Detergent Powder, Wet Wipes, Baby Diapers, Pasta, Corn Flakes, Engine Oil, Shampoo, Conditioner, Shower Gel, Hand wash, Bar Soap, Toothpaste, Body lotion, Mouthwash and many more premium products, Alokozay continues to expand its horizon”, the website of company reads.

The group’s ABCo in Kabul, Afghanistan is the bottling and distribution plant of the entire range of carbonated Soft drinks, Energy drink, Juices & Water.

“PepsiCo, one of the world’s largest food and beverage companies, today signed an Exclusive Bottling Appointment (EBA) with the Alokozay Group of Companies to manufacture and distribute a broad range of PepsiCo beverages in Afghanistan. The beverages will be produced at ABCO (Alokozay Beverages Company), Alokozay’s beverage bottling plant, which will be set up in Kabul with an initial investment of US$ 60 million,” the PepsiCo’s official website announced on April 20, 2011.

Chairman of the group is Abdul Rehman Alokozay, whereas Jalil Alokozay is its Chief Executive Officer and managing director, who is also CEO of the Alokozay International Ltd based in Mississauga, Ontario L5C 2T1, Canada.

The amount, Nadra official, said, was paid by Abdul Waris Alokozay, Lahore based son of the Afghan business tycoon. Unlike his father Abdul Rehman Alokozay and brother Jalil Alokozay, Waris doesn’t carry the family name as he is Chief Executive Officer of Alokozay International (Pvt.) Limited, situated at Suite No 305, 3rd Floor, Eden Tower, Main Boulevard Gulberg III, Lahore Pakistan.

Besides, company in Lahore, the family has several restaurants on the motorways across, Pakistan. Korean made cigarettes Kent, which are sold in abundance in Pakistan, are also smuggled into Pakistan by this same family whereas FBR has been unable to find who to serve the notice with, a source in the Federal Board of Revenue told.

According to Nadra official, the family had shown themselves permanent residents of Mohmand Agency while obtaining Pakistani CNICs. However, the tribe Alokozay has never lived on Pakistani side of the Durand line Border.

The Alokozay, a sub-tribe of the Abdali Pashtuns of Afghanistan, are found primarily in Helmand, Kandahar, Kabul, Laghman, Kunar Sarkani District and Herat provinces in Afghanistan, and form the majority of the population in the Sangin District. “Jaldak, which is located 110 km northeast of Kandahar, is the original domicile of the Alokozay tribe,” according to “The hidden Treasure” (Pata Khazana), a biography of Pashtoon poets Mohammad Hothek.

Few years back, Abdul Rehman Alokozay was kidnapped in Pakistan. “The family secured his release by paying 25 million to the kidnappers” a source close to the family reveals.

A news published in this newspaper in 2012 had reported the issuance of Fake IDs after which the issue was taken up by Standing committee of the National Assembly but it never came to conclusion due to influence of the family in Pakistan’s political circles.

“Such examples of wealthy Afghans are in abundance in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. These Afghans are not only rich in term of wealth but they are also very well connected with both the Afghan government and the Taliban,” a source said.

The reason why these Pakistan based rich Afghans keep good relations with the Taliban regime in Afghanistan is because Taliban protect their crops back in Afghanistan – in most cases that of opium – and they help them with protecting their business interests in Pakistan as well, a Pashtun nationalist leader from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa says.

“As they buy Pakistani identity with their wealth, the Pashtuns of Pakistan are humiliated in Punjab and Sindh to get their CNICs,” he adds.

Published in The Frontier Post on Jun 1, 2016

Karachi’s top bomb-maker is dead

Counterterrorism Department deals major blow to Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent 


By: Naimat Khan

On April 13, the Counter Terrorism Department of Karachi killed two members of Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) in a gunfight in the Gadap Town locality, and seized weapons, explosives and equipment from a bomb factory that they unearthed.  Abdul Saboor and Muhammad Mujtaba died during the encounter, while Muhammad Murtaza was arrested.

During interrogation, Murtaza made some startling revelations.

“About 14 years ago, some militants from the Nazimabad neighborhood of Karachi parted ways with their organization Harkatul Mujahideen following a dispute. They renamed themselves Harkatul Mujahideen al Alami (HUMA), and orchestrated attacks on security forces, diplomatic missions and other targets of global importance,” according to Raja Umar Khattab, a senior cop fighting militancy and terrorism for more than 15 years.

In 2004, HUMA militants rented a shop in an apartment building in the city, and parked a van packed with 400 kilograms of explosives outside the premises to target the convoy of then president Gen Pervez Musharraf. The bomb couldn’t go off because of signal jammers, and the convoy passed safely.

It was the first group to use toy bombs

“The failed plan went unnoticed. The same van was later used in an attack on the American consulate in Karachi,” Raja Umar Khattab told me. The same year, the group orchestrated a bomb attack on a concert by the Indian vocalist Sonu Nigam in the port city. Then, they tried to target Americans staying at the airport hotel in a rocket attack, but the rockets went wayward and fell in Shah Faisal Colony.

HUMA was the first group to come up with toy bombs. The first such device was seized after an encounter with the police in the Kalakot area of the city.

By the end of 2008, most of the members of the group had been apprehended, and their plan to break Karachi’s central prison had been thwarted.

But because of weak prosecution and a lack of evidence, many of these militants were freed. Most of them fled to Afghanistan, where the group’s first chief Muhammad Imran, also known as Imran Bhai, was killed in a US drone strike.

Kamran Atif, the chief of the group’s Karachi chapter, was arrested in 2006 and served a life sentence.

In 2014, the militants associated with HUMA joined the AQIS en masse and took over its Pakistan branch. Their first emir is identified as Zarar, and also known by the names Naseem Bhai, Hanif Bhai and Ayub Bhai. He is stationed in Afghanistan, from where he directs the organization’s Pakistani and Bangladeshi chapters. “HUMA is the face of AQIS in Pakistan,” said Raja Umar Khattab.

Recent acts of terrorism in Karachi linked to the group include the murder of Dr Shakeel Auj and Urdu Blogger Aneeqa Naz, police say.

The AQIS Pakistan has three major wings, investigations have revealed.

One group, responsible for preaching, brainwashing and recruitment, consists of young people who have never been arrested and live normal lives at their homes in Karachi. They are hard to catch, police say, but stopping them is vital for eliminating the terrorist organization.

A second wing participates in militant activity. Most of its members are locals of Karachi, and people of Bengali and Burmese descent who have been born in the city.

The third wing consists solely of experts in manufacturing and planting bombs. Among its key members were a man identified as Hashim (nicknamed Babu) and another militant identified as Muhammad Mujtaba (also known as Rehan). The two men had arrived in Karachi as explosives experts for the group. Hashim, who had 14 years of experience in bombs and explosives, especially car bombs, was killed in a gunfight with police in April last year. Mujtaba – who had put together the bomb manufacturing setup in Gadap town and supplied explosive devices to one Abdus Salam Sindhi of the Liaquatabad neighborhood – was killed in the April 13 encounter.

In January 2016, the group resumed its activities using low-intensity bombs, referred to as crackers. Law enforcement agencies began to notice similarities between various blasts, and investigations led them to the two men killed on April 13.

The AQIS is a distinct organization, separate from another Al Qaeda group in Karachi, and the group of young militants in Karachi who are inspired by ISIS, according to Raja Umar Khattab.

An independent Al Qaeda group led by Umar Jalal began its own journey about the time AQIS was formed. A third IS-inspired group of youth, which attacked American professor Debra Lobo, killed human rights activists Sabeen Mahmud, and carried out the Safoora bus shooting, is a separate entity.

The AQIS is directed by Al Qaeda’s central leadership from Afghanistan’s Bramcha area, according to police. But heightened security at the border has made it very difficult, if not impossible, for the network in Karachi to communicate with the Bramcha leadership, Raja Umar Khattab said. “They are now using memory cards, USB flash drives, and unsent draft emails for passing on messages to the network in Karachi,” the arrested man told the investigators. Police believes the killing of Mujtaba is a major breakthrough, but analysts say it may not be enough to eliminate the group.

“To counter transitional militants, such as those involved with the AQIS, the government should form a serious counterterrorism strategy,” says Zia Ur Rehman, a Karachi based author and security analyst. “Identifying and distinguishing such militants is a proper intelligence-gathering exercise, which need strong collaboration among all law enforcement and intelligence agencies.”

For decades, groups like Harkatul Mujahideen have been allowed to change their names and reconstitute themselves, without any reprisal from the government, experts say, and that is where the problem lies.

