Tahirul Qadri’s ‘Arab Spring’ façade –

Published: January 8, 2013
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Qadri fails to explain how Pakistan is similar to countries which experienced the Arab Spring. PHOTO: REUTERS

The emergence of Tahirul Qadri as the sole ‘saviour’ to the people of Pakistan has not failed to attract much media attention.

“A revolution journey has begun,” his words echoed at public gatherings from Lahore to Karachi.

Quite undoubtedly, Qadri has come forth with an elaborate agenda which deals with getting rid of corrupt rulers, but the strategy he has devised is far from being prudent to achieve this purpose.

Though the emerging leader seems to have taken charge of a fast-changing political scenario, several questions still remain unanswered.

For instance, Qadri fails to explain how Pakistan is similar to countries which experienced the Arab Spring. If he compares his struggle in Pakistan with the struggle during the Arab Spring, he should not forget the fact that the Arab Spring originated against dictatorships, not against democratic civilian governments.

Revolutions in the Arab world were not a matter of one or two days. It took months of violence and protest demonstrations for dictatorial regimes to topple down.

Hundreds of protesters lost their lives, thousands of people were victimised and jailed, and millions lost their businesses and jobs in these uprisings. These revolutions were against the military and unelected rulers who had been in power for decades. These uprisings were aimed at political and constitutional reforms, not towards derailing the democratic process.

Does Pakistan really need an uprising like the Arab World? Furthermore, for how long can this demonstration thrive in a city like Islamabad, where diplomats from various countries reside?

How can a protest demonstration on such a big scale be peaceful when history stands testimony to the fact that such uprisings for political change have always been violent?

Even if we avoid excessive cynicism, Qadri’s call for a revolution does not match the agenda set by the Arab World. Even if we accept the fact that it is going to turn into a mass movement, it is not certain that it will deliver a new political or democratic set-up.

As rightly said by Stratfor CEO George Friedman:

“Not all demonstrations lead to uprisings, not all uprisings lead to revolutions, and not all revolutions result in liberal democracies.”

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Sumeera Riaz

A producer for Express News.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.