New Delhi: At a very critical time when the Muslim community passing through a difficult phase, All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM), a collective of community organizations and distinguished individuals, is witnessing internal strife and bickering. Its former president Dr Zafarul Islam Khan along with 35 other members alleging that the incumbent president Navid Hamid is “illegally holding” the position and rendered the forum “virtually defunct”. Refuting allegations Navid said the Supreme Guidance Council (SGC) of the Mushawarat has validated his continuance as president.
The SGC, which oversees and guides the 57-year-old umbrella body of several community organizations, has made an appeal to all the members to abide by the principles set forth for smooth functioning. In a letter dated October 10, SGC chairman Maulana Jalaluddin Umri appealed to all the members to bury the past bitterness and work together in the interest of the community. But there seems to be few takers as the issue has now come into the public domain, fuelling angst in the community against the ‘leaders’.
In a letter sent to the Mushawarat president, a group of 35 members including Dr Zafarul-Islam Khan, Secretary General, AIMMM, Mujtaba Farooq, Dr Syed Qasim Rasool Ilyas, Mufti Ataur Rahman Qasmi, Masoom Moradabadi, Sohail Anjum, Prof. Ishtiaq Zilli, Prof. Muhammad Sulaiman, Prof. Akhtarul Wasey, ex-MP Mohammad Adib, Kamal Faruqi and others said that the Mushawarat has not held its general body meetings during the last two years.
The disgruntled members have also warned that if no action is taken within two weeks, they will be constrained to call a meeting to take appropriate decisions.
“A year ago, many members of the Central Committee, including myself (Zafarul-Islam Khan), asked the incumbent President and Secretary General to hold a meeting of the general body but no action was taken (which is illegal as Article 24(3) of Mushawarat Dastoor says that on receipt of a requisition meeting, the same will be held immediately with at least one week’s notice),” the letter says.
Dr Khan maintains that,” The tenure of the incumbent President ended on 31 December 2019 but, using false and dubious logic, he continued to hold office without election for the last two years which is the usual tenure of an elected President of Mushawarat”. Now this illegal tenure of two years too is going to end and there is no sign that an election is going to be held anytime soon, he adds.
Speaking with Islamic Voice, Navid counters these allegations. He says they should have first approached the Mushawarat president before going to the press. He also says 4 or 5 members in the list are not members who have already been expelled from the organization. He also flaunts Supreme Council Guidance chairman, Maulana Syed Jalaluddin Umri’s letter and insisting that Council is the most respected body of consultation whose decision is final in accordance with the guidelines of the Constitution regarding disputes.
While talking to Islamic Voice, Dr Khan said the charge that we first approached the media is totally baseless.
“No. We sent the letter first to him and only NEXT day I released it to the media”.
Mushawarat former president, Dr Khan described SGC letter as Maulana Jalaluddin’s “personal opinion” which he is not entitled to pass as if it is that of the Supreme Guidance Council because the Council held no meeting for this purpose and, instead, he issued that letter which illegally gave Navid an additional two years and nine months.
“The other point is that Mr Navid continued to function during that two-year tenure totally normally and I gave a bulky dossier proving this to Jallauddin saheb during the last meeting of the Supreme Guidance Council over a year ago. We can dig out the date. Why Jalaluddin saheb acted illegally and why did he not consider that dossier? I have an answer but I will not spell it out,” he added.
He further said though there was no logic in Navid’s claim that he did not enjoy the term in question due to litigation who was elected unopposed due to Adeeb saheb’s withdrawal of his nomination and therefore the question was only about the Working Committee’s election despite all the irregularities which still could be challenged in court.
However, Navid insists that he is the rightful president of the Mushawarat and all the members should abide by the SGC’s ruling on this matter.
In a letter written to all members (dated October 10, 2021, Maulana Jalaluddin Umri appealed to them to bury past bitterness and differences and to work together in the interest of the community.
Below is the English translation of the letter of the Supreme Guidance Council:
“For the past almost three years, Mushawarat has been facing some internal problems. The brief record of which is that in December, the election process of the President and the Working Committee of the Mushawarat was underway, the results of which were to be announced on December 5. However, some members went to the court expressing their displeasure with the election process. The court stayed the election process on December 3, banned the announcement of results and ordered the ballot papers to be locked and sealed. The disgruntled gentlemen withdrew the case by filing a writ petition in the court on January 5, saying that two years of tenure (meeqat) has been completed, therefore the case lost its relevance and they filed a plea for its withdrawal. While dismissing the case citing the statement of the parties, the court lifted the ban on the election process and its results. But the announcement of the results was delayed due to the Returning Officer’s own personal issues.
After the results were declared, the members expressed different opinions on this which can be broadly divided into two categories. Some gentlemen opined that the election was for the 2018-19 term which ended a year ago and a fresh election should be held for a new term. The second opinion was that the results were announced after the ban was lifted by the court, therefore the new meeqat should start with this.
In such contentious cases, the decision of the Supreme Council Guidance is deemed to be final. Thus, some members of the Mushawarat as well of the Supreme Guidance Council asked the Council to act in the above matter and issue a clear guidance. Therefore, a letter was sent to the Council members to solicit their opinion on the current state of affairs of the Mushawarat.
Based on written opinions and oral suggestions from Council members, it is appropriate to recognize the results of the President and the Working Committee after the court lifted the ban. And with the announcement of the results, the new meeqat should begin. The work done by the President and the Working Committee during this period was counted as an interim period not as a formal term in accordance with Article 24 (1) of the Constitution of the Mushawarat.
All members of the Mushawarat were asked to ignore past discussions and bitterness. Keeping in mind the situation of the community which is passing through a critical phase, members are requested to fully cooperate with Mushawarat in its activities with open mind. It is also the responsibility of the President to try to get all the members together. May Allah be our supporter and helper?
Regards Syed Jalaluddin Umri.”
The community watchers say this continued bickering and ill-will feeling among the members of this esteemed organization is affecting its work adversely. They said the community expects from these esteemed members that they will shun infighting for soothing their egos and work for the cause of the community.
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