Q. The Jamaat-i-Islami seems to be changing tact; they’ve ditched the more extreme Munawar Hasan in favour of the more statesmanly Sirajul Haq and now are looking to move away from their traditional role of being the party the establishment turns to for expression of street power. Do you think this is a necessary evolutionary step or could there be a deeper motive?
A. The Jamaat-i-Islami has lurched from identity crisis to identity crisis since at least the 1980s. Under Munawar Hasan, many of the party’s internal contradictions came to the forefront as senior Jamaat cadres began to worry that his hyperbolic rhetoric and open flirtation with the anti-state Taliban would bring neither electoral success nor advance the party’s technocratic Islamisation agenda.
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