LAHORE: Former Jamaat-i-Islami emir Syed Munawar Hasan tried on Saturday to clarify as well as praise the concept of jihad, saying it had nothing to do with terrorism and militancy.
Addressing his party's convention at Minar-i-Pakistan on its second day, he said: "Due to propaganda against jihad, people are now even ashamed of using the word as it has been turned into a synonym of the word 'terrorism'.
"We need to wage jihad the way Almighty Allah ordained it, along with a democratic struggle to eliminate oppression and injustice from society. Jihad is a fundamental principle of Islam which has nothing to do with terrorism and militancy."
Speaking to the participants, who also included people from other religious organisations, Mr Hasan said the JI and the Tableeghi Jamaat had similarities in their beliefs and teachings and both were struggling to free the people from slavery of human beings.
Criticising the ongoing military operations in the tribal areas, he said such initiatives had never been the solution to insurgency anywhere in the world.
He added that instead of bringing about peace the military operations had often led to creation of more problems and even "chain reactions".
Talking to a gathering of youths, JI chief Sirajul Haq said some political actors and pundits had held Pakistan hostage, leaving no space for those who actually represented the poor and labour classes. The only way to get rid of such elements and their corruption was to mobilise the youth, he said.
"Everyone knows well that despite having such a huge number of youths we are still facing loadshedding, the core problem that has disturbed us all. Who is responsible for this? Everyone knows that the people responsible are the rulers, who are doing everything good for their families and not for the poor masses," Mr Haq remarked.
Terming corruption the main reason behind the deteriorating economic conditions and poor governance, he urged the youths to come forward and uproot the evil from society for creating an Islamic and prosperous country.
"No religion or culture in the world allows corruption. So the people indulging in any sort of corruption (financial, moral or ethical) have no religion or culture. They are just like animals and must be kept on leash," he said.
If the youths voted for the JI in the next elections, the party would not only end corruption but also the energy crisis forever, Mr Haq claimed.
He said every citizen was under a debt of about Rs90,000 because of corruption and bad governance by the rulers.
He said that after the 9/11 attacks, the United States and other Nato member countries had tried hard to change the syllabus and culture of Pakistani students and society. Under the Kerry-Lugar bill, the US even allocated separate funds for the purpose on the pretext of helping Pakistan on various issues, but the plans couldn't succeed, he said.
"Despite all such efforts, the US and the West witnessed a large number of youths turning to Islamic education. And I believe that till we have the holy Quran in our hands and people in mosques, no one can succeed in imposing his agenda on us and no one can stop our country from becoming a superpower and leading Islamic state," he added.
The JI chief stopped party leaders from playing national songs during the speeches.