For Tahirul Qadri, it’s a win

Published: January 19, 2013

What he has accomplished is quite a feat for someone without a single parliamentary seat to his name. PHOTO: REUTERS

The revolution is over. Democracy is saved. Islamabad the green will become even greener, thanks to all the fertiliser. The ‘padri’ is now very much a player. The ‘former’ government is now a coalition partner, the ‘yazeedis’ are now buddies and Karbala, it seems, came with a conference-ready container.

Bad jokes and highly inappropriate references aside (hey, they started it), we can breathe a collective sigh of relief that it all ended without violence because, for a while there, it all looked very touch and go.

I’m also glad that the army kept its boots off, and didn’t tip the balance when the Chief Justices’s arrest orders for Prime Minister Ashraf miraculously coincided with TuQ’s speech. A meray aziz humwatno moment seemed imminent at that point. That it didn’t come is no small blessing.

Apart from a certain biscuit brand that can now benefit from instant brand recall (Tuc), a clear winner is the tissue paper industry. Up until yesterday, a certain Amazingly Asinine columnist and a Kriminally Krackpot anchor were using several dozen boxes a day to wipe the drool from their chins. Now they’ll be mopping tears of disappointment that Zardari’s head was not served to them on a platter.

But they’re not the only ones who have to swallow a bitter pill. Nawaz Sharif seems locked out of this set-up and he certainly won’t be pleased. The question of whether the President has pulled the wool over his eyes for the 15,864th time will very much be bothering him. Nor will he (or any PPP opponent) be glad to see that Qamar Zaman Kaira has emerged from the anemic ranks of PPP leaders as a man who can walk the walk and talk the talk, flip flopping with the ease and skill of a Cirque du Soleil performer. And all with a smile on his face.

Imran Khan, who has seen his slogan of change effectively appropriated by Qadri, did, in the end, the only thing he could have done, agree with Qadri’s intentions, but not his methods.

It’s an open question if he can once again tap into the simmering reservoir of discontent that both he and Qadri are trying to siphon and translate that into electoral gains.

The Supreme Court remains the ultimate wildcard. Pursuing what seems like an anti-government vendetta it has, in the past few days, not only issued arrest orders against the PM but also admitted the hearing of a (wait for it) blasphemy petition against Sherry Rehman that even the LHC’s Multan bench refused to entertain. What will the CJ make of this agreement, I wonder?

While the MQM has come under some muted criticism (all criticism of the MQM is muted) for kind-of-sort-of throwing in their lot with Qadri, this will make absolutely zero difference to its power base. Such is the indispensability of the MQM, that anyone wanting to form a stable government in Sindh will need them no matter what.

As for Qadri himself, it’s a win.

For now.

Having failed to make any serious inroads into Pakistani politics for decades he’s now going to be consulted (or is it consensus?) on not only the makeup of the election commission but also the choosing of the caretaker PM. Not only that, the discussions will take place in MQI offices! That’s quite a feat for someone without a single parliamentary seat to his name! Imran may be wishing he had marched to Islamabad instead of the border of Waziristan. This is of course if the agreement holds.

More ominous is the precedent that has been set. It seems that, in order to paralyse the federal capital and make the government bow to your demands all you have to do is march on Islamabad.

Be assured that others are taking note.

As for me, I’m raising money for a plane ticket (for me) and buses (for the rest of you) for a march to get YouTube unblocked.

Are you with me or with the Yazeedis?

Read more by Zarrar here or follow him on Twitter @ZarrarKhuhro


Zarrar Khuhro

Is currently working at Dawn TV and was the editor of The Express Tribune weekly magazine.

