What the existing National Action Plan envisages is too vague or at least is not convincing to many. The only thing we know is that it is supposed to improve internal security in Pakistan, but how? that remains a question. Whereas many superficial solutions to the existing internal problems have been included in the National Action Plan, but a crucial, rather a game changing solution to the internal crisis of Pakistan which is essentially related to the religious aspect (the mother of all aspects) can be incorporated as a corner stone and number one priority in the plan and things, which will change the lives of our future generations at least, if we have borne with it so far.
The first priority for the nation in its plan should be to INCLUDE the imam of the mosque in reforming the society. The imam of the mosque who leads prayers five times a day and his different manifestations e.g the sermon giver, the tableeghi preacher, the madrasa teacher etc all have an impact on the mindset of the society yet to be realized by the policy formulators of the country.
It is said that character of a person is molded from the cradle at the hands of parents, but who are the parents influenced by?- the mullah. It is also said that teachers in schools should teach the students how to conduct themselves in life, but where do the teachers get their own character building education from? -the mullah.
The power of the mullah (religious preacher) is so immense that Islam was spread in the subcontinent because of their sermons. Similarly, in current times the mullah has shown his prowess by converting blooming young men into suicide bombers. Look at it how we may, we cannot ignore the power of religious preaching in shaping behaviour of the people and thus the nation.
By now that we have realised that an Islamic traditional society cannot ignore the mullah whether it is praying five times behind him, whether it is nikah, janaza, khatm e Quran, reciting Ayat before the president’s speech or whatever, why not then ‘include’ the mullah. (if you can’t beat em, join em in)
The way to ‘include’ the mullah in the National Action Plan is to first register all mosques. Employ the mullah with a handsome salary and then restrict him to focus upon the positive and character building aspects of religion instead of going off at tangents.
The imam of the mosque who delivers the Friday sermon should be given a specific topic each week e.g telling lies, hypocrisy, bribery, injustice, adulteration of foodstuff, deciet, trustworthiness, kindness to the weak and standing up to the powerful, etc. Unfortunately as a muslim one gets old yearning to hear even once a sermon about character building aspect in Jumma prayers or tableeghi ijtima. All we hear is shortcuts to wash away our sins and go to heaven in a jiffy, regardless of how we violate huqooq ul Ibaad in our every day lives. Pakistan is notorious for being hub of adulterated and fabricated merchandise, crookery in dealings and un-trustworthiness, no wonder.
Who is responsible for this? Some will say the politicians, but from which society do the politicians rise? and who molds the society?
If we have not been able to make the best use of the pulpit (rather allowed it to be misused), we can now make amends, launch an emergency plan to use the pulpit to reform society in the true spirit of Islam.
Easier said than done though, because those who are not the well wishers of Islam and those not sincere to Islam, will never let this happen. — CN Editorial, 07 May 2017.