“As they reconstitute, they look for new friends and allies. Al Qaeda and IS are the easiest choices in today’s plethora of militant groups,” says Khalid Muhammad, the director general of Islamabad-based think tank CommandEleven.

He says weak prosecution is another problem. Tahir Mihnas, the prime suspect of the Safoora carnage, and almost all the current leaders of AQIS including its Pakistani chief, were arrested in the past but have come out of jails.

“A report issued by the US State Department a few years ago discussed this exact issue – the release of hardcore terrorists from Pakistani jails,” says Khalid Muhammad. The report stated that Pakistan’s judiciary had released three out of four terrorism suspects that were brought to courts. “The reasons included loss of evidence, intimidation of witnesses, and fear of violence against the judge and his family.”

Zia Ur Rehman says it is hard to predict if military courts will solve these problems. “Only time will tell.”

 Published in The Friday Times 

Sindh wants policeman father of ‘terrorist’ reinstated


Ali Sher Jakhrani, who was inducted to Sindh Police on the “parchi” from secretary to Sindh minister and PPP Stalwart, Nisar Ahmed Khuhro

By: Naimat Khan

KARACHI: The Sindh Government has requested services of a police officer, who is not only one among those being appointed on ‘political recommendations’ but was also found guilty of turning blind eye to his son terrorist activities.

The Sindh Government has taken this initiative at a time when the terrorists are striking in different parts of the country with intervals amid countrywide operation under the national action plan underway.

At least seventy people were killed on Sunday evening when terrorists attacked Gulshan Iqbal Park in Lahore.

Owais Jahkhrani, son of Ali Sher Jakhrani and one of the attackers on Navy Dockyard 

A letter from the office of Chief Secretary Sindh to secretary establishment division government of Pakistan, Islamabad, written on March 21, 2016 reads; “the Government of Sindh requires the services of Mr. Ali Sher Jakhrani, an officer of police service of Pakistan (BS-18), presently serving in government of Gilgiat Baltistan”.

“It’s therefore, requested that services of Mr. Ali Sher Jakhrani, an officer of police service of Pakistan (BS-18), may be placed at the disposal of Government of Sindh at an early date.”

According to an official list of political appointments in police services, a copy of which is available to The Frontier Post, Ali Sher Jakhrani – who hails from Jacobabad in Sindh – was appointed on the recommendations from secretary to Sindh Minister Nisar Ahmed Khuhro on 90s.

Jakhrani is one of the 21 police officers who had been inducted to police on political basis, a report said.

“Jakhrani is not only in the list of 21 officers who were appointed as DSPs in Sindh Police in NBS-17 due to their affiliations with political leaders, but he was also found guilty of turning blind eye towards his son’s terrorists activities,” a source in Sindh Police told this scribe on the condition of anonymity.

After a terrorist attack on a navy dockyard in Karachi in September 2014, there were reports that a perpetrator who was killed in the shootout was a former navy sailor and the son of Ali Sher Jakhrani.

Owais, Ali Sher Jakhrani’s son, was dismissed from the navy for his ‘religious views and undisciplined conduct’, according to reports. Sources told this scribe earlier that Owais Jakhrani had remained in contact with his cop father from Afghanistan, where he had gone for militant training.

Later, forensic reports also confirmed that Owais had used his father’s service weapons during the terrorist attack on Navy installation.

With this not so ‘bright’ background, Ali Sher Jakhrani, had been in limelight during the Karachi Law and Order Case, in which he was representing Sindh Police as Assistant Inspector General Police, Legal.

On one occasion when the matter of Abbas Town Carnage was taken up, the then Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry appointed the then DIG south and incumbent Director FIA, Shahid Hayat Khan, as inquiry head of the carnage on the recommendation of Jakhrani.

After the issue of his son’s involvement in major terrorist attack came to fore, he was silently removed of the post and later transferred to Gilgit Baltistan, sources said. Some elements in the Sindh Government, who are close to Jakhrani, want to get him appointed back on important post in Sindh Government.

An officer on the condition of not to be named told this scribe, that despite his political affiliation and criminal negligence or deliberately ignoring his terrorists son, Jakhrani had rendered his services as additional IG with honesty and may be the reason for demand for him to rejoin Sindh police.

Published in The Frontier Post

Why did Sindh vote for PPP?



The reasons behind the party’s remarkable victory in local elections

Why did Sindh vote for PPP?

