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Right-wing divided

32 6 113

WHEN Donald Trump made the umpteenth provocative policy statement of his presidency last week by declaring that the US would recognise Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Israel, it was reasonable to expect that the religious right across the Muslim world would front a ferocious reaction, with Pakistan no exception.

Well, it hasn’t happened yet, at least not in our land of the pure.

This is intriguing, especially in the immediate aftermath of the Faizabad dharna, which for many signalled the culmination of the religious right’s rise to a position of almost unchallenged cultural hegemony. Why has the religious lobby made no attempt to capitalise on a clearly emotive issue and further consolidate the gains made by Rizvi & co?

Parties such as the JI and JUI are wary of the newcomers.

At least part of the answer was provided by an Islamabad High Court judge immediately after the dharna was called off. In lambasting the compromise, including the role of the army in brokering it, the learned judge indicated that state personnel and institutions — some of whom constitute what we call the ‘establishment’ — are hardly on the same page about Islam, and what posture the state of Pakistan should adopt towards the religious right.


© Dawn