Published On: Wed, Jun 1st, 2016

Justice is the Central Point of Islam: Sheikh Tajamul Islam

 

Sheikh Tajamul Islam is a renowned Kashmiri scholar and the Director of Kashmir Media Service. He has been since long based in Pakistan, running the media and diplomatic campaign on Kashmir dispute. In an exclusive interview in Islamabad, Pakistan, Sheikh talks with the Kashmir Scan’s Rameez Makhdoomi. Following are the excerpts.

RM: How far has the Kashmir dispute progressed in 2016?

ST: With time, the Kashmir dispute has got entangled in several complexities. Kashmir was a simple dispute in 1947 as the majority composition of Muslims made Jammu & Kashmir part of Pakistan, but it became complex soon. We need to bear in mind that Pakistan was carved out on account of aspirations and wishes of Muslims of the subcontinent. By logic and rationale, Kashmir had to be part of Pakistan. The Indian Congress leaders did not allow Kashmir to become part of Pakistan as it was their predefined plan. They also did not implement their own promise of plebiscite.

The Kashmir dispute was also put on Chapter six of United Nations and thus role was limited to mediation only. During Cold War, the Kashmir issue was put on the back-burner. The hegemonic attitude of Indian state and by fraud drafting in 1957 its own constitution of Jammu and Kashmir, the lack of will and consciousness among global community and organisations and betrayal of some prominent leaders of Kashmir, converted it into a complex dispute.

Justice is the Central Point of Islam: Sheikh Tajamul Islam

Justice is the Central Point of Islam: Sheikh Tajamul Islam

RM: Today Palestine is being recognised as a nation state by many countries while as there has been no such breakthrough on Kashmir dispute. Your take?

ST: Palestine has also been subjected to a lot of injustices. We are overhyping the breakthroughs on Palestine issue. Even if it comes across as a country, the current strategy and line of action shows it would be a life-less state with no Army. On the other hand, Kashmir dispute has seen lot of positive transformation in current era. The young generation of Kashmir, especially its students and youth, are aware about Kashmir cause and struggle despite this generation not witnessing 1947 or the turmoil of recent decades. The new generation protests against India and subjugation of Kashmir and their pro-resistance attitude is a hope for us.

RM: When Kashmiris participate in impressive numbers in elections under Indian system, do people like you not face diplomatic setback and questions?

ST: Indian governments since long have used the elections in Kashmir as a propaganda tool to portray it as a  substitute to the plebiscite and yes, when Kashmiris show participation in elections, questions are raised. But we need to bear in mind that the UN resolutions and other basis governing the Kashmir dispute have made it clear that these elections are meaningless and have nothing to do with resolution. In plebiscite, there are clear options for resolutions while as there is no such option in these elections which involves only the favourites of India.

Global community might have been lacklustre in its response to Kashmir dispute, but they have not bought this Indian argument that elections are related to resolution.

RM: Recently, when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was here in Pakistan in a surprise visit, don’t you feel that peace overtures between two countries are strengthening and we will expect meaningful talks on all issues soon?

 

ST: It is my strong opinion and belief that the Indian state always wants status quo on the Kashmir dispute and same suits it. Until India does not leave this attitude, no amount of visits of top leaders to one another’s country will yield results.

 

RM: India’s counter argument is that whenever they are on peace and resolution overtures, they face violent terror attacks?

 

ST: First of all, we cannot say who is behind all these attacks in our region. Even if we buy completely Indian arguments of facing attacks, the basic cause of these violence is the Indian suppression in Kashmir and ignoring basic Kashmir dispute. Peace process on actual resolutions has never run between two countries.

Indian stubbornness is the basic irritant. Common man of India, Pakistan and Kashmir want peace as we recognise peace is a prerequisite for progress.

 

RM: When Muslims wreak havoc on each other in Pakistan, Iraq, Syria etc. and scores are killed in sectarian killings, a sane Muslim youth gets depressed and confused. Your take?

 

ST: No doubt the present bloodshed in Muslim countries is painful, but we need to trace its roots. There are two reasons behind  it. First of all, when the Ottoman Caliphate collapsed, Muslims got divided into nation states. In Islam, there is a concept of one Ummah. These nation states lead to chaos and problems.

Secondly, some of the bigoted minds think that only their School of Thought is right and decide Islam and kufr on the basis of their schools of thoughts. The reality is that no school of thought among Muslims is correct A to Z and no one is wrong A to Z. We need to understand these realities and promote unity.

RM: Pakistan, according to critics, has failed to live up to the vision of Ali Mohaamad Jinnah and Allama Iqbal, especially when it comes to issues of minorities and women?

ST: Yes Pakistan has failed to live to the vision of its founders like Jinnah and Iqbal who were the great men of Islam and farsighted, brilliant personalities. Minorities have their issues in Pakistan but them facing any state suppression is just a false notion created by some vested interests while as Pakistan, like many other countries, has failed its women. Women continue to face injustice here.

RM: Why is the Muslim world caught in so much of strife?

 

ST: An unfortunate thing about Muslims since many decades has been that we have closed the doors of ijtihaad. We are in dire need of mujtahid and mujtahida. The central point of Islam is justice, and if we leave that, Muslims will reach nowhere. Islam allows us to take cognisance of cultural and technological developments but unfortunately some bigots and misguided people are trying to hijack the discourse in Muslim countries which harms us.

BLURB

 

Indian stubbornness is the basic irritant. Common man of India, Pakistan and Kashmir want peace since we recognise peace as a prerequisite for progress.

 

Minorities have their issues in Pakistan but them facing any state suppression is a false notion created by some vested interests.

About the Author

Kashmir Scan

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