Despite a setback in Badin and some lost ground in Lyari, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has seen a major victory in Sindh. The party has won all the district councils in the first two phases of local elections, a majority 21 of the 38 councils in Karachi District Council (KDC), and 17 union committees of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC).

Its former ally, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), will run Hyderabad, the KMC, and four of its districts – the Central, West, Korangi and East districts.

The PPP is in control of the KDC – consisting of the city’s suburbs – and the South and Malir districts. It will also rule over the rest of Sindh.

Coming at a time when the party is being accused of corruption and poor governance in the province, the remarkable victory has raised a lot of questions.

“The PPP hasn’t won the elections because of its performance,” says Jami Chandio, executive director of the Center for Peace and Civil Society (CPCS), a think tank based in Sindh. “There are several other factors that have helped the party retain support among voters.” An emotional bond between the party and the Sindhi masses is not one of them, he says. That bond does not exist any longer.

“People believe that a party in power can better resolve their routine problems, even if it fails to deliver on a larger scale,” says Irshad Khokhar, a Karachi based journalist who covers governance and politics in Sindh.

A key factor is that there is no competition. “The PML-N has never aimed to expand its base in Sindh,” says Chandio. “The PTI could have been an alternative, but it focused solely on Karachi and paid little attention to rural Sindh.” Sindhi ethnic political parties have become irrelevant, he says. “They never came out of the politics of the 1980s. They could have revisited their narratives, but they haven’t done so, probably deliberately.”

Veteran journalist Riaz Sohail says Sindhi ethnic parties practice “issue-based politics”, and that does not translate into electoral success. They are weak in “politics of constituencies”. Jalal Mehmood Shah’s Jeay Sindh group and Ayaz Palijo’s Awami Tehreek are exceptions to some extent, he says, but they focus on specific narrow areas.

‘They backed Hindu candidates to defeat the Arbabs’

The PPP defeated a possible contender, the PML-F, with good strategy. “The People’s Party worked hard, bringing on board anyone who had even ten or twenty votes. No such mobilization was seen on the part of the PML-F,” says Riaz Sohail. When some of the party’s workers were killed in the first phase of the elections, there were no major protests. Riaz says that may have been viewed negatively by the PML-F voters. The party had six district Nazims in 2005. Now, it will have none.

The two major parties – the PPP and the MQM – have been criticized for not challenging each other, focusing on their own separate areas of interest.

“There is a strong misconception that the people of Sindh don’t consider the governance factor. The real question is, what alternatives do they have?” says Jami Chandio. “They feel secure voting for the PPP and the MQM, and the two parties exploit their voters by making them feel insecure.”

There is a strong perception among Sindhis that if they do not vote for the PPP, the power will shift to the MQM. “Whenever the MQM has formed a coalition government with anyone other than the PPP, it has been the primary center of power,” says Chandio.

Wakeelur Rehman, a local journalist, agrees. “The local council elections in Karachi highlighted the same feeling of insecurity among the Urdu speaking people, which helped the MQM win in Urdu speaking localities,” he says.

The only signs of a formidable opposition can be seen in the large number of independent candidates that won this time. “Voters in small cities have shown political maturity and reacted to bad governance,” Riaz Sohail says. “The total votes to parties other than the PPP and independent candidates is higher than the number of votes to the PPP. The anti-PPP vote is divided.”

An interesting phenomenon in these elections is the massive defeat of three major influential political families – the Arbabs of Tharparkar, the Sheerazis of Thattha and the Jatois of Moro and Naushehro Feroz. “The PPP wiped out the Arbabs by fielding Hindu candidates,” according to Chandio. “That strategy worked well for it.” In the past, most of the candidates belonged to the Muslim minority or upper class Hindus, but the provincial ministers Gayan Chand Esrani and Kato Mal, both from scheduled castes, played a major role in awarding tickets to people from the scheduled castes. In all three cases, a mistrust towards former representatives and the fact that the PPP is in power in the province were also critical factors.

The writer is a Karachi-based journalist


Twitter: @NKMalazai

Pashtuns stand above ethnic biases in LG elections


An ethnic community opts for Pakistan as ‘Urdu, Punjabi, Sindhi cards’ yield results in Karachi


Naimat Khan

KARACHI: While the Urdu, Punjabi and Sindhi speaking communities succumbed to ethic politics, the Pashtun community of Karachi stood above cultural bias in the recently held local government elections, unofficial results show.

