Iqbal wrote a remarkable line which defines the character of traditional Mullah - Din-e-Mullah fi sabillilah fasaad. Ever since Pakistan Movement was launched and even before that when Sir Syed and Allama Iqbal were emphasising the need for Indian Muslims to acquire modern knowledge through English language, which was and still is the source of knowledge in most of the modern world, conservative mullahs all over India, not only spoke against them from the pulpit but also issued edicts of kufr against them. But the Muslims of India gradually turned against them and followed Sir Syed, Iqbal and later Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who was also branded as kafir by obscurantist religious leaders. They also agitated against the creation of Pakistan, but failed and a homeland for the Muslims was finally carved out by Quaid-i-Azam from the sub-continent. When the religious leaders failed in their mission to sabotage the Pakistan Movement, they converged on it as soon as it came into being to convert it into a theocratic State and push it back to middle ages. They failed in their mission for the first twenty-five years of Pakistan's life, but after the downfall of Mr Bhutto's government and ascendency of General Ziaul Haq who himself had an obscurantist approach to religion and needed support to keep himself in power, the radical groups spread throughout Pakistan like wild fire. The country became the hot bed Taliban movement who are now de-stabilising the country through widespread terrorism and the Pakistan army is now in a full fledged war in Swat and FATA region. In this turbulent situation a group of radicals has issued a fatwa that the entire banking system and even the Islamic banks are operating against the principles of sharia in Pakistan and the profit from these banks is haram. They do not know that if their fatwa is taken seriously, the entire economic system of the country will collapse. Don't they know that Islamic Banks in Pakistan are similar to the Islamic Banks operating in Saudi Arabia and many other Muslim countries which are sharia compliant and work under the supervision of renowned Islamic scholars? A so-called Fiqhi Majlis which met in Karachi recently also declared that watching television including the Islamic channels is forbidden in Islam. One wonders who are these ignorant people and why do they want to misguide simple people to create fasaad on earth. These retrogressive elements are against knowledge and progress and want to push the country back into the dark ages. It is even more regrettable that some newspapers and television channels freely allow these elements to misuse their outlets to sow the seed of hatred among Muslims and twist the teachings of Islam for their nefarious designs. The so-called maulvis will not get religious education from the Holy Quran which gives the world a complete code of life as well as knowledge and wisdom. We have failed to receive "wisdom" from God because we are not men of faith and understanding. Those among God's servants, no matter whatever their religion, who understand, have been given wisdom, which they have used to create modern civilisation. God has given us signs to explore the universe, He says, "Lo In the creation of heavens and the earth and in the difference of night and day are tokens of His sovereignty for men of understanding." (Aal-e-Imran) "Understanding" is the keyword here. Those who have understanding have pondered over the secrets of creation of the universe and have landed on the moon. According to Quranic injunctions the first and foremost requirement for a Muslim is to acquire knowledge of all things, which is the stepping stone to progress. The first revelation to the Holy Prophet is a commandment which says, "Read in the name of thy Lord who createth man from a clot. Read and thy Lord is the most Bounteous Who teacheth by pen. Teacheth man that which he knew not." (Surah: Al Alaq - V: 1-5) So far as I know, no religious book has been revealed with the first commandment to "Read" (in other words, acquire knowledge). They have forgotten the message of Islam. Some of them are destroying the educational institutions for girls to keep more than half of the country's population ignorant. They are against enlightenment and progress. They have incited simple people to violence and terrorism in the name of Islam. They have disrupted the peaceful life of Pakistan turning it into a hot bed of suicidal attacks killing hundreds of innocent people. The army which is waging a war against them will hopefully succeed. Once things calm down, the government should wage a war to educate these elements and spread the real message of Quran to acquire knowledge and work for the progress and prosperity of the country they live in. There should be no doubt that the war against radicalism and terrorism is our war and we have to win it to save Pakistan from disintegration. The writer is former director news, PTV E-mail: