Of self-exiled Canadians and ‘peaceful’ revolutions

Published: August 12, 2014
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Imran's objectives are just as murky as Qadri's, with grand exposes planned almost weekly never materialising, and with many PTI members being very public about their PAT-ward tilts.PHOTO: FILE

For the past three days, headlines portray a Pakistan on the verge of descending into chaos; a long-awaited tsunami is about to sweep the capital; a self-claimed messianic revolutionary and his supporters are locked in a ‘peaceful’ struggle against the ‘Satanic’ government, while the sluggish government leaders are almost lazily dealing with a problem by barricades and containers that aren’t achieving their objectives.

Indeed, the main players of the government have more or less avoided admitting the failure of their leadership in dealing with a Canadian cleric, desperate to gain something out of perceived government dissatisfaction. In any other functional state, Tahirul Qadri, would have been sent to jail the minute he cried ‘revolution’ and called upon his supporters to ‘topple the government’.

In Pakistan, however, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has allowed police officers and lower-tier politicians to become scapegoats by tiptoeing around Qadri since his arrival in June. There is nothing ethical or liberal in allowing a ‘self-exiled’ Canadian national to come into our country and start launching tirades against state machinery, in the hope that his annual visits eventually allow him to achieve the highest office of Pakistan.

While Qadri claims his revolution is peaceful, the fact that his own statements call for a Bolshevik-like extermination of the Sharif family and a proper rebuttal of the police; makes his march worth stopping. The severe exaggeration he has made about the situation, by comparing it to the humanitarian crisis of Gaza, is ridiculous.

The deaths of four Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) workers and the arrests of nearly 500 did not come because the PML-N was afraid of the PAT’s non-existent political dominance, but after a police station was torched and the media itself circulated reports that a police officer had been killed, which has since been discredited. Six police officers from Pakistan’s most peaceful city, Lahore, are still missing; and there is little Qadri has to say about them or the many incidents of mob violence, except to lament about how brutal the government has become.

Qadri’s opportunistic use of women and children as human shields is equally disgusting. He calls upon his supporters to bring their ‘wives, daughters and mothers’ into protests, not because of any feminist beliefs he might uphold, but to further shame the government as it struggles to maintain national stability. Meanwhile, the women of Qadri’s own household are nowhere to be seen. Does he not trust the public enough or does he apply the rules of ‘purdah’ only on his womenfolk, knowing that without women martyrs, his protests won’t be nearly as pitiable or populated?

And of course, Qadri promises to defend democracy and introduce ‘real democracy’. Yet, those beside him are stooges from the Pervez Musharraf–era; stooges who undeniably lost last year’s general elections and only won once because of military approval. The likes of the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) further corrupt his pro-democratic claims, as these parties only side with him in the desperate hope that the future will be in their hands to control, without having to deal with the hassle of gaining public support.

Some parties, now reduced to provincial borders, are celebrating the plight of Punjab by echoing Qadri’s grief and his Gazafications all the way in Sindh. Even though, the entire province has last year’s worst performance record, ranking behind insurgency-ridden Balochistan and Taliban-infested Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P).

Thankfully, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) has remained committed to its oath of being non-violent and hasn’t swooped to the Qadri-level of politicking. Someone needs to steal the spotlight from Qadri, and Imran Khan has always made big shows of support and will probably find success this time as well, even if the only marchers that make it to the show are local residents. But his objectives are just as murky as Qadris’, with grand exposes planned almost weekly never materialising, and with many PTI members being very public about their PAT-ward tilts.

From his simple demand of recounting in four constituencies, Imran Khan has jumped to demanding the retirement of the prime minister and wants mid-term elections, albeit, there is no legality in such demands. Perhaps clarifications do await us in the future, but it is clear that Imran Khan does have the right for such protests as the second-most voted party in parliament.

Just as clear as a person, who lives in Mississauga for most of the year, cannot come to Pakistan and claim his party is the right representative of the people, even while it ditched the electoral process and disrespected the power of a Pakistani citizen’s vote.

Rana Saadullah Khan

Rana Saadullah Khan

A film fanatic who can't stand nationalism over liberalism, or conspiracy theories or secular facism or religious fantacism. He is an A Levels student at Learning Alliance. He tweets as @RSaadullah (twitter.com/RSaadullah)

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

  • Ree

    What a idiotic article and shame on ET for allowing such writing on it’s blog section. Qadri can live in Canada as long as he wants, and he can come to Pakistan when and whenever he