Sunday, November 9, 2014
By Saeed Qureshi
Last evening Dr. Tahirul-Qadri was the guest speaker at a reception hosted in his honor at Double Tree Hotel by the local chapters of PAT (Pakistan Awami Tehrik) and his religious seminary Minhajul Quran. Iqbal Ahsan was the moderator.
It was a unique occasion as a few days ago Dr. Qadri was in Islamabad leading a prolonged Dharna (sit-in) against the incumbent government of PMLN and to press for the ouster of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. His counterpart Imran Khan spearheading the similar mission is still doggedly entrenched in Islamabad occasionally addressing the public meetings in other cities of Pakistan.
Dr. Qadri, all of a sudden, called off the sit-ins. No one can figure out any motives behind that least expected decision. Earlier he has been persistently and vigorously pledging to remain in the political battleground in the federal capital of Pakistan till the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his younger brother Shahbaz Sharif the chief minister of Punjab, the largest province Pakistan.
For several decades, Dr. Qadri has been devotedly engaged in the preaching and dissemination of Islam under the aegis of the Minhajul Quran based in Lahore. Later he founded PAT primarily a political party aimed at ushering Pakistan into a revolution based upon Misaq-i-Madina (the Medina Pact.
Misaq-i-Medina was a kind of deal that Prophet Muhammad entered into with non Muslims for peaceful coexistence and also for delineation of their rights. Misaq-i-Madina is an epitome for Allama Qadri for the establishment of an Islamic regime in Pakistan.
Dr. Qadri’s sermon last evening was a replay and replica of what he has been disseminating all these years. It was a scholarly yet dreary speech that was befitting for the highly qualified and educated people particularly having expertise in legal and constitutional matters.
Dr. Qadri mainly and mostly delved on emphasizing the relevant clauses of Pakistan’s constitution related to democracy, fundamental rights and the obligations and responsibilities of the state towards the people. The common folks and ordinary people in the audience might not have grasped the essence of Dr. Qadri off- repeated explanation and elucidation of the constitution of Pakistan.
The audience would rather want to know why he suddenly called off the sit-in campaign and dashed to the foreign lands. He did not unfold his future plans. He chose not to criticize his principal victim Mian Nawaz Nawaz against whom he has been yelling and prompting his followers to raise slogan of “Go Nawaz Go”. When some sentimentally charged PAT members raised this slogan in the hall, Dr. Qadri visibly seemed embarrassed and waved them to hold their sloganeering.
Dr. Qadri also skipped to mention about his long association of nearly 70 days of sit-in with Imran Khan the rabble-rouser chief of the PTI (Pakistan Tehrik-i- Insaf), in Islamabad. It appeared as if he was deliberately trying to avoid any mention of Imran Khan’s continued presence for so long in the federal capital of Pakistan.
He casually mentioned the police attack on his house causing loss of several precious lives. His reference to that barbaric killing spree by the Punjab police lacked vigor and emphasis that he has been incessantly demonstrating in Pakistan.
In his speech, Dr. Qadri proposed a kind of American Union of Pakistanis to act collectively for their rights here in America and in Pakistan. It was a vague idea and Dr. Qadri did not elaborate it further.
Perhaps Dr. Qadri is not aware of the deep seated disunity and mutual discords between the Pakistanis all over in America. If a small society like PSNT in Dallas is controversial then how it would be possible to create an all encompassing umbrella body representing the entire Pakistani community in America.
He supported the rights of expatriate Pakistanis to vote and contest elections in Pakistan. But that was merely a show of endorsing some suggestions coming from various local speakers welcoming the chief guest.
Dr. Qadri did not unfold his future plans whether he would continue his rallies and protest marches in Pakistan or henceforth he would like to pursue a peaceful campaign and dialogue for a revolution in Pakistan that he talks vaguely and repeatedly.
Dr. Qadri did not mention about the rumors and circulating gossip about his backdoor compromise or settlement with the PMLN government. But it can be speculated that now when he has called off his anti- government tirade and campaign, it might become pretty difficult for him to relaunch that with the previous vigor and tempo. He may not even resume it at all.
So that begs a question that what could be the political future of Dr. Tahirul Qadri in Pakistan. My answer is none or feeble. On the contrary Imran Khan who is still holding out the ground might stay in the battlefield for some time.
It looks that with the time passage his agitation too is losing the steam. For him to spur or sustain indefinitely a countrywide agitation or earthshaking movement for the removal the government or force midterm elections seems to be remote possibility.
The best and more pragmatic escape route for him is to wait for the next elections and then pull his strings and mobilize the countrymen and his party workers to win elections, assume power and accomplish what he aims to do for Pakistan and its people. As for Dr. Qadri, there is no possibility as he has abandoned his citadel, dispersed his crowds and thus dissipated his momentum for no plausible reasons or motives.