The Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) board is meeting to discuss plans for its ‘million man march’ in Karachi against the Supreme Court’s acquittal of Asia Bibi — a Christian woman who was condemned to death on blasphemy charges by the lower courts.
The alliance parties’ heads are Maulana Fazlur Rehman of his eponymous faction of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam, Sen. Sirajul Haq, president of of the Jamaat-i-Islami, Allama Sajid Mir of Jamiat Ahle Hadith and Allama Sajid Naqvi of Tehreek-i-Islami.
The were settling down, when the door opened violently and a visibly agitated Fazalur Rahman headed straight to Sirajul Haq and grabbed him by his beard and shook him shouting, “It is you… you… and you who created this menace… this Imran Khan. In 2013, you abandoned us and helped him form a coalition government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which became a springboard for his success in 2018 elections. In return what did you get… this Senate seat!
“Listen loud and clear. I am agreeing to this march, but we will continue this [countrywide agitation] till this government is toppled. [Murmuring under his breath to himself, he says, ‘I miss my diesel import permits.’] Look no deals.
“See, how crafty is Imran. First he signed an agreement [with Khadim Hussain Rizivi of Tehreek-e Labbaik Pakistan], and now he has set the FIA upon them [protesters who incited violence and damaged public property]. Not just that but also his minister [of state for interior Shehryar Afridi] has asked FIA, National Database Registration Authority (NADRA) and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to identify the rioters. Hundreds have been rounded up within two days.
“We must learn from our brother, Asif Zardari who never leaves a trace of anything he does. Rizivi should have learnt from him.”
Siraj-ul-Haq, trying to calm down Fazlur Rahman, declares, “Our Tehreek-i-Hurmat-i-Rasool (THR; Movement for the honor of the Prophet) march will start from Karachi and culminate in Chitral.
“We must take a page out of Rizivi’s book. He markets a simplified version of religious causes (Finality of Prophethood and anti-blasphemy stance). This is why our campaign has a single objective …”
Maulana Fazal interrupts, “You mean kicking out Imran’s government … [and in a whisper… restoring my diesel import permits].
“I say that we must demand that we will keep the country in lockout till Imran defies the court’s order and hangs this woman. You know what next … [chief justice] Saqib Nisar will summon Imran for contempt of court and ban him for life!”
Sirajul Haq, once again trying to calm the Maulana, adds, “Do you mean that we do the type of violence that Rizivi generated?”
Maulana Fazal thunders angrily, “Siraj have your lost your mind? I said that we will lock down the entire country, including hospitals and courts!
“Siraj, we have to stand together. You know how hard I worked trying to get Zardari and Nawaz Sharif together so they could jointly take down Imran, but both chickened out. The NAB [National Accountability Bureau] sword hanging on them has them scared to their roots. See how both cooperated with Imran on the Rizivi protests. You see how Imran’s information minister was thanking them for their ‘maturity’ and their cooperation with the government on the matter.
“What maturity! They are chicken… actually an insult to chicken.”
Sajid Mir and Sajid Naqvi speaking simultaneously ask, “But won’t people say that we are just copying Rizivi’s initiative?”
Maulana Fazal, as agitated as ever, states, “Don’t you worry. Religion card is our only card. I am going to get on TV talkshows and tell people that Rizvi and his group are Barelvis [school of thought] and their campaigns cannot be properly classified as Islamic. Only what we do is Islamic.
“My friends if this does not work, I am going to meet with Edward Holmes [U.S. chargé d’affaires ad interim in Pakistan, pending the appointment of an ambassador] and assure him that if America helps me become prime minister, I will jettison their hated CPEC [China–Pakistan Economic Corridor]. And when all the Arab countries have befriended Israel, I will also promise him that I will get close to Israel through [Saudi crown prince] Mohammed Bin Salman.
“My dear Siraj, Sajid Mir and Sajid Naqvi, there is no need to mention afore that we will affect violence. We know that power drifts towards the mob, that the state reduces to a hollow apparatus before street power, so we will let loose street power. We cannot let this NAB… this FIA… this Supreme Court ruin our livelihoods. We will free Asif and Nawaz from fear. Imran Khan has stifled our right to reap rewards for pubic service.”