Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Floods Reveal the Failure of Pakistan's Political System

Although no longer in the headlines, the floods continue to impact our brothers and sisters in Pakistan. According to the UN, 20 million people still continue to be affected by the floods. As an Ummah we cannot rely on the Pakistani government or any other Muslim government to alleviate the suffering of our brothers and sisters. Instead, we must dissociate ourselves from these governments and work to re-establish the Khilafah Rashidah in Pakistan and in the rest of the Muslim world according to the method of RasulAllah صلى الله عليه وسلم.

As reported in the Express Tribune, the UN High Commissioner of Refugees stated that, "the situation remained ‘critically difficult' in some areas, while shelter and recovery for hundreds of thousands of people was still short nearly 10 weeks since flooding began." He also stated that, "we need to draw the international community's attention that the emergency in Pakistan is not over...Making sure 20 million people are rehabilitated I think is an international obligation: we are looking at a geopolitical situation where the stability of Pakistan we feel is in everybody's interest." Channel 4 reported that seven weeks after the initial trip to Chek Hisara, the government has still not visited the people as they continue to suffer under miserable conditions. Akhtar Munir told Channel 4: "We have no shelter. Children are suffering from diseases. There are not enough medicines. The government has not done anything."

Flood Aftermath: Continued suffering

Based on various media reports the following numbers paint a picture of the current situation of our brothers and sisters in Pakistan:

• 20 million need some type of assistance due to the floods. To put in perspective, this would represent about 95% of the combined populations of Ontario and Quebec.
• 6 million children have been impacted, which is more than the population of the Greater Toronto Area.
• 3.5 million children are affected by diseases, such as diarrhea, dysentery, and are at the risk of cholera.
• 2.7 million people are displaced in the hard hit areas of Balochistan and Sindh.

Pakistani Political Class: Unapologetically Corrupt
Despite having had over two months to put together an action plan to resolve the crisis, the Zardari-Gilani government continues to act in a criminally negligent manner. As noted above, the flood victims have been left to fend for themselves. Instead of acting resolutely to alleviate the suffering of the people, the government is debating the levying of a flood tax. Some may argue it is the only way to raise funds as the Pakistani economy is bankrupt. However, the ruling elite had no problem spending $35 billion on America's so called war on terror. In other words, attending to the flood victims is not a priority - but acting as America's lap dog is. Furthermore, the corruption is not limited to Zardari (who was too busy vacationing in Europe when the crisis was unfolding) or Gilani (who staged a visit to a fake flood relief camp with paid actors pretending to be flood victims), but it is also widespread in the political class at large. A report released by the Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency (PILDAT) found that the average value of declared assets of a Member of the National Assembly (MNA) had tripled in six years from Rs. 27 million in 2002-2003 to almost Rs. 81 million 2008-2009. The report found the richest MNA to be from the PPP with Rs. 3.288 billion, while the second richest MNA was from the PML-N with Rs. 1.627 billion. These MNAs continue to become wealthier in a time when life is a struggle for the average person in Pakistan hit by the economic downturn, rising costs, and an unreliable power supply. As noted in an editorial piece for the Pakistani newspaper The Nation, the tripling of MNA assets "cannot fail to raise eyebrows and create all kinds of doubts, considering the corruption-ridden society we live in." The shameless response of both Prime Minister Gilani and the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, to the report was to blame the media for not scrutinizing the assets of the judiciary, the army and others!

Obligation to cut ties from the System
The continuing tragedy of the floods illustrates the criminal negligence of not just the ruler, but the entire political system, the politicians, and the political parties, which are an integral part of the system. This system is beyond redemption and it is an obligation on all Muslims (in Pakistan or outside of Pakistan) to completely sever all ties and withdraw any support from the political system. This is based on the following ahadith by the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم:

"There will be rulers after me, whoever testifies to their falsehood and lies, and helped them in their treachery, he is not from me, and I am not from him (i.e. I have nothing to do with him). He shall not come near me at the cistern (Hawdh Kauthar). And whoever does not testify to their falsehood and does not help them in their treachery, he is from me and I am from him and he shall meet me at the Hawdh." [an-Nasa'i]

"There will be rulers who will do things that you recognize and things that you reject. Whoever opposed them will be saved; whoever stays away from them will be secure, and whoever mixes with them will be destroyed." [Al-Tabarani]

These ahadith make it clear that a Muslim cannot be neutral when it comes to the treacherous rulers and the corrupt political system. Instead, it is a fard (obligation) that we completely distance ourselves from their treachery and lies.

Consequently, a Muslim cannot be involved with the government in any way. This means that we:

• Do not support or endorse the policies or laws that are proposed or implemented by the ruling or the opposition party(s),
• Do not join or promote any political party running for office,
• Do not vote for any of the parties that run for election,
• Convince relatives, co-workers, neighbors, and others that they must not support any of the political parties, get involved in the political process, or vote in the elections.

• Expose the lies, corruption, and criminal negligence of those who are involved in the political process.

