3 Jun 2008, 1253 hrs IST,PTI
“Terrorists are now replacing the term jihad with the Islamic term ‘qattal’ for their acts,” Hasham Baber, additional secretary general of Pakistan’s Awami National Party said.
Hardline religious leaders in Pakistan are now using the new term because moderate Muslims have started denouncing the use of jihad by terrorists who indulge in violence in the name of Islam, said Baber.
Explaining the term ‘jihad’, Baber, who was in India to attend an anti-terrorism conference, said: “It is not about fighting a war or battle or even killing people but a struggle for peace. It means a collective decision to struggle.”
“Qattal, on the other hand, means I am allowed to kill a Hindu, Christian at will or even a Shia.”
Stressing that Islam does not permit killing of innocents, he said “Terrorism is being given a religious colour by fundamentalists out to achieve their skewed agenda.”
Baber, whose party is part of the newly-elected PPP-led coalition, said: “The religious education in Pakistan as whole has degenerated into bloodshed.”
The senior leader said what is now happening in the name of terrorism is nothing but proxy war.
“Today two countries don’t fight with each other. Terrorists are trained and are being sent out by establishments to wage proxy war with each other,” he claimed.
Baber, whose party has been at the forefront of fighting religious fundamentalists in Pakistan, said Kashmir is still a “burning issue” for many and violence in the subcontinent can be curbed only by a European Union set-up here.
“The borders should be opened up. We should all try and bring in a EU kind of set-up in the Indian sub-continent where people from both Pakistan and India can enter each other’s territory without any issue,” Baber said.
“Kashmir issue would then be solved there and then automatically.”
Baber said “even if we claim that Kashmir is a part of Pakistan because there is a Muslim majority in the state, we should sit across the table and discuss.”
Attacking Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, Baber said no democracy exists in the country and people have no rights.
“What is happening to Muslims in Pakistan, we have no democracy or rights. Our Constitution has been trampled. Our leadership should first put their own house in order and then we can say yes, Pakistan is a better place for Muslims than India,” he said.
Attacking the West for arming Mujahideens in Afghanistan in late 1970s, Baber said the onus of rectifying the mistake lies with the West.
“It was the rich West which armed the Mujahideens to fight the so called holy war and now they should arm the peace loving people with education and strength.
International donors and especially those countries who have been “awakened” by the 9/11 bombing should come forward to help the cause, he said, adding “it needs to be understood that terrorism existed even before the twin towers bombing”.