Local government elections were held in six districts of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) and one Karachi District Council (KDC) on December 5, in which the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) secured first and second positions, respectively.

Both the parties attracted the ethnic Urdu- and Sindhi-speaking electorates in Karachi, a microcosm of Pakistan where class and cultural divisions increasing by the day.

Similarly, the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had focused on neighbourhoods with a majority of Punjabi and Hazara populations, yielding sought-after results.

According to unofficial results so far, the MQM has won 50 of 51 Union Committees (UC) in district Central, and 26 of 37 UCs in district Korangi, 19 of 30 UCs in district East and 21 of 46 seats in district West. It also managed to secure nine of 32 UCs in district South, and four of 13 seats in district Malir.

The results clearly show a divide – the MQM won from areas where a majority of Urdu-speaking populace resides.

Muttahida failed to win even a single seat from KDC, which comprises the Sindhi-speaking population. The PPP grabbed a majority of UCs from here, despite an alliance against it of former party leaders as well as some Baloch tribal leaders.

The PPP, once a federal party with representation in all four provinces of the country, has been reduced to being a ‘Sindhi’ party.

However, results show a mixed trend in Pashtun-dominated localities of the city, as candidates of different parties have won from Landhi and Keamari areas of district West.

The PPP, PML-N, PTI, Jamaat-e-Islami, Awami National Party, Pakistan Rah-e-Haq Party (PRHP), Jamiat Ulema Islam-Fazl as well as independent candidates have secured seats of chairmen, vice chairmen and councilors from these areas.

ANP, which has been using the Pashtun card, could only manage to win one seat from its symbol Laltain from Mominabad, Zia Colony.

Pashtun nationalism vs. Pakistan

“Pashtuns of Karachi have been misled. They have failed to demonstrate the desirable Pashtun nationalism,” says ANP General Secretary Younas Buneri. “Undesirable circumstances for the ANP, which was under direct attack from religious extremists, are a major factor [which has contributed to the Pashtun divide].”

Buneri says his party has so far won five seats for vice-chairmen and 19 UCs, mostly in alliance with other parties and on other symbols.

Niaz Ali Shah, a member of ANP from Landhi was allowed to contest elections as independent candidate due to fears from extremists, he informs, adding, reports of attacks on Rangers and Military Police personnel also prevented Pashtun supporters coming out in large numbers.

The party’s general secretary also sees the campaign by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman Imran Khan and Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Amir Sirajul Haq, the sole reason for a split in Pashtun electorates.

“The ANP failed to secure its workers when the Taliban accelerated attacks on them. During this period the leadership went either to Islamabad or abroad, leaving the common worker at the mercy of militants and the law enforcement agencies,” says Wakeelur Rehman, a Karachi-based Psashtun reporter.

Many workers facing threats knocked the door of JI when abandoned by the party, he adds.

“Other communities may allow its leader to lead them from abroad but among Pashtuns, it’s the most disliked thing.”

“If our association with ANP was a crime in the eyes of Taliban, our identity as Pashtun was enough for police to declare us Taliban,” an ANP worker tells this scribe on condition of anonymity.

The JI held a Pashtun jirga of the victims’ families, mostly ANP workers at Idara Noor-e-Haq – party headquarters – where for the first time in history all speeches were delivered in Pashto language.

“Those were the days when abandoned workers of ANP started looking towards other parties, adds Rehman.

The ANP worker – who wished not to be named – informs that at least 350 party workers are behind bars, which need legal assistance; ANP did not provide a lawyer to anyone.

“When the MQM was developing Qatar hospital for its electorates in Orangi town, ANP was selling medicines of Kulsum Bai Valika Hospital in the medical stores of Metroville,” claims the ANP worker.

Political analyst Dr Tauseef Ahmed Khan, sees a lack of unity among Pashtuns and the growing religiosity as two of the many causes that failed to monetise the ‘Pashtun card’.

Former UC Nazim from Metroville in SITE Town of the city Abdul Razaq insists Pashtuns, though misled in past in the name of Pashtun nationalism, have always preferred ‘Pakistaniat’ over ethnic nationalism.

“Pashtuns have demonstrated political maturity, judging things above ethnic and sectarian lines,” says Razaq, who belongs to JI.

According to economist Kaiser Bengali, Pashtuns by 2045 will be in a majority – 33 per cent of the Karachi population.