No real change can ever come through the existing political system. This system, that was inherited from the colonial era, can never be reformed or improved, or bring any good to the Muslims. It will always oppress the ruled for the sake of the rulers because in its essence it is a kufr system built upon the implementation of the whims and desires of the colonial masters and its agent rulers. The same applies whether the ruler is a dictator, part of an assembly of parliamentarians or even a group of technocrats and "clean politicians". America first swapped Nawaz Sharif for Musharraf. Then when Musharraf attracted the anger of the Ummah, they swapped him for Zardari. Eventually, they will replace Zardari with some other agent. It is a system of whims and desires which exploits the ruled and denies them their rights and the blessings that Allah سبحانه وتعالى bestowed upon them. Indeed, Allah سبحانه وتعالى ordered that we rule by what He سبحانه وتعالى has revealed:
فَاحْكُمْ بَيْنَهُمْ بِمَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ ۖ وَلَا تَتَّبِعْ أَهْوَاءَهُمْ عَمَّا جَاءَكَ مِنَ الْحَقِّ
"And rule between them by all that which Allah revealed to you, and do not follow their vain desires away from the truth which came to you." [Al-Maaida, 5:48]

Pakistan: The Challenge of Leadership

The current state of the Ummah in Pakistan with the floods, the continuous American bombardment, and the internal strife should not blind us from the fact that Pakistan is a wealthy country with significant potential. The country has the 7th largest army in the world, a population that is larger than Russia's and significant mineral and energy resources. But most important of all, it is full of people who believe in Allah سبحانه وتعالى and His Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم. The following numbers give an idea of how wealthy Pakistan actually is:
Agriculture - Pakistan's largest food crop is wheat. Pakistan produces over 21 million metric tons of wheat, nearly as much as Canada (22.7 million metric tons; according to Statistics Canada). Pakistan is the 12th largest agricultural producer in the world with an agrarian output of $32 billion annually.
Thar Coal - The Thar Coal Field in Sindh is the world's largest coal field. The export of Thar Coal would generate revenues of over $1 trillion. Converted into oil, Thar Coal would generate over 650 billion barrels of crude oil, at the current market rate of $80 that would generate $5.2 trillion.
Reko Diq minerals - Reko Diq, a town in Baluchistan, possesses the world's 5th largest reserve of copper and over 20 million ounces of untapped gold reserves. Pakistan's gold reserves alone would bring in revenues of $25 billion (at current price of approximately $1300/oz).
Khewra Salt Mines - The Khewra Salt Mines has an estimated total of 220 million tonnes of rock salt deposits. At current market rates this would bring in revenues of $13.2 billion.
Off-shore oil - It is believed that the potential off-shore oil reserves range from 6 billion to 6 trillion barrels of oil. Successive governments in Pakistan have failed to carry out a scientific evaluation to determine the amount of oil that exists - once again demonstrating their incompetence and negligence.

Pakistan is therefore an immensely wealthy country, but its people are unable to benefit from the wealth due to the corrupt political system that governs them. Therefore, this system must be removed for the people to be able to enjoy the justice that the laws of Allah سبحانه وتعالى will bring when they are implemented, and to have access to the wealth that Allah سبحانه وتعالى has bestowed on Pakistan. Not to mention that Pakistan can become with Allah's سبحانه وتعالى Will, the birth place of the second Khilafah Rashidah whose time draws nearer by the day.

The Way of the Prophet: The only Method for Change
   When seeking a way out of the current turmoil that has gripped the Ummah in Pakistan and all Muslim lands it is crucial to turn to the book of Allah سبحانه وتعالى and the Sunnah of RasulAllah صلى الله عليه وسلم. Any other method will fail. In Pakistan, we must work with the sincere groups who are working for real change. Real change can only come by replacing the entire system with what Allah سبحانه وتعالى has prescribed for us: the Khilafah State. Hizb-ut-Tahrir works in Pakistan and the Muslim lands to fulfill this obligation to re-establish the Khilafah Rashidah. In order to accomplish this obligation, the Party has adopted the method of RasulAllah صلى الله عليه وسلم, which includes giving halaqat with the goal of attaining the Islamic personality, interacting with the Ummah to create positive public opinion for Islam, and seeking the support from the people of power and influence. Hizb-ut-Tahrir restricts its activities to intellectual and political means (e.g. discussion, leaflets, conferences, etc), as RasulAllah صلى الله عليه وسلم restricted himself to such means and forbade the Sahabah from using armed struggle in establishing the Islamic State. He صلى الله عليه وسلم also did not participate in the political system of the Quraish: Dar-al Nadwa. Consequently, Hizb-ut-Tahrir does not involve itself in the democratic systems. Instead, the Party works to expose the lies and treachery of the rulers and those who support them, as we have done in this article.

May Allah سبحانه وتعالى grant victory to His Deen through the work of the sincere Muslims.

وَعَسَىٰ أَنْ تَكْرَهُوا شَيْئًا وَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَكُمْ ۖ وَعَسَىٰ أَنْ تُحِبُّوا شَيْئًا وَهُوَ شَرٌّ لَكُمْ ۗ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ وَأَنْتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ

"It could be that you dislike something and it is Good for you and it could be that you like something and it is Bad for you. Allah knows and you know not" [Al-Baqara, 2:216]

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