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Cleric Tells Crowd Pakistani Government Is A Failure

Antigovernment Protest In Pakistani
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January 15, 2013
Tens of thousands of supporters of cleric Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri gathered near Parliament House in the Pakistani capital on January 15. Qadri spoke to the crowd in Islamabad after arriving with his "Caravan of Democracy March." (RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal)
WATCH: Tens of thousands of antigovernment protesters gathered in Islamabad
An influential Islamic cleric has told tens of thousands of antigovernment demonstrators in the Pakistani capital that the country's government suffers from a "complete failure of political leadership."

Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri also called Pakistan's antiterrorism campaign "fake."

He spoke to the crowd near the parliament in Islamabad after arriving with his "Caravan of Democracy March" late on January 14.

Speaking to the crowd from behind bulletproof glass, Qadri said "opportunities for corruption" must be removed from the political and social system.

Qadri also attacked the government's failure to provide security for the people.

"Judgments are being passed by our great independent judiciary," he said, "but the government is not ready to implement them."

PROFILE: Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri

Qadri said the government's decade-long campaign against terrorism was fake and demanded a "real fight against terrorism."

Qadri addresses supporters from behind bulletproof glass in Islamabad.Qadri addresses supporters from behind bulletproof glass in Islamabad.
Qadri addresses supporters from behind bulletproof glass in Islamabad.
Qadri addresses supporters from behind bulletproof glass in Islamabad.
Qadri claimed earlier that his supporters could bring down the government in a matter of hours, but he has called for protests to remain peaceful.

The cleric urged protesters to stay and continue their rally on January 16 and said he would address them then.

"Hopefully after tomorrow there will be no need to stay any longer," he said.

Pakistan's government accuses Qadri, who returned last month after years in Canada, of trying to derail the elections set for the spring.

Some are questioning the source of Qadri's funds. News reports cited Qadri's ability to spend large amounts of money on a media campaign and fleets of buses for his supporters. But Qadri says much of his financing is donated by people who are angry with the government.

WATCH: "Caravan Of Democracy March" arrives in Islamabad:
'Caravan Of Democracy March' Arrives In Islamabadi
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January 15, 2013
Thousands of supporters of Islamic cleric Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri gathered in the Pakistani capital late on January 14 at the end of the cleric's "Caravan of Democracy March" from Lahore to Islamabad. The protesters were demanding electoral reforms and action against corruption. (RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal)

A local official from a northern Punjab village, Muhammad Waqas Iqbal, said Qadri "spent huge money and he's putting his life on the line. He's here to redeem the people."

The Pakistani government has deployed extra police and security forces and warned Qadri and his supporters of severe consequences if they break the law or cause any disorder.

Some of Qadri's supporters briefly clashed with police on January 15, with police shooting their guns in the air and firing tear gas to restore order.

With reporting by Reuters, AP, and RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal
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Comment Sorting
by: Eugenio from: Vienna
January 16, 2013 09:15
Talking about tensions in Muslim countries, it's interesting to see how the RFE/RL prefers to cover this material:
(a) a couple of short articles on the French "operation" in MALI, without any "Comments" section, so that people would, God forbid, not get into discussions on how the fact that the Beavuses and the French installed al-Qaeda terrorists to govern LIBYA helped the Malian jihadists to get hold of weapons;
(b) the same story with the terrorist attack of the US-Saudi-backed and financed terrorist on a UNIVERSITY CAMPUS in SYRIA: again, a short article without a "Comments" section, so that people would not discuss too much on why it is that NATO pretends to combat in Mali these very same people it openly supports in Syria;
(c) and instead, of course, jede Menge info on the marches in Pakistan. Nice job, guys, your new bosses in the US Dept of Silly Talk will appreciate!

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