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

  • Parvez

    Qadri has been defused by the nimble fingers of Zardari. In the coming days starting Monday 21st the Qadri doctrine will either be dismantled or swept into the rubbish bin of our parliamentary ‘ democratic ‘ system.Recommend

  • mokh

    Another excellent assessment of eventsRecommend

  • Aijaz Haider

    1.”As for Qadri himself, it’s a win.” Correct – no two opinions about it.
    2.”More ominous is the precedent that has been set. It seems that, in order to paralyse the federal capital and make the government bow to your demands all you have to do is march on Islamabad.” Agreed unanimously.
    3.”As for me, I’m raising money for a plane ticket (for me) and buses (for the rest of you) for a march to get YouTube unblocked. Are you with me or with the Yazeedis?”
    With you – if you pay for the plane ticket (bus fare unacceptable), provide food and bedding inside heated explosion-proof container, confirm 24/7 live media coverageRecommend

  • Dr Rehan Hafiz

    Qadri may or may not have failed or others may have come out looking good or their usual goof selves is one part of the argument. What is critical is that ultimately the voice of the people is what matters. Pakistani democracy should not only be about vying to be in power and not when in power sulking on the sidelines, desperate to get back in. With democracy comes responsibility-not only unto themselves but to the people to whom promises have been made.

    Wake up Pakistan to call the corrupt as corrupt and hold them responsible for our failures. Stop the loot and plunder and be responsible if you want to be seen as the real democrats that you want to be seen as.Recommend

  • Muhammad

    As if we didn’t know all this…but wots your analysis Khoro? or you just wrote this blog for the sake of filling up a page?Recommend

  • abhi

    I think Zardari is the best thing happened to democracy of pakistan. If things go like this, there is no doubt that he will become president for next term as well and this will be a win for democracy. He has single handedly pushed Army and Chief Justice aside and gained sympathy of public.Recommend

  • Ibrahim Malick

    Khuhro Sahab,

    I think you have nailed it – both IK and TuQ have leveraged the angst and both are on the radar. Rightfully so (even though I disagree with their politics, I respect their right to do politics).

    But I feel TuQ did more harm to his brand than good. Even a non-practicing Muslim like myself has had tremendous respect for his scholarship. When talking about religion TuQ seemed more rationale than his peers and he had made a mark for himself in the global landscape of religious (divinity) studies.

    I feel he had overreached and has negatively impacted his brand. I know that I will not take his next lecture/sermon/paper as seriously as I did in past. It is a loss for Muslim ummah because there are barely any scholars. Unlike others who speak for Islam and strenuously resist the new, the modern, the contemporary, TuQ adapts his expressions and employs or even exploits the manifestations of “the modern” which his peers opposed. He was a saner voice that I could somehow relate to.

    In other words, TuQ was a nugget that fell in the mud and now I don’t want to pick it up.Recommend

  • Kiran

    @Ibrahim Malick:
    Assalamu alaykum.I think many people share your sentiments. However, I also think the learned Dr was well aware that he was playing/gambling with his own religious credentials. On balance, I believe, he thought he had to act on his convictions rather than conveniently staying aloof. If anything, we should now take him even more seriously in his religious scholarship, for he is a man who takes the consequences of his beliefs. Even in the secular academe, luminaries such as Said and Chomsky have always called for the intellectuals to get involved in practical politics. Recommend

  • Samad Ali

    I agree with you. His muddling with politics is a big loss for Islam @Ibrahim Malick: Recommend

  • http://- Abid P Khan

    “Qadri has been defused by the nimble fingers of Zardari. In the coming days starting Monday 21st the Qadri doctrine will either be dismantled or swept into the rubbish bin of our parliamentary ‘ democratic ‘ system.”

    And Qadri would feel like a horse, whose jockey gets the prize. Recommend

  • Sry

    As pointed out by Najam Sethi on his show once, General Kiyani is a professional soldier; and I think that is quite true. I am not saying he’s a saint, he probably has most flaws that his institution instills in our soldiers, but the fact of the matter is that he will not take over because he goes by the book.

    @ abhi: How is a man whose government has failed to address even one major issue of the country be good for democracy? Democracy is not ‘survival of regimes for x number of years’, democracy is ‘rule of the people’ ie. public’s problems being tackled, and that has NOT happened.
    People like you mistake the welfare of our elites as the welfare of our nation. Recommend

  • Tanzeel

    TUQ outshines Sharifs and Khan.Recommend

  • antanu g

    you must not forget that that qadri and Imran were great success in bringing the masses to a platform and raise their voices. both may be good or bad but they must be credited with influencing people to challenge the status quo.Recommend

  • Zahid

    If we assess the recent events correctly it would not be an understatement to say that it is a major win for Pakistan and the Pakistani people.

