Sunday, November 23, 2014


Gandhara

Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri: A Complex Man Full Of Contradictions

Islamic cleric Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri addresses his audience behind bulletproof glass at a rally in Islamabad on January 16.
Islamic cleric Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri addresses his audience behind bulletproof glass at a rally in Islamabad on January 16.
He calls himself Sheikh-ul-Islam and gets his supporters to swear allegiance to him on the Koran, but he hates to be called "maulana," a term regularly used to refer to religious scholars in Pakistan.

He promises to bring true democracy to Pakistan even though critics claim he does not bat an eyelid when seeking the help of undemocratic forces to overthrow the elected government.

He claims to be a pro-democracy revolutionary, but he did not appear to mind supporting a military dictator in 2002.

He wants "true, pure, and honest" democracy but has so far been unwilling to disclose the source of the huge amounts of money he has spent on mammoth gatherings, a long protest march, and a camp to accommodate demonstrators.

He wants to uphold the cause of the nation but seems reluctant to risk surrendering dual citizenship for the sake of Pakistan and its people.

He wants to dissolve the widely supported Election Commission and dismiss the election commissioner, Fakhruddin G. Ibrahim, but he has not yet proposed any alternative person to head the country’s top electoral body.

He wants honest, patriotic, clean, and true Muslims to rule Pakistan, but he still has not named anyone who he believes meets these criteria.

He boasted of assembling 4 million people in Islamabad for a demonstration but ended up with an estimated 50,000 instead.

He travels in a bullet-proof car while his followers brave the terrorist threat on the roads. He sleeps in a bomb-proof container, whereas his supporters have been spending chilly winter nights under an open sky.

He is intent on bringing revolution nonetheless. He talks of justice and equality. He abhors corruption and dishonesty and promises to ensure social justice for all and sundry by virtue of a "true democratic" system.

Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, the religious scholar known for his 600-page fatwa (religious decree) condemning terrorism in 2010, has become a household name in Pakistan. He is particularly well known among those who watch the country's 24-hour private television channels and frequent social-media networks such as Twitter and Facebook.

Many of his statements are also music to the ears of Westerners and Europeans who have lost hope for Pakistan after failed efforts to persuade the country’s security establishment to break its alleged ties with militants, and who fear a Taliban and Al-Qaeda takeover with each new terrorist attack in the country.

Moreover, many of those same people believe that an English-speaking mullah who dislikes being addressed as "maulana" could represent a true blend of Islam and democracy, which would sit well with Pakistan's religious milieu and Western standards of modernization.  

In mid-January, some 50,000 people took to the streets of Islamabad for a rally in support of Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri.
In mid-January, some 50,000 people took to the streets of Islamabad for a rally in support of Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri.

Although people around the world watched TV coverage of Qadri and some 50,000 supporters holding a protest rally in Islamabad on January 15 and closely followed his subsequent speech and deadline for government talks, they failed to note that Pakistan's population of 180 million (minus 50,000) supports various parties and leaders from the 200 or so political groupings that exist in this highly diverse society.

There are also many Pakistanis who are suspicious of Qadri's show of power. This is particularly apparent among electronic media and scores of leading commentators, analysts, researchers, journalists, and news anchors.

Basing their arguments on past experience, there are many well-informed Pakistanis who believe Qadri is backed by the country’s strong security establishment.

And they may have good reasons for believing this. The country’s main intelligence agency, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), is widely believed to have distributed huge sums of money among politicians to buy their loyalty and bring a government of their liking to power in 1988. Some critics are also convinced that the results of all elections held throughout the 1990s and up until 2002 were manipulated in one way or another so as to humble those questioning the army's role in politics and elevate those who wanted to stay in its good books.

Religious leaders, such as those from the conservative Jamaat-e-Islami and JUI-Fazal political parties, also view U.S. support for Qadri as akin to the U.S., Israeli, and Indian nexus that they perceive to be involved in virtually all incidents of terrorism in Pakistan.

And what do the Pakistani people think of Qadri? Despite all the corruption, inefficiency, inflation, the energy crisis, and lawlessness, many from the middle and educated classes do not want another military takeover.

