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‘Mushawarat split’
Syed Shahabuddin: ‘I am surprised’

I am surprised by some parts of your front cover story on ‘split’ of the Mushawarat, as statements of fact in your issue of 1-15 July, 2000.
This is the first time I have learnt that some members received the nomination form late. I have checked it from the R.O. No one ever made any such complaints. The very fact that 25 nominations in all were received from all parts of the country gives lie to this allegation.
Secondly, it is stated that the meeting of the dissident group on 8 July, 2000 was attended by 62 out of 83 members. This was supposed to be a meeting of their ‘Markazi Majlis’ whose Individual Members and Jamaats are selected by the Constituents Members. There was no meeting of the Constituent Members after 27 February, 2000 when the composition of our Majlis was decided. The names of 93 members of our Majlis were formally announced on 12 May, 2000 by the then General Secretary without any objection by anyone. So far no List of Members of their Markazi Majlis has been published. 
Similarly they have claimed that representatives of 15 out of ‘17 Jamaats’ were among those who attended the meeting. They have never disclosed the names of the Jamaats which have been included nor the names of their representatives. All this is nothing more than a bogus claim to misinform and misguide the people.
According to our information, only 3 out of the 13 Jamaats included in the Markazi Majlis for 2000-2003 on 12 May, 2000 have joined the dissidents. They are Milli Jamiat-ul-Ulema of Maulana Ahmed Hashmi, Markazi Jamiat-ul Ulema of Maulana Fuzail Qasmi and the UP Muslim Majlis of Mr. Mahboob Ahmad. Out of 11 Constituent Members, they are parading 3: Maulana Ahmad Hashmi, Maulana Salim Qasmi and Maulana Ahmad Ali Qasmi; the last two are incidentally the last to be added, ironically at my instance, at the Meeting of Constituent Members at Lucknow in January, 2000! Out of 31 Individual members only 8 have gone over to the other side.
Can the dissidence of a handful of disgruntled and frustrated members be depicted as a split? Of course, the first thing the dissident group has done is to lay claim on the fixed deposits of the AIMMM (Rs. 16 lakhs) for Babari Masjid’s legal defence and for relief. It may be added that during his Secretaryship (1990-95) Maulana Ahmad Ali Qasmi withdrew nearly 5-6 lakhs to meet the expenditure on running his office! Technically a loan, he never returned a paisa. Of course, he was unable to raise any donation. On the other hand, Maulana Shafi Moonis has not drawn one paisa from the fixed deposits and raised fixed deposits from 11 to 16 lakhs. He has also raised over Rs.5 lakhs as donation to run the Central office and to make payment of Rs. 3.50 lakhs towards the land under purchase for constructing the Mushawarat’s office.
One thing more, it is a lie that the JIH wanted to capture the Mushawarat. The JIH had decided not to contest any post. Later, at my personal request, the Amir of the JIH, after consulting his Shoora, permitted his colleagues to contest.
Ultimately, two questions remain unanswered. First, why didn’t the dissident group honestly contest the election which was open to all members and to which they had made no objection, until after the nominations began? After the withdrawal of some candidates from the contest, the office-bearers were elected unanimously. This was known on 6.6.2000 (AN). They were subsequently confirmed by the Markazi Majlis, as programmed, on 18 June, 2000. Until then Maulana Salim Qasmi continued to be the President. He affirmed time and time again that he did not want a second term. Why did he give in to the pressure of the dissident group, each of whom had a personal axe to grind. And what did he, as President, do to avert the ‘split’?

Syed Shahabuddin 

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