Written by Tufail Ahmad
On Twitter, Jihadist Groups Advocate Establishment of Islamic Caliphate in Pakistan
The micro-blogging website Twitter, like other social networking sites such as Facebook and the video-sharing website YouTube, has emerged as a major publisher for jihadist and militant organizations worldwide.
Hizbut Tahrir Pakistan, an Islamist group campaigning for the establishment of a worldwide Islamic caliphate, posts a vast amount of content on the Internet, including via its Twitter account, Media Office Hizb-PK @HTmediaPAK.
On its profile, @khilafistan – "the Land of Caliphate" – declares its objective as "P
Abu Dawood is the ninth-century collector of Hadiths – sayings and deeds – of Islam's Prophet Muhammad, and is considered an authoritative source. The Arabic word "Al-Hindh" refers to India, which included Pakistan until August 1947.
On January 17, 2012, it posted a tweet saying "Pakistan needs pure change #Khilafah." The same day, another of its tweets stressed the need for foundational change in the Pakistani state: "A house in need of demolition is never taken down from inside, neither is it rebuilt by entering it. Change system from outside..."
On January 16, it described democracy as "shattered glass," adding that anyone claiming to fix it is an "utter liar or plain stupid" in a retweeted post: "System of #Democracy is like a shattered glass& any1 who states they can fix it is an Utter Liar or plain STUPID..." On the same day, it criticized Pakistani politician Imran Khan for his silence on a recent U.S. drone strike in the Pakistani tribal region.
In a tweet dated January 16, 2012, it stressed the need for an Islamic for economic progress. This particular tweet contained a weblink that takes the reader to an article on the website of Hizbut Tahrir Pakistan. The article is titled "The Quest for Economic Progress – An Islamic Blueprint for Pakistan."
The following are excerpts from the article, which itself contains another link to a 95-page e-book of the same title:
"At this point in time when Capitalist economic solutions have a virtual monopoly in the discussion of economics for both Muslims and kuffar [infidels], it is critical that a working alternative model is presented to the world. As the recent Credit Crunch has shaken the global Capitalist structure to its very foundations, people world-wide are questioning its practical stability and intellectual validity. As the bankruptcy of Capitalist thought is revealed, there is an urgent need to replace it with a practical alternative model that is based upon sound ideas and has a pedigree of success.
"This book is a presentation of a practical alternative Islamic economic model, with Pakistan as a case study, on which to build a dynamic and innovative economy fit for the 21st Century. Addressing areas as diverse as agriculture to energy, this book is a blueprint for turning a resource rich yet poorly managed country like Pakistan from an economic dependent to a global power. This model draws upon the juristic works of Islamic scholars and applies their research in an unprecedented fashion, bringing together years of Islamic scholastic tradition with the needs of the modern world…."
On January 16, 2012, @khilafistan posted a tweet giving a link to Urdu-language books called an Islamic manifesto for Pakistan, and other books on caliphate and democracy. The tweet included a forward link hizb-pakistan.com, the Urdu-language website of Hizbut Tahrir Pakistan.
One of its retweets, dated January 13, asked how many Kashmiris delivered babies on their way to hospital when they were stopped by Indian security forces during the last 25 years. A January 12 tweet included a quote: "The Arab Spring is about Islam and the movements are calling for Khilafat-e-Rashidah" – i.e. rule of the four caliphs of Islam.
A January 4, 2012 tweet stressed that this is now time for the Islamic caliphate in Pakistan and that there is a need to free Pakistan from the influence of NATO, President Asif Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani. It said: "Our forefathers left India & many gave their lives to create #Pakistan, not to become slaves under #NATO #Zardari & #Gilani. Time4 #Khilafah".
A January 13, 2012 tweet reiterated that the land of India was opened up by Muhammad bin Qasim, the Arab general who conquered Sindh and Punjab in 711AD, to Islamic rule. The tweet noted: "Muhammad bin Qasim opened up this land for the Islamic State, it is time we returned it back to its rightful position as Khilafah…"
A December 29, 2011 tweet declared democracy to be an infidel system, stating: "Democracy, a system of Kufr, can never produce the purity of Islam, Shariah [Islamic law] is a unique system applied via Khilafah…" A December 30, 2011 tweet noted: "Pakistan - the pure land for the pure by the pure with it's [sic] capital Islam-abad (where Islam flourishes), beautiful names our ancestors chose."
Another tweet, dated December 30, 2011, reiterated its profile message: "Pakistan ka mathlab kiya? La-illaha-illAllah! Pakistan banega Khilafah... Prophet (saw) said: I feel a cool breeze from Al-Hindh (Abu Dawood)."
A number of posts on both Twitter accounts indicate that they are re-tweeting each other's posts, and that therefore the two accounts might belong to the Hizbut Tahrir Pakistan. The tweets on the official Twitter account of Hizbut Tahrir carry a similar message in favour of the establishment of Islamic caliphate in Pakistan.
One tweet, dated January 7, 2012, criticized a recent interview with former Pakistani military ruler General Pervez Musharraf, in which he argued that Pakistan should "accept Israel" in order to gain diplomatic advantages over India and internationally. A December 31, 2011 tweet noted: "It is not new that rulers in the Muslim world have exploited the name of Islam to fulfill their political desires…"
Stressing the need for establishing Islamic caliphate in Pakistan, a January 6 tweet argued that "only the Khilafah will bring real change" in Pakistan.
On December 16, which marks the fall of Dhaka in 1971, leading to the secession of East Pakistan and then Bangladesh, it sent a tweet link to an SMS sent to Pakistani journalists and influential individuals. The Urdu text of the SMS reads: "Fall of Dhaka: Years ago, military and political traitors cut off East Pakistan at the behest of the United States. Once again today, traitors like [Pakistan Army chief General Ashfaq] Kayani and [President Asif] Zardari are destroying the rest of the country at the hint from the United States. It will only be Caliphate that will once again unify the Muslim brothers of Bangladesh and Pakistan – Media Office, Hizbut Tahrir Pakistan."
The group also tweets information regarding the activities of like-minded groups in other countries. A December 30, 2011 tweet noted how Hizbut Tahrir in Kyrgyzstan was launching activities on the Internet despite a government ban, stating: "Hizb ut-Tahrir banned in Kyrgyzstan launches active propaganda in Internet…."
Letter to Pakistani Soldiers: "The Pakistan Armed Forces are the Seventh Largest in the World, and An Established Nuclear Power, and… Capable of Neutralizing the Regional U.S. Military Footprint; So Is the U.S. Willing, Let Alone Capable, of Absorbing Such An Assault"
A December 30, 2011 tweet linked to an open letter issued by Hizbut Tahrir, urging Pakistani soldiers to rebel against the government and establish Islamic caliphate in Pakistan. The following are excerpts from the letter:
"To the Generals, Air Marshalls, Navy Admirals and Officers of the Pakistan Armed Forces
"Respected Brothers in Islam,
"We Hizb ut Tahrir address you in our capacity as a global political party, whose ideology is Islam. We are well known to you and so is our agenda, which is working for the establishment of the Islamic State, the Khilafah. Hizb ut Tahrir is the only global party that works throughout the Muslim world to liberate the Muslims from the hegemony of the colonialist powers, the foremost being America….
"We address you in your capacity as the actual rulers of Pakistan. It is an open secret that not only do you command the largest Muslim armed forces in the world, you also through the ISI [Inter-Services Intelligence of Pakistani military], exert a commanding influence over the civilian institutions, the parliament and the judiciary. Being the real rulers of this country, only through you can the Ummah be liberated from the current crises, hardship and calamities that that she faces at the hands of the Western capitalist states, or you can lead her to further destruction….
"It is inevitable that pursuing America's interests will compromise those of Pakistan's, when one considers America's strategic objectives. America's strategic objectives have been to prevent Russian and Chinese domination of Eurasia, control the hydrocarbon resources of the Caspian Sea and the Middle East, control the security and the transit of hydrocarbons from the Caspian Sea and the Middle East and finally prevent the emergence of the Khilafah State. For achievement of these objectives, Pakistan is critically placed. And critical to directing Pakistan policy is its armed forces and the ISI….