One potentially positive outcome of Qadri's rise to prominence is the fact that many of the country's opposition politicians set aside past differences and gathered at the Raiwand residence of opposition leader Nawaz Sharif in Lahore on January 16. They subsequently released a joint statement saying that elections must be held in a timely manner without any interference from undemocratic forces.

There are some who see this development as a sign that Pakistani politics is becoming more mature, which could act as a buffer against undue interference and the early dissolution of representative assemblies. As Sharif put it: "The failure of the government can’t be construed as the failure of democracy."

With parliamentary elections now just a few months away, opposition leaders have also advised Qadri and his supporters to wait until election day to push their agenda by trying their luck at the polls.

-- Daud Khattak
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Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Adnan Mohammed from: England
January 17, 2013 22:21
The statements written above are clearly by someone illiterate and and has a low level of understanding, your not even worth the debate,

by: Robbin from: London
January 18, 2013 08:40
That looks like more than 50,000 people to me. I regularly attend sports events with large crowds and it's obvious there are more people in this picture. This article has lost all credibility. A shame, really. Agendas everywhere.

by: syed inam from: india admisnister kashmir
January 18, 2013 09:34
This article seems to be from some person who basically differs the ideology of Mr Tahir ul qadri. I can by word by word reply back to this article but I understand that people have right to speak. This article has nothing concrete in it. Mr qadris contribution to the Islamic nation cant be denied. He has following which is evident from the thing that even after 6 years lived outside Pakistan he managed to gather 2 million crowd on 23 dec.
Please refrain from stubbornness and acknowledge what is ideology is (Political ideology).

by: awais from: lahore
January 18, 2013 13:58
well i would say well written article .............m totally surprised why Qadri didnt talk about Muslim system of khilafat , drones attacks,and all other issues?????KEEP ONE THING IN MIND there is no concept of democracy in ISLAM .......
In Response

by: sadia from: dubai
January 19, 2013 22:09
NO CONCEPT OF DEMOCRACY IN ISLAM U R OUT OF UR MIND???AND FOR UR KIND INFORMATION HE TALKS ABOUT DRONES ATTACKS AS WELL AS KHILAFAT SO PLZ LISTEN HIS SPEECHES AGAIN U WILL GOT ALL UR ANSWERS!!!

by: Human from: earth
January 18, 2013 17:38
Tahir ul Qadir is an American "Islam" project. The US and its allies realize that they no longer can maintain neo-colonial grip over the Muslim world through Mubarak and Qaddafi types. They need Erdogan and Qatari types that use "Islam" to pacify Muslims.

by: Tehseen from: London
January 18, 2013 17:39
Wow, This srticle is actually a slap in the face. Firstly it has been reported on the last day of the protest (day 4) an additional 100,000 people joined and the crowd was 3.2 km on the 7.1km stretch long road!! So really I dont want to comment on any other part of the article, very dubious and unrealistic. Also, the 'bullet proof' bunker was shot at by the police on the first morning, its not the people who were in danger, it was Dr Qadri who was in danger of assissination! Anyway..........this person has single handedly made the people of pakistan aware that the constitution is not followed by letter or spirit and the thugs that are running the country are not what this country is about. The only people who will benefit?? Its the people of pakistan.... there is no other agenda, no outside country, agency back up.

by: Khalid from: London
January 18, 2013 17:41
That looks like x10 of 50,000 - unfortunately not really a credible article.Tto the journalist - Lets have an objective view next time.

by: eman from: islamabad
January 18, 2013 23:46
I totally disagree the writer being a sensible citizen.Nobody is perfect in this world.I think little shortcomings could be neglected infront of someone's such great efforts being made for nation.Wonder how people are behaving so coservely!!!!Shameworthy critisizm.....


by: Sarah from: Canada
January 19, 2013 01:08
This article is by far the worst article I've ever read. So biased and so incorrect.

Remember, ignorance is bliss.
Good day x

by: sadia from: dubai
January 19, 2013 22:06
this article is truly truly based on wrong facts so plz dont believe on this!!!!

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Gandhara is a blog dedicated to Afghanistan and Pakistan written by RFE/RL journalists from Radio Mashaal (Pakistan), Radio Azadi (Afghanistan), our Central Newsroom, and other services. Here, our people on the ground will provide context, analysis, and some opinions on news from the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. Send comments or questions to gandhara [at] rferl.org.