    Even if you don’t take the declaration in consideration; the way people stood up massively and in such a peaceful and disciplined manner was unique and it has set an example for the future.
    It has created massive awareness amongst all layers of society for the broken electoral system.
    It has showed us, the Pakistani, that we can make a difference if we rise and stand united. Before all this, many had lost hopes and didn’t seem to think they could make a difference, lethargy ruled everywhere among the common people. Even if it served only as a wake-up call for the people it has proved a major success.

    But these are not the only things, they are not even the main benefits, the main success lies in the declaration. Let’s ignore the pessimistic naysayers for a moment, the ones who have mocked each and every step of this journey and who are now saying that the gov. won’t uphold the contract. These people are not worth our attention because these very same people will stand idly if there is a threat of the contract being broken.

    Each and every Pakistani witnessed this declaration being signed through the media. It is my responsibility, it is your responsability & it is the responsability of each and every Pakistani to ensure that gov. does not break the contract. Because there is no person who can deny that Pakistan will make enormous progress due to these implemented changes.Recommend

  • Parvez

    @Abid P Khan: Ha ha……and I have been accused of being crypticRecommend

  • Maria

    @Parvez: I think Tahirul Qadri will be the real loser now that it has been exposed that was a refugee living on welfare in Canada. How can a guy who lives on state kahyrat given by other other Canadian taxpayers have the money to host such a rally. Now that the Canadian government is upset that he went against his asylum oath and returned to Pakistan where his life is supposedly in danger, how can anyone take him seriously?Recommend

  • http://- Abid P Khan

    “@Abid P Khan: Ha ha……and I have been accused of being cryptic”

    I have been accused of being cryptic too but simultaneously of being pedantic. You still win. Recommend

  • Rehan

    @Maria: He wasn’t!! Please don’t get done in by the propaganda!! He even showed the documentation on TV today where it clearly stated that he was given a visa because he’s skilled, he’s a religious scholar and a doctorate in Constitutional Law!Recommend

  • Imad Uddin

    “Amazingly Asinine columnist and a Kriminally Krackpot anchor” haha the latter is an “endearing” eccentric…Recommend

  • Sajjad

    Zardari is the best thing happened to democracy of Pakistan..and democracy is the best REVENGERecommend

  • Zardari, A

    Let the games, begin!! ;)Recommend

  • Parvez

    @Maria: Agree.
    Him being a half-Pakistani and the Canadian issue aside, the question of his funding has not been answered convincingly. A wanna-be leader of the people does not talk for 3 days from a heated, bullet proof container while the people sit in zero conditions on the ground.
    Most importantly he signed an agreement on a piece of paper that gave the perception that he was in a fix and badly wanted out…………in short he did not have what it takes to go the distance.Recommend

  • http://- Abid P Khan

    “@Maria: Agree.
    Him being a half-Pakistani and the Canadian issue aside, the question of his funding has not been answered convincingly….”

    Has the funding of other groups/persons been clarified that convincingly? Recommend

  • Mehriene

    The Kriminally Krackpot (KK) I got in a second,but I wonder who the Amazingly Asinine…..ohhhh ,I got it ….Ay A !?!?! Recommend

  • abhi

    rightly said.Recommend

  • Omer

    People from different walks of life, The community of traders, shopkeepers and intellectuals, government servants, A housewife, children, Brothers, Sisters, Beggers, People from All classes, Foreigners, Lawyers, Labours, Actors, School teachers, students, Professors, I mean Every ONE was present from every Nook and Corner of the COUNTRY! And they all came out from the Love of country pakistan and for the CHANGE which has to be brought or else pakistan will be in severe condition in comming days if all these Corrupt people will take over aas our Leaders again! Thoes who opposes, i would say, struggles take time to give u results! If we talk about the Clause of this Longmarch Declaration which states that article 62-63-218 of the Constitution will be Enforced, 70-80% of our parliament and Leadership in our Provincial Govts will Change as asll Corrupt people will be Filtered :) WHAT Else you want Pakistan, Revolution has already Started, Kisi k pas Jadoo ki Chari nahi hoti :) I am Very Hopeful GUYS, lets Think Positive & Try to be Proactive from now on . . .


