Whatever his reason for returning to Pakistan and trying to re-launch his “revolution” especially at a time when the country faces serious internal and external threats, is a mystery. But Dr Tahirul Qadri, head of Minhajul Quran International (MQI), has again succeeded in capturing the nation’s attention.
The government, on seeing the size of the crowd that had come to receive Dr Qadri, had panicked and in its usual knee jerk reaction, diverted the plane to Lahore Airport, ‘For security reasons’.
Seizing this opportunity, Dr Qadri refused to come out of the plane when it landed at Lahore Airport, for over six hours, while the other passengers on Emirate Airline were held hostage. With full media coverage, Dr Qadri played to the galleries and submitted a list of his bizarre demands to the government.
These included that the Corps Commander, Lahore or his representatives should come to negotiate with him, a bullet-proof vehicle be provided and that his travel from the aircraft to his home be covered live by TV channels.
However, after the airline threatened to lodge a case of forced detention and hijacking against the Pakistani aviation authorities, Dr Qadri agreed to come out of the plane, provided that the Punjab governor came to negotiate with him and a bullet-proof vehicle provided to him. The Governor agreed and reached the airport, together with Dr Qadri’s newfound political ally, Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, and succeeded in bringing him out of the aircraft.
However, Dr Qadri then promptly put another condition forward, that arrangements should be made for him to visit Jinnah Hospital Lahore first, as he wanted to inquire about the health of his party’s injured workers.
To ensure security for his visit, hundreds of vehicles and motorcycles were removed from the parking lot of the hospital and further entry of all vehicles of patients and their attendants was banned. Fearing an attack on his life, Dr Qadri was protected with bullet-proof sheets carried by his personal security guards.
In his address to his followers, Dr Qadri announced that he would give a call for a revolution in the country after consultations with his political allies and predicted that the Sharif-led government would be toppled soon, warning the PML-N government that their days were numbered now and that no amount of tyranny could restrain the spirited MQI workers from removing them from power.
“There will be Tehran-like revolution in Pakistan soon. I urge my supporters to have some patience. I am going to announce a final date for the revolution soon. Our workers have laid the foundation of the revolution with their blood and will fight a war against Sharif brothers. Soon they will find out that a revolution was knocking at their doors. I am here for the 20 crore people of this nation. The corrupt leaders would be held accountable, as they are thugs and criminals and the Lahore incident is an example of state terrorism. The leaders will try to escape, but they will be put behind bars and 10, 000 houses will be built at their Raiwind Palace”. Bold words indeed, something that all would-be, self-proclaimed revolutionaries thunder in their speeches.
However, Zahid Hussain, in his article, The Qadri Factor, has realistically pointed out, ‘He is neither a Lenin nor a Khomeini. But it is the mere folly of a ham-fisted government that has made a ‘revolutionary’ out of a charlatan. Last week’s carnage in Lahore and a panicky reaction by the administration on his arrival has provided Tahirul Qadri with the spark he needed to ignite public outrage. But can he succeed?’ (http://www.dawn.com/news/1114889/the-qadri-factor).
While challenging his credibility, a clip regarding blasphemy laws and his views on the subject, Dr Qadri maintains that this has been presented out of context to malign him. (http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xwp61a_mullah-tahir-ul-qadri-caught-red-handed-telling-the-most-blunt-lies-in-the-history-of-mankind-eng_news).
While another detractor of Dr Qadri accuses him of misusing religion to promote his political agenda, by misleading statements relating to recent events in Lahore, in which many innocent lives were lost. (http://www.merapakistan.tv/2014/06/27/dr-tahir-ul-qadris-swear-holy-quran-proved-false-kamran-shahid-plays-video/).
Where the truth lies is for the political pundits to decide, but many are of the opinion that Dr Qadri has been brought in by The Puppet Masters, to re-launch what he had started last year, which had been just a teaser, but this time the full movie will be launched in the coming months.
However, Dr Qadri can only succeed with the support of the leading opposition parties and their street power. So the question is, can Dr Qadri and Merry Men succeed in bumping Humpty Dumpty and his brother from the high walls of their Raiwind Palace?
However, they should not forget that revolutions are not launched by fiery speeches or from bullet proof cars and air conditioned containers, but through blood and tears of the unwitting Awam. And in our zeal for change, which no doubt is required, let us also not forget the tragedy that is unfolding in Iraq and its neighboring countries.
The revolution, based on lies, that Uncle Sam had launched some three years back, to free Iraq from a military dictator, had completed destroyed the country, but has now returned with a vengeance and the ghost of Saddam has come back to haunt the Americans and their allies.
While my friend, Irfan Hussain, in his recent article, ‘No Exit’, based on a production of Jean Paul Sartre’s existentialist play ‘Huis Clos’, paints a sad picture of what we have done with Quaid’s Pakistan. (http://www.dawn.com/news/1117083/no-exit).
‘Door after door is shutting on Pakistanis. The sum total of this intolerance, violence and ignorance has resulted in a toxic nation that the world wishes would disappear. And while life goes on for us despite the daily mayhem, outsiders look on with a kind of fascinated horror.’
We have reached this state, simply because we have allowed our incompetent and corrupt leaders, both civil and military to rule us under the pretext of protecting democracy, while they serve their own Self Above All agenda.
As such, we do not have the luxury of being embroiled in a revolution, instigated and manipulated by the Hidden Hands and led by self proclaimed, pseudo Quaids, with murky backgrounds. So let us think before we leap, otherwise we too will end up in a No Exit situation and be swept away into the ocean by a pseudo tsunami.
The writer can b reached at firstname.lastname@example.org