Ashrafi’s taunt; the responsibility of Afghan Ulema

Wednesday, 24 January 2018 03:39 Written by  Heart of Asia Read 295 times

Sarcasm is always a turning point for the wise. Many people realize their missteps only when they are called out on it. Response to a sarcastic remark becomes really serious when it is made by the enemy. Pakistan’s Ulema Council Chairman Tahir Ashrafi has made interesting and sarcastic remarks in response to Afghan President Ghani’s reaction to the fatwa recently issued by Pakistani clerics declaring suicide attacks to be ‘haram’ (un-Islamic) in Pakistan. President Ghani criticized the fatwa, saying it should have covered the entire Islamic world, including Afghanistan since fatwas issued under Islam have never been confined to the geographical boundaries of a single nation. Tahir Ashrafi has said Pakistan’s clerics issue fatwas in accordance with situation of their country, stressing that Pakistani Ulema can do anything their country’s best interests require, so Afghan clerics should also follow the same path.


 No doubt such statements cannot justify the destructive role Pakistan is playing in Afghan conflict. Pakistan, especially the ISI-backed clerics such as Ashrafi, is the major culprit in the ongoing tragedy in Afghanistan. This is not a new issue; Pakistan has fueled war in Afghanistan using religious extremist groups since the Afghan Jihad against the Soviets.

The recent religious edict by Pakistani clerics is confined to Pakistan, and therefore cannot help improve things in Afghanistan. Pakistan again proved its duplicity. Afghan government had asked Pakistani military and intelligence leaders during their last visit to Kabul to encourage Pakistan’s clerics to issue a fatwa calling the war in Afghanistan “un-Islamic”, but they outlawed suicide attacks only in Pakistan. The move was not motivated by the sense that Pakistani clerics or intelligence circles now care, and have a regard for the lives of innocent people; it was rather a tactic to relieve Pakistan of international pressures. 

The sarcastic nature of Ashrafi’s comments seriously questions the role of Afghan clerics to help contain and end the war. Besides, members of the Taliban leadership, who also consider themselves scholars, have also been sternly challenged. The majority of Taliban who view Pakistani clerics as their spiritual leaders should revisit their stance on Afghan war following Ashrafi’s statements. If Pakistani religious scholars can issue fatwas to protect their country’s political interests, why cannot Afghan clerics do so? It is right to say that a major part of the Afghan conflict has the nature of an intelligence war, yet there is no way to rule out the manipulation and misuse of the religious sentiments of Afghan people in the ongoing war in the country. It is the responsibility of the government to eliminate all factors that give people a pretext to join the insurgency. 


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