NEW DELHI: The Citizen followed up on an interesting report appearing across the globe in the media quoting Pakistan’s maverick cleric Maulana Fazlur Rehman as saying, that women wearing jeans cause earthquakes.

It seemed unbelievable and hence this online daily waited for two days to see if there was a denial, but instead the news spread like wildfire with not a word from the normally very vocal Maulana and his Jamiat Ulema-e-Islami denying this. The fact that Maulana Rehman is known for his controversial positions, and strange remarks, of course fuelled the fire with the global media---including several Pakistan publications---commenting on the absurd position taken by the cleric.

On Facebook, however, there has been a spate of denials not again by either the cleric or his organisation but clearly by supporters in Kashmir and Pakistan. According to these mostly unidentified people, the reports were sparked off by a satire printed by a little known publication that was taken as the truth by some newspapers and then circulated by ‘anti-Islam’ elements across the world!

Given that this constitutes the litany of sections who use ‘victimhood’ to justify the inexcusable, The Citizen tried to get to the bottom of this story including an unanswered telephone call to Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s office. It seems, however, that the jury is out on this one as there is no authentic denial of the reports. The cleric is silent as is his organisation despite the fact that the remarks have been played over television channels in different parts of the world and reportedly widely. Hence The Citizen has decided not to withdraw the story (as below), until and unless Maulana Rehman decides to deny comments that he is of course perfectly capable of making.

Perhaps a denial would lead to the charge that he believes jeans clad women do not cause earthquakes, a sentiment that might place the cleric on the side of the fence that might lose him his conservative followers.

The Citizen reporter Vishal Narayan reported: You may find many people if you look for them in earnest who think that the famous ‘Butterfly Effect’- which says that the causation of big events may lie in the initial settings- is literally caused by the flutter of butterfly’s wings, that key to chaos can be gauged with the movements of those diaphanous, fragile sails. But rare are the people who would extend the same error of attribution to other phenomenon, and expect to be taken seriously.

Fazlur-Rehman, the Chief of Pakistan’s Jamiat Ulema-e-Islami did the same thing when he pronounced the wearing of jeans by women as cause of earthquakes, inflation and other disasters. He said it during a press conference at a hotel in Islamabad.

Rehman asked for an elaborate military operation against those women who wear jeans while calling them “weapon of mass destruction”.

He called for women to be covered like a “sack of flour” and called those dressing immodestly as responsible for almost every adversity which the country has been facing, from Baluchistan crisis to lack of energy supplies.

Clearly condoning Taliban’s atrocity, Rehman reportedly said that had women been kept inside their homes, Taliban would not have attacked Pakistan. He called Taliban an ally and a force for good while advocating for implementation of Sharia law in the country.