"As for those of you who say that the U.S. is militarily strong and we are weak, and that we did not have an option but to follow U.S. dictates. For those of you who are sincere in this belief, we say the following: The Pakistan armed forces are the seventh largest in the world, and an established nuclear power, and possess advanced missile technology which is capable of neutralizing the regional U.S. military footprint. So is the U.S. willing, let alone capable of absorbing such an assault, considering their current military overstretch, the overriding U.S. public opinion demanding the return of U.S. troops and their economic meltdown? …
"The solution is clear and that is to work with us and through us to remove these corrupt and secular rulers, to uproot this colonialist kufr system, and implement the laws of Allah … through the establishment of the Khilafah. It is only through the Khilafah that you will unify the Ummah, establish the rights of the people, the fair distribution of wealth, return the armed forces to its essential role in the protection of the blood and honour of the Muslims and ensure the removal of the foreign hegemony from the region. This is a duty upon you and if you fulfil it the pleasure of Allah…"
January 5, 2012 Report in Pakistan Today
"Taking Advantage of Political Instability in the Country, Hizbut Tahrir… Is Quietly Spreading Its Influence in the Metropolis [of Karachi], Preaching to Unite for the Establishment of Caliphate in Pakistan – the Only Muslim Nuclear Power State"
Despite ban, Hizbut Tahrir organizes public protests in Pakistan
A January 5, 2012 report on the website of the Pakistan Today newspaper observed how Hizbut Tahrir Pakistan is mobilizing people in the slums of Karachi, the economic capital of Pakistan. The report noted:
"Taking advantage of political instability in the country, Hizbut Tahrir (HuT) – a self-proclaimed non-violent, international organization with an aim to unify all Muslim countries in a single Islamic state or 'caliphate' – is quietly spreading its influence in the metropolis [of Karachi], preaching to unite for the establishment of caliphate in Pakistan – the only Muslim nuclear power state.
"Caliphate (or khilafat) – the dominion of a caliph (successor) – refers to the first system of governance established in Islam. The head of the state and other officials are representatives of the people and of Islam and must govern according to [Islamic] constitutional and religious laws (Shariah).
"Operating undercover most of the time, the pan-Islamic global network has invited, through indirect channels, the ''sincere' Pakistan Army officials to join HuT and help in its efforts to turn Pakistan from 'Darul Kufr' [land of the infidels] into 'Darul Islam' ]land of Islam] and fight against the U.S. and India – the 'real enemies of Pakistan and Muslims.'
"Concentrating its efforts in the slums of Karachi, the HuT is pasting its posters on the walls and electric poles along the roadsides, while its members are regularly visiting mosques in Landhi, Malir, Shah Faisal Colony and Gulistan-e-Jauhar [areas of Karachi] to deliver lectures after the prayers.
Pakistani Intelligence Official: "In 1990, the HuT [Hizbut Tahrir] Initiated Its Activities Discreetly in Pakistan But They Have Come Out In the Open Now"
"After hectic efforts, Pakistan Today was able to arrange a meeting with a group working for the HuT. When asked about their objectives, the group members said they were working for the establishment of a caliphate system in the country. 'We are inviting the sincere officers of the Pakistan Army to join the HuT against the traitors within their ranks. We are trying to convince them that how can they allow the U.S. to hijack the strongest army of the Muslim world,' they said.
"The message to the Pakistan Army officials was: 'Can you afford that the U.S. and India, in collaboration with these traitors, ride at your backs? If not then it is the right time to join HuT and help us in establishing caliphate in Pakistan. From the very first day of its establishment, the caliphate would result in enhancement of manpower and resources for you [army] and unite Muslims in one state, which may prove a great nation in terms of both power and resources.'
"The group was of the view that then Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen. (retired) Pervez Musharraf helped the U.S. in occupying Afghanistan by chanting the fake slogan 'Sab Sey Pehlay Pakistan [Pakistan First].' 'Pakistan gave its sea route, air bases and road links to the U.S. for attacking the landlocked country [after 9/11], thereby damaging the friendly relations between the Muslim states,' they said. 'The U.S. then established a strong relationship with our archrivals India, and is now threatening Pakistan of attacking its nuclear assets' …."
"The HuT had warned the Pakistan Army that the U.S. and the U.K. have decided to prefer India over Pakistan and the present government wants to establish a friendly relationship with its archrival and agents of the .U.S and the UK in the government set-up are playing a role in this game,' the group members told Pakistan Today.
"Speaking on condition of anonymity, an intelligence agency official confirmed that groups operating for the HuT are becoming increasingly active in the slums of Karachi. 'In 1990, the HuT initiated its activities discreetly in Pakistan but they have come out in the open now,' he said. 'HuT activists come out on roads at night and paste the organization's stickers along the roads….'"
* Tufail Ahmad is Director of the MEMRI South Asia Studies Project (www.memri.org/sasp)
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