March Issue 2003
Interview: Qazi Hussain Ahmed
“The Jamaat-i-Islami has no knowledge about the Al-Qaeda”
– Qazi Hussain Ahmed, Amir, Jamaat-i-Islami
A: Khalid Shaikh has not been arrested from the residence of any Jamaat-i-Islami Pakistan party member. The lady whose house was raided has categorically denied the allegation that Khalid Shaikh was arrested from her house. Her son, who was arrested from her house, is mentally retarded and is enlisted in the United Nations Organisation as a special child.
Q: Then why the reports that Jamaat-i-Islami’s women party members are being used to shield Al-Qaeda operatives. Both Khalid Shaikh and two Al-Qaeda operatives in Karachi were recovered from the homes of women activists of the Jamaat-i-Islami?
A: No Al-Qaeda member has ever been arrested from any Jamaat woman member’s house, neither in Karachi nor in Rawalpindi. Jamaat-i-Islami Pakistan does not allow its members to enter into any illegal activity. It is an open politico-religious party that functions according to its constitution. Jamaat has more than 50 years of established traditions that are well known to the people of Pakistan, as well as to any person who has been observing the political history of Pakistan. All its members are bound to work within the precints of the constitution, and according to the law of the land.
Q: A Jamaat leader has gone on record calling Osama bin Laden and the Al-Qaeda heroes. What is your comment?
A: Osama bin Laden has become the symbol of anti-Americanism because of the anti-American sentiments prevailing throughout the world. As long as these sentiments are present, Osama bin Laden will be considered a hero by people around the world, irrespective of whether we agree with him or not.
Q: What is the Jamaat’s position on Al-Qaeda? Is there a Jamaat/Al-Qaeda nexus?
A: Jamaat-i-Islami Pakistan has no knowledge about the Al-Qaeda. There are widespread doubts regarding the very existence of any such organisation. It appears that the label of Al-Qaeda is used as a pretext to promote the vested interests of certain countries, groups and individuals, without presenting any credible evidence — and without going through proper legal procedures.
Q: Do you fear that the US may brand the Jamaat a terrorist group?
A: No, we have no such apprehensions.
Q: What are the political implications for the Jamaat in the wake of Khalid Shaikh’s arrest?
A: Khalid Shaikh’s arrest has no political implications for the Jamaat.
Q: Is the Jamaat heading towards a confrontation with the army? Isn’t your boycott of Parliament sessions in protest against the LFO aimed at deflecting attention from the increasingly incriminating evidence of the Jamaat’s links with Al-Qaeda.
A: No, we do not intend to enter into any confrontation with the ruling party or the army. All the opposition parties have adopted a unanimous stance in Parliament.