Pakistan’s love-hate relationship with Maulana Tariq Jamil

"Maulana never served at any official position in Tablighi Jamaat but he desires to see Pakistan as an ‘Islamic welfare state’ and for the purpose, his man is Imran Khan"

Maulana Tariq Jamil’s political affiliation is no longer a secret. He is the second most revered religious scholar of the kind in the history of the Tablighi Jamaat – a Sunni/Hanafi missionary movement.

It is said that the late Mufti Zainul Abideen, a member of Tablighi Jamaat Majlis-e-Shura (consultative council), remained active to settle down differences between Ghulam Ishaq and Nawaz Sharif in 1993. Along with Maulana Abdur Raheem Ashraf and Maulana Taj Mahmood, Mufti Abideen enjoyed close relations with General Ziaul Haq. The three personalities from Faisalabad were behind the Islamisation agenda of the former military ruler. Maulana Tariq Jamil never served any official position in Tablighi Jamaat but he desires to see Pakistan as an “Islamic welfare state”, and for this purpose, his man is Imran Khan

He has been attached to the Tablighi movement for over 40 years, when in the late 70s he skipped the MBBS studies at the country’s leading King Edward Medical University and took admission in Jamia Arabia Raiwind – the headquarters of the Jamaat near Lahore. He earned the respect of millions of followers of the Deoband school of Islamic thought due to his alluring style of delivering religious sermons.

Millions like and dislike him for his feelings for PTI Chairman Imran Khan – the former prime minister who, according to Maulana, has the capability to materialise the objective of Pakistan’s creation. Maulana believes he made no mistake in making the two decisions.

“Had I been a doctor, how many people could have known me? It is because of the blessings of Allah Almighty that He chose me for the sacred mission,” the scholar, whose brother Tahir Kamal is a practicing doctor, could be heard telling his followers in one of his sermons available online.

Imran Khan, he told an interviewer recently, expressed his desire to see every young person as a true follower of the holy Prophet (PBUH) during the first meeting between the two. “It impressed me. I believe in his [Imran Khan’s] words,” Jamil said.

It is not the first time he is the topic of extensive online debate for unleashing an attack on “turncoats” (the PTI dissidents) who led to the ouster of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government in April 2022. Moreover, his “misogynist” comments in April 2021 were widely criticised by rights activists, including Dr. Shireen Mazari, the then PTI minister for human rights.

Maulana, during a televised prayer a year ago, condemned women for dancing and for how they dress, saying these “immodest actions” have brought the Almighty’s wrath upon the country and spread coronavirus. The same month, he was trolled for organising a mass gathering at the launch ceremony of his brand (MTJ) where participants went without wearing facemasks amid the spread of COVID-19.

He is one of the three most prominent personalities Mian Channu has produced in recent decades. The other two are athlete Arshad Nadeem and Punjab’s former chief minister Ghulam Hider Wyne.

Hailing from Raees Abad, a village near Talamba – the sub-tehsil of Mianchannu – Maulana belongs to a landlord clan of Sahu Rajputs of the area. He is the father of three sons and two daughters. One of his sons is also a religious scholar and the second owns an agriculture missionary-related business in his native town. Maulana runs more than 12 religious seminaries in different cities, including Mianchannu and Faisalabad. He has said that his “MTJ” brand is for generating funds for seminaries where thousands of needy students get religious education.

Iftikhar Alam is a correspondent writing on religion, politics, agriculture, and energy. He takes people on a rich journey through the culture of Punjab. He tweets @imiftikharalam and can be reached at