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The Urdu Press: Congress and Muslims

Shakeel Shamsi, the editor of Inquilab, has issued a clarification about Rahul Gandhi’s statement published by the paper on July 12.

Written by Seema Chishti |
July 21, 2018 1:12:46 am
the Urdu Press: Congress and Muslims Congress Chief Rahul Gandhi

Shakeel Shamsi, the editor of Inquilab, has issued a clarification about Rahul Gandhi’s statement published by the paper on July 12. The Congress president was reported to have told a group of Muslim intellectuals that the Congress is a party of Muslims. Shamsi writes: “On Thursday (July 12), Inquilab published a part of the discussion in a meeting between Congress President Rahul Gandhi and some Muslim intellectuals that was provided to us by a participant at that meeting. Normally, no notice is taken of such reports published in Urdu papers. But the editor of the Urdu weekly Nai Duniya, Janab Shahid Siddiqui, gave a new shape to the headline of our report with his tweet. This tweet was picked up by a news channel and broadcast with the headline, ‘Congress is a Muslim Party: Rahul Gandhi’. Our report had actually said, ‘the Congress President Rahul Gandhi has said that the Congress is a party of Muslims because the country’s Muslims are weak and Congress has always stood with the weak’. We issued a clarification in Inquilab the next day and also carried a column on the issue. But some leaders of the Congress kept on describing our report as fake news. Some alleged that Inquilab is an agent of the RSS…Our report was absolutely correct. Then, the chief of the Minority Cell of the Congress, Nadeem Javed, described the Inquilab report as correct. We published his version too with a prominent headline. Subsequently, Shahid Siddiqui Saheb tweeted again to the effect that one group of Congress is saying something and its Minority Cell is saying something else. He asked Rahul Gandhi to issue a clarification. Consequently, cameras of all news channels were turned towards Inquilab. I keep away from TV discussions. So, I requested (my colleague) Mumtaz Rizvi to respond to the questions raised by the channels. But I was persuaded by some friends to appear on TV. I said that our newspaper is not guilty of dishonesty. In fact, Shahid Siddiqui Saheb had a very important role in the entire matter. He tweeted wrong translations of our report, which were picked up by the BJP…We hope that those who are accusing us of disseminating fake news will re-think their position after the statement of the chief of the Congress’s Minority Cell, and ask for god’s forgiveness.”

Nawaz Sharif’s Return

In an editorial on July 10, Munsif notes, “Pakistan’s political analysts believe that the decision of former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, and his daughter Maryam Nawaz, to return home knowing full well that they would be arrested, would give new hope to the workers of the Pakistan Muslim League (N). What could be the possible reason for this decision? Apart from hoping for a victory in the elections on July 25, does Nawaz Sharif want to reverse the history after 2001 (when he had to go on an exile for 10 years)? He has taken a huge political gamble. But if Nawaz Sharif hadn’t taken this decision, his opponents and the group under the leadership of Imran Khan would have won easily.”

Akhbar-e -Mashriq’s editorial on the same day points out: “In April 2016, Pakistani paper Dawn had noted that the Pakistan army had given clear signals that it wanted Nawaz Sharif out after it had clashed with the government during a meeting. Its intense hatred for Nawaz Sharif has led the army to promote Imran Khan. It has also cleared the way for the participation of the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba chief Hafiz Saeed in the general elections. There has also been immense pressure on the media.”

Sharia courts debate

Noted Islamic scholar Akhtar-ul-Wasey has commented on the All India Muslim Personal Law Board’s decision to establish Darul Qazas or Sharia Courts in each district of the country. In his signed column published by Rashtriya Sahara on July 14, Wasey writes, “Following Independence, Muslims, using their constitutional right, established Darul Qazas and Sharia Panchayats to resolve family conflicts… This is not a formal court system and is not in conflict with the country’s legal system. Therefore, a Darul Qaza does not have the right to issue notices nor does it have any power to get its decisions implemented. It does not have the power to sentence a person to physical punishment. Apart from reducing the burden on the country’s courts, the Darul Qaza system does not involve the services of lawyers and other expenses. It is not expensive… People accept the decisions of Darul Qaza with satisfaction.”

Siasat’s editorial on July 11 notes: “Sharia courts have been working for a long time in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, particularly in Hyderabad. These courts have a system of counselling married couples, which leads to amicable resolution of conflicts. The Sharia courts of Hyderabad are doing such work in a satisfactory manner.”

Akhbar-e-Mashriq, on the same day, writes: “The decisions of Darul Qazas are advisory and voluntary. They cannot be forced on anyone. It is important to understand this.”

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