Jihad decree triggers demands for holy war on Kashmir

Asia Times Online reports: “Branded a ‘sponsor of terrorism’ by the Trump administration for failing to act against extremism, Pakistan has sought to polish its image by decreeing that only the state has the right to issue a jihad (holy war).

But now some Islamist politicians want the government to use its new powers to settle the most prickly issue in Pakistan’s fragile relationship with India: its historic claims over the contested territory of Kashmir.

The order was included in a fatwa (decree) against terrorism, entitled Paigham-e-Pakistan (‘Pakistan’s message’), which the government announced on January 16 at a ceremony headed by President Mamnoon Hussain and addressed by many Islamic scholars.

Its two most significant features are the declaration that only the state can announce a jihad, and a decree that any move to impose Sharia law needs to conform with legal statutes. The fatwa seeks to address challenges in Pakistani society created by terrorism, sectarianism and religious extremism.

But quite unexpectedly, the decree has prompted calls by prominent Islamist parties for the government to formally launch a jihad in Indian-held Kashmir, as well as in Afghanistan.

Government sources close to the drafting of Paigham-e-Pakistan have confirmed that Islamist leaders are agitated over the decree and are keen to capitalize on the state’s capitulation to a Tehrik Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLY)-led protest rally in Islamabad in November…”

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