Monday, September 29, 2014

Musharraf, Dr. Qadri, Imran Khan and Nawaz Sharif

BY Saeed Qureshi
What is the political future of these four guys? Would one of the first three reach the pinnacle of power and rule Pakistan? Would Nawaz Sharif survive the burgeoning onslaught from Qadri and Imran Khan? Let us try to find out the probable answers to these questions.
General Musharraf has played his innings for pretty long time. His luck ran out in November 2007 following the declaration of state of emergency by him, suspension of constitution and firing of the chief justice of Pakistan. He resigned in August 2008, after initiation of impeachment both by PMLN and PPP.
He made the unbelievable and gravest blunder of his life by returning to Pakistan in March 2013 to take part in the general elections of 2013. He nursed a misplaced hope that he is going to emerge on the political seen by winning elections or as a runner-up. He could have the slimmest inkling that by returning to Pakistan his fate would be sealed and whatever good work he had done during his nine years tenure would be washed off. He was rather misled and deluded by his self created Utopian fantasies augmented by a galore of Facebook comments that he was a darling of the people of Pakistan and that the moment he would put his step on the soil of Pakistan, people would gather around him and he would be free to stalk the land without any let or hindrance.
As ill luck would have it, not only that he was inhibited for his projected political maneuvering but worst of it, his nemesis Nawaz Sharif won the elections and thus he took up the reins of the government. In due course he was arraigned for four high profile criminal cases which opened a Pandora box of interminable judicial floodgate against him. The cases of treason for suspension of constitution, the murder charges of Baloch leader Akbar Khan Bugti and Benazir Bhutto, incarceration of judges and the Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) case are like millstones around his neck.
By sheer luck, if he is pardoned he has no option but to live in exile. In a nutshell he has none or rather bleak future as a politician or even to live as a common citizen in Pakistan. If he somehow stays in Pakistan his many ubiquitous enemies would always be on the lookout to target him. His best choice would be to leave Pakistan (if such a possibility pops up) and spend his remaining life in foreign pastures.
Dr. Qadri does not have the making of a politician. He is primarily a religious demagogue like others of his ilk who are trained in religious seminaries how to deliver sermons in pompous, rhetorical and persuasive manner. Indeed he excels in that skill after teaching and delivering religious lectures for decades.
Dr Tahirul Qadri is the founder of two organizations. One is Pakistan Awami Tehrik (PAT), a political cum religious party that he founded on May 25, 1989. The other is “Minhajul Quran” a kind of religious forum brought into being in October 1981.
The aim and manifesto of both these outfits what he espouses is to bring about a green revolution in Pakistan which is the revival of the Charter of Medina. Dr. Qadri aspires and struggles also for a Democratic revolution through electoral reforms in order to elect people of integrity who will be subjected to a “pre-clearance” process to qualify for contesting elections.
What Dr. Qadri misses is that there was a huge difference between the state of Medina and the modern society. The socio-economic conditions are radically incompatible between those prime times and what the modern societies offer. Moreover the Charter of Medina was a peace document to grant rights to the minorities and Muslims alike and it was achieved through negotiations and not agitations or sit-ins.
A cleric who opted for a foreign citizenship aspires to unleash a revolution of his choice through a set of rules forced and dictated by show of street force. And let us concede that his party and politico religious appeal is limited to a fraction of the entire population.
We are not in France of 18th century (July 1789) when the peasants and the oppressed sections stormed the Bastille Fort and thus pioneered a revolution that spread all over Europe and beyond to the American Continent.The world has phenomenally marched ahead and the human rights and democratic culture, though not so profound, is functional in most of the societies including Pakistan.
His outbursts are hollow and he lacks the charisma and vision that is needed to run the modern societies. He would mess and wreck the prevailing order that would refine with the passage of time and with electoral and democratic experiments. Dr. Qadri does not have a magic wand to make everything blot-less and transparent. Also he doesn't have a support from other fellow religious and semi religious groups. Yet his intentions are sincere and well-intentioned.
The social media has seen glimpses of his meeting in London, with the Chaudhry brothers and chalking out a plan to dislodge the incumbent government. So his purpose behind this Dharna or siege is not for the love of the country but to outclass an enemy by their rivals through such fiery stalwarts as Qadri is. If the remedies are sought through the constitutional and legal framework it would be more laudable, credible and justified. Should we believe that by replacing the government, the devils would quit and angels would step in?
Imran Khan who initially looked to be merely an emotional rabble-rouser has proven to be tenacious and unyielding cavalier in his anti Nawaz Sharif campaign.  His message and pledges of ushering Pakistan into an era of good governance with honesty and accountability as the top most hallmarks for both the system and the leaders, are now being taken seriously. His supporters are also demonstrating an amazing endurance and unshakable resolve despite manifold severe hardships. One has to solute their resoluteness, unshakable bond and fidelity with their leader.
The continuous squatting and staying in Islamabad by his followers and the latest two mammoth public meetings in Karachi and Lahore offer evidence to the growing popularity of Imran Khan and his political party PTI (Pakistan Tehrik Insaf). The way Imran Khan stood to his ground seems to have made dents in the visibly impregnable power citadel of the sitting government of PMLN. More precarious has become the position of Nawaz Sharif who unsparingly remained under constant verbal ridicule and bitter tongue lashing and harsh bashing by Imran Khan and his political stalwarts.
One can imagine that with the unrelenting determination to expand Sit-ins and hold public meetings all over Pakistan, the government may not be left with sustained and formidable defense for it to continue with the vulnerable status-quo. As to when it resigns or announces mid-term elections could be a matter of conjecture, yet in the face of fierce storm perpetually gathering on the political horizon of Pakistan, it might not be able to complete its five years terms. 
 One dismal drawback of the incumbent government is that the major bunch of its ministers and top notch leaders are mediocre and armchair lobbyists. They are adept in the drawing room political maneuvering but are shy and introvert to come out in the public and show their oratorical outbursts because in politics only that person carries the day that can forcefully argue and offers persuasive defense. That is what the political battling is all about.
Unfortunately Mr Sharif himself is not a public speaker and drastically lacks the professional knack of articulation, dissemination and eloquence. On the contrary  Allama Dr Tahirul Qadri is a fiery orator who can go to any length to drive his assertion in the minds of his listeners.
Imran Khan too has learnt this invaluable art that is indispensable for a tit for tat and robust combat in the political arena. Good work that the PMLN government claims good work and boosting the economy. Yet the logic of dismantling this claim is more vociferous and stunning that the claims of the the PMLN ministers and even the prime minister himself.
As if like last straw on the camel’s back, the ugly and shameful episode of Gulu Butt and police firing at the crowd outside Dr. Qadri’s residence has colossally tarnished and bruised the image of not only Punjab government of PMLN but also the federal government as well.  It simply boggles the mind that how could any government worth the name commit such an atrocious and silly blunder? If the tide turns against PMLN, the perpetrators could be criminally prosecuted including the Punjab chief minister.