Pakistan: Update to PAK28321.E of 3 December 1997 on the Shi'i political party the Tehreek (Tehrik)-i/e-Jafria Pakistan (TJP), including its goals, mandate, activities and operations, organization, and branches
|Publisher||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada|
|Publication Date||1 April 1999|
|Citation / Document Symbol||PAK31581.E|
|Cite as||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Pakistan: Update to PAK28321.E of 3 December 1997 on the Shi'i political party the Tehreek (Tehrik)-i/e-Jafria Pakistan (TJP), including its goals, mandate, activities and operations, organization, and branches, 1 April 1999, PAK31581.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6aac534.html [accessed 19 December 2014]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
Background, History and Ideology:
During the late 1970s and early 1980s military dictator Zia ul-Haq passed many Islamization policies, many of which were tailored for the predominantly Sunni population, thereby ignoring the 10-15 per cent Shi'i population (Jane's Intelligence Review Jan. 1999, 34; Islam and Islamic Groups 1992, 185, 187; Political Parties of the World 1988, 414). In 1979 Mufti Jaffer Hussain founded a Shi'a movement called the Tehrik-e Nefaz-e Fiqh-e Jafaria (TNFJ, Movement for the Implementation of Shi'a Law), which attracted Iran's religious and financial support due to the Iran-Iraq war and the Iranian Revolution taking place at that same time (Islam and Islamic Groups 1992, 187; Jane's Intelligence Review Jan. 1999, 34). In the 1980s the TNFJ started a campaign against the government's Sunni Islamization (Islam and Islamic Groups 1992, 187; Political Handbook of the World 1998 1998, 704; Political Parties of the World 1988, 414). Following Hussain's death in 1984, the TNFJ split in two, one led by Allama (title) Arif Hussain al-Hussaini (reformist and more militant) and the other led by Hamid Ali Shah Mousavi (old-style traditionalist), both "committed itself to the principles of Iran's Ayatullah Khomeini" (Islam and Islamic Groups 1992, 187; Political Handbook of the World 1998 1998, 704). In either mid-July 1987 or in 1988 the TNFJ was renamed the Tehrik-e-Jafaria Pakistan (TJP) and reorganized itself as a political party (Jane's Intelligence Review Jan. 1999, 34; Political Handbook of the World 1998 1998, 704; Political Parties of the World 1988, 414; Europa 1992 1992, 2144).
Allama Sajid Ali Naqvi was elected supreme leader of the TJP following the murder of Arif Hussain al-Hussaini (The Herald Sept. 1998a, 48b) in August 1988 in Peshawar (Jane's Intelligence Review Jan. 1999, 35). In accordance with the TJP constitution, Naqvi was elected leader for life and conferred with absolute powers within the organization (The Herald Sept. 1998a, 48b). Naqvi remains TJP supreme leader (ibid., 49; AFP 14 Feb. 1999).
The TJP has three decision-making bodies: the supreme council, the central council and the Jafria council and according to the TJP constitution, all three must be unanimous to impeach the supreme leader (The Herald Sept. 1998a, 48b). However, the majority of the members of these councils are nominated by the party chief (ibid.).
Naqvi also moved the TJP into mainstream politics, forming an alliance with the PPP in the 1988 elections and with the PML in 1997 (The Herald Sept. 1998a,48b).
Current TJP Leaders:
In January 1999 Allama Muhammad Ramazan Tauqeer was TJP Central Vice President, Allama Khurshid Anwar Jawadi was TJP President for the North West Frontier Province (NWFP), Allama Sajid Naqvi was TJP Punjab President (and TJP supreme leader), and Allama Hassan Turabi was TJP Sindh President (NNI 7 Jan. 1999). Allama Ghulam Hassan Jara was the Dera Ismail Khan-based member of the TJP Supreme Council (ibid.).