  • True Pakistani

    We, the nation of Pakistan have been deceived many time, that we in state of disbelieve and anyone rises the voice for truth and justice we just throw it in oven of conspiracy theory. Anyhow the result of long march declaration has started to be seen.

  • Sunara Nizami

    As awesome as always, Zarrar!Recommend

  • Sunara Nizami

    Oh, and I love you Erum, Imaan, Zahra and Bushra! <3Recommend

  • Atif Rauf

    The million march lead by Dr.Qadri,was a great show of success,as it got what it was set out to achieve,”to bring reforms in the electoral process.

    People turned up in huge numbers to participate,from all over the country.They spent four days in difficult conditions,with one goal in mind to bring a change through a peaceful revolution,which they did.I solute them all for writing a new chapter in the history.

    if we “recall” the same people criticizing the long march,were accusing Dr.Qadri of being an implant of the west.Many sort after foreign funded,so called media anchors claimed,Dr.Qadri was here to incite,violence,and destabilize the country.who are now saying he should have stood his ground.Knowing fully well what it would have lead to.

    The fact that the parties who claimed they had the same agenda as,Dr.Qadri’s,and who could have really had an impact over the turn of events,actually proved to be with the status quo.

    Despite all the odds,what the march achieved is commendable,to improve the electoral system,to disqualify all those who have any cases of corruption against them, dissolve assemblies on time,and other reforms which will reflect on the over all situation in the country.

    It was a historic march,and a show of great unity,faith,and was a show of strength,which had a graceful end. Alhumdullilah!
    Pakistan First!Recommend

  • harsh

    Wow you have really commented well I am with you guyRecommend

  • harsh

    @Sunara Nizami:
    As awesome as always, Zarrar! no its not Zarrar
    Zardari is awesomeRecommend

  • Rabia

    Dr Qadri & Long March is definitely successful! Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri has saved the country from corrupt elections which were going to take place in near future! Thank you Dr Qadri!!! Recommend

  • Nawaz Ahmed

    Qadri played good politics with the government. He had his real demands, extra demands, pressure tactics. He brought the government on the negotiation table ensuring his real demands were met, no doubt the government was under great pressure. From the first day Qadri was seeking an agreement so it was a certain victory at this stage. It will be interesting to see if the agreement is implemented or if the government backs out. If the latter, they will lose a great deal of credibility and lose claims of being upholders of democracy.Recommend

  • Shoaib Iqbal

    Time will prove that what Dr Tahir ul Qadri achieved in one month, our politicians could not achieve in 60 years.
    Dr Tahir ul Qadri has mobilised and empowered the people and are now constitutionally aware and if need be can overwelm the Govt in a peaceful manner.Recommend

  • m faisal

    Dr Qadri has left corrupt politicians in big match Recommend

  • Afsheen Shouket

    Firstly, how disgusting you refer Dr Tahir ul Qadri as- ‘Padri’, journalists have a code of conduct to follow please ensure you do this- your words are offensive!

    The article is all about what Dr Tahir ul Qadri achieved, what about the millions of people who supported this march- It time journalists such as yourself woke up and realised we the people are FED UP of our so called politicians- who are just bothered about themselves!!

    The march was a success- despite all possible attempts to stop it! Maybe its time you removed the cloth from your eyes and ears and took notice of the average pakistani person and ask them why did they support Dr Tahir ul Qadri and not print words that will make a certain power house happy. Recommend

  • Iqra Ejaz

    During a period of two months Dr Qadri has exposed all the hidden faces in Pakistani politics. It has become completely clear to people how the corrupt have been looting them for years. Dr Qadri is educating the people of Pakistan about their rights. He is teaching them articles such as 62, 63, 37, 38, 218 +. He is giving the nation the privilage of knowing that it is the Government’s DUTY to provide everyone food, clothes, shelter, education, healthcare, job, and fairness. It is their duty, and not their favor upon the people of Pakistan. He is making them strong by providing them knowledge their rights, and he is standing by their side to demand them! THAT is the success of Dr. Qadri, and that is the success of the people of Pakistan!! Recommend