Currently, Karachi houses more Pashtuns than Peshawar, Quetta and Kabul, among other cities of the world.

“But whether elected in the name of nationalism or otherwise, our representatives have done nothing for their neighbourhoods, says a Pashtun resident of Keamari. “Pashtun-dominated areas do not look like Karachi – poor infrastructure with a lack of basic facilities.”


Left, right and center

Naimat Khan

In Karachi, a sectarian group’s popularity has attracted both the liberals and the conservatives 

The PRHP has won 9 Union Committees, the party, which is considered a political front of ASWJ, claims

In a Pashtun neighborhood in Karachi, the left-liberal People’s Party and the sectarian group Pakistan Rahe Haq Party (PRHP) are campaigning together for the local council elections.

Residents of Muzaffarabad Colony, especially the elderly who had seen the ideology-driven politics of the 1970s, are astonished that the two parties – ideologically poles apart – are canvassing for a ‘joint panel’ in the local council.

And so is Dr Tauseef Ahmed Khan, a political analyst and a former chairman of the Mass Communication Department at the Federal Urdu University in Karachi. He is equally surprised that a sectarian group has become so strong that the province’s largest party is compromising on its principles to gain its support.

“We have also seen the Barelvi group Sunni Tehreek and the Shia group Majlis-e-Wahdatul Muslimeen becoming active in electoral politics,” he said. “This is not a good sign.”

“The MQM, the PTI and the Jamaat-e-Islami contacted us for seat adjustment, but we have decided to go independent, or to make alliances with other independent candidates,” said Asif Safvi, a spokesman for Majlis-e-Wahdatul Muslimeen. The group has fielded three “full panels” of candidates from the Soldier Bazaar, Jaffar Tayyar and Ancholi localities, where people belonging to the Shia school of thought are in majority. “As many as 47 candidates of our party are contesting for local councils in various parts of the city, and we are allying with many independent contesters as well.”

In Muzaffarabad Colony, Maulana Mohuiddin of the PRHP – a Deobandi group founded by a former leader of Sipah-e-Sahaba in 2012 – is running for the chairman of the union council, and Haji Misal Khan, associated with PPP, is his running mate, contesting for vice chairman.

There were reports that their election office was inaugurated by Taj Muhammad Hanafi, a leader of Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) – a sectarian political party believed to be an offshoot of Sipah-e-Sahaba. Local leaders of the People’s Party and the ASWJ attended the event, insiders said.

“The dynamics of local politics are different”

The union council falls in the Sindh Assembly constituency in which ASWJ President Maulana Aurangzeb Farooqi (then a candidate of Muttahida Deeni Mahaz, an alliance formed by influential Deobandi cleric Maulana Samiul Haq) bagged 23,625 votes for a narrow loss to MQM’s Waqar Hussain Shah, who got 23,827. The People’s Party candidate in the race could only get 482 votes.

“The dynamics of local politics are different from those of national politics,” says People’s Party Senator Saeed Ghani, who had visited the Deobandi seminary Jamia Banoria on November 12 to get the blessings of its principal Mufti Muhammad Naeem – among the city’s most influential religious leaders. “The PPP had given a free hand to its local leaders to make seat adjustments with various political groups and parties,” he said. Ghani said that the party’s Karachi chapter would probe the matter, but added that PPP candidates would only run under its own election symbol – the arrow.

“We have made electoral alliances with Jamaat-e-Islami and JUI-F in the past,” he said, “but we did not compromise on our principles.”

PPP is not the only liberal party to have made an alliance with the PRHP. In the city’s central district, the Awami National Party (ANP) and PRHP have fielded joint candidates for chairman and vice chairman in the Pashtun neighborhood of Pahar Jang.

“We have more than 250 candidates, and are supporting ANP’s panel in at least three union councils,” said Ashraf Memon, the Karachi chief of the PRHP.

In the UC-2 constituency of the Malir district council, the PRHP has allied with the PML-N. In UC-1, their chairman’s candidate has a Jamaat-e-Islami candidate as his running mate. The two parties have also made alliances in North Karachi.

The party has fielded its own candidates for the chairman and vice chairman of 15 union councils, of which five are in the West district of Karachi, three in the East, three in central district and two each in South district and Malir, Ashraf Memon told me. He said the West district and Malir were his party’s strongholds.