According to Zaigham Khan of The Herald, Naqvi, unlike his predecessor al-Hussaini, attempted to distance himself from the militant elements within the TJP who finally split off and formed the Sipah-e-Muhammad Pakistan (SMP) in 1994 (The Herald Sept. 1998a,48b). According to Khan, the SMP is at present
considered to have been 'tamed' after infiltration by government agents. At the same time, support from outside sources, particularly Iran, has also dried up. It is said that the SMP's benefactors began to view its existence as detrimental to the cause of Shias in this country.
The Sipahe Mohammed is believed to have been involved in a number of massacres as well as targeted killings and dacoities. A number of its activists are still at large, and could well regroup to resume operations (ibid. Sept. 1998b, 29).
For background information on the SMP, please consult PAK28322.E of 5 December 1997.
According to Zaigham Khan of the Karachi-based English language monthly journal The Herald, in the last three years or longer, TJP chief Allama Sajid Naqvi has been facing "rebellion" within the TJP and "growing dissatisfaction" among the party's affiliated groups (The Herald Sept. 1998a, 48a). In December 1996 a constitutional committee, formed to solve the conflict, endorsed Naqvi as supreme leader but also recommended that a position of president be created and share Naqvi's authority (ibid.). Naqvi refused to consider the proposal (The Herald Sept. 1998a, 48a). After a year of more in-fighting, on 21 February 1998 TJP dissidents decided to force Naqvi to resign through a signature campaign launched from the Jamiat-ul-Muntazar, the "most respected Shia madrassah" in Lahore (ibid.). Two months later the campaign was halted by TJP elders with the assurance that other means would be found (ibid., 48b). In April 1998 a reconciliation committee was formed that recommended that TJP leadership be divided between two positions (supreme leader and president) and that both positions be elected for two year terms (ibid.). Naqvi agreed, though he recommended that the term of supreme leader be four years long, which the reconciliation committee accepted but the TJP supreme council rejected, thereby ending the matter (ibid.).
In September 1998 The Herald reported the first meeting in Lahore, Punjab, of the Shurae Wahdat-e/i-Islami (Counsel of Islamic Unity), a new organization that "declared itself the representative of all Shia political activism" in Pakistan, a role up until then that had been claimed by the TJP (Sept. 1998a, 48a). Also present were several senior TJP officials, rank and file TJP members, and representatives of all "important" Shi'i youth, student and ulama groups, all of whom traditional owed their allegiance to the TJP (ibid.). TJP senator, Hojatul Islam Abid Hussain Al-Hussaini was elected secretary general of the Shurae Wahdat-e-Islami (ibid.). The Shurae represents the Imamia Students Organisation, the Imamia Organisation, the Asgharia Students Organization, the Ashgaria Organisation and the Wifaqe Ulamae Shia, all of which have withdrawn their allegiance to the TJP and no longer acknowledge Naqvi as supreme leader and spiritual representative of the Wali-e-Faqih (the Iranian spiritual leader) (ibid., 48b). According to Zaigham Khan of The Herald, these "large-scale defections" have left the TJP on "extremely shaky ground," and as such, "the direction Shia politics ... will take remains extremely unpredictable," although it appears as though the Shurae will take a "stronger line" than Naqvi's TJP on religious and sectarian issues (ibid., 49).
Some of TJP's Political Stands:
Following the 11 January 1998 attack on Shi'is in Lahore that left 25 dead, the TJP announced it would hold protest rallies throughout the country on 16 January 1998 to protest the massacre (Dawn 12 Jan. 1998). Naqvi also called on the government to "launch an operation in the country to curb terrorism as it was damaging Pakistan" (ibid.).
In March 1998, TJP chief Allama Sajid Ali Navqi was reported to have suggested to the government that it "entrust powers to the armed forces under article 245 of the constitution to combat terrorism and lawnessness in the country" (Dawn 9 Mar. 1998).
In May 1998 Naqvi stated that Pakistan's blasphemy laws are "in accordance with the beliefs and ideology of Muslims" (NNI 11 May 1998). He was also reported as stating that "all parties involved in sectarian terrorism should be immediately banned and their training schools should be closed" (NN1 11 May 1998).
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.
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