Established in 2012 by Hakeem Muhammad Ibrahim Qasimi – reportedly a former provincial leader of Sipah-e-Sahaba – the PRHP gained attention during the by-polls in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly constituency PK-95 in May this year. Its candidate, Qari Ziaul Haq Haideri, received more than 3,000 votes.

Qasmi – who had been elected to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on an MMA ticket – bagged 6,673 votes in the by-election in Peshawar’s NA-1 constituency vacated by Imran Khan. ANP’s Haji Ghulam Ahmed Bilour had won the by-poll with 34,386 votes.

The party fielded 20 candidates for district councils in Peshawar in the local elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, its information secretary Irshad Muhammad Haideri had told reporters.

In the first phase of local elections in Sindh, the party won two seats of councilors from Khairpur and Sukkur, and one of its candidate was elected unopposed in Tando Allahyar.

The PRHP spokesman said his party was not associated with the ASWJ. The ASWJ also insists the PRHP is separate entity. But the parties have very similar flags, and many ASWJ leaders are close to the PRHP. Some locals say they use both the names when campaigning.  “We are only supporting them,” said Umar Muawiya, the spokesman of ASWJ.

The writer is a Karachi based journalist


Twitter: @NKMalazai

Published In The Friday Times 

A Deobandi seminary that supports Liberal Left not JUI-F

By Naimat Khan

KARACHI: Thousands of Deobandi seminaries across Pakistan are considered source of electoral strength for the religious political party, JUI-F, but at least one of the major ones have chosen for the second time to announce its support to a liberal political party, it emerged on Thursday.

According to a statement issued by the ruling Pakistan People’s Party, Mufti Muhammad Naeem of Jamia Binoria Aalimiyah – an international Deobandi Islamic educational institute located in Karachi, Pakistan – has  announced to support PPP in the local bodies’ elections to be held on 3rd of December, next month.

According to PPP, the party delegation visited Jamia Binoria Aalimiyah and held a meeting with its administrator Mufti Muhammad Naeem, who assured them of full support local government elections.

“On this occasion Mufti Naeem said that Karachi needed development and for this there was dire need to resolve the problems of people above the political affiliation” the statement quotes him as saying and adding the same thinking was stimulus behind supporting PPP.

On this occasion Senator Saeed Ghani – who was leading the delegation – thanked Mufti Naeem for his support and assured him that the PPP will live up to the exceptions of the people. “According to the manifesto of PPP, masses are the source of power and PPP with the force of masses will defeat the opponents” the statement reads.

The Seminary, situated at 12 acres, imparts education to about 8 thousands students, male and female and is considered one of the few major Madrassahs of the Deobandi school of thought.

Also read: Ten-party alliance: When it goes breaking, a Call from Darul Uloom keeps it intact

Jamia Binoria Site – also known as Binoria University International and which was founded by the incumbent administrator Mufti Muhammad Naeem under the patronage of his father Qari Abdul Haleem in 1979 – had supported Muttahida Qaumi Movement in the 2008 general polls.

Instead of JUI-F, Mufti Naeem has always maintained good relations with Muttahida Qaumi Movement and PPP, source said. “This was the reason behind his announcement of support to MQM in 2008 and now PPP in 2015 local bodies’ polls”, a teacher associated with Madrassah said, recalling that when the MQM chief landed in hot waters for his condolence at the death of Sahibzadi Nasir Begum – wife of the chief of Jamaat-e- Ahmadiyya Mirza Masroor Ahmad, this was Mufti Naeem who issued a Fatwa in favor of MQM chief in July 2011.

Though many from his school of thought believed that the MQM chief Altaf Hussain had committed major sin by praying for a Qadianis, Mufti Naeem in his edict said MQM chief had done so in good faith and the same was not tantamount to belief of considering Qadiani as Muslims.

Mufti Naeem is also alleged of striking a secret deal between the MQM and owners of the Ali Enterprises, the garment factory which was put down to ashes with 258 people burnt alive. However, Naeem strongly rejects the allegations.

Though leaders of PPP have called it an achievement due to huge presence of the seminary’s students in Site Town, Wakeel Rehman, a senior reporter covering religious institutions and parties, downplays the importance of the support while citing some reasons.

“Religiously and academically the students and his religious followers follow Mufti Naeem but they pay least or no heeds to his political advices” said Rehman, adding the students have always supported JUI-F.

Published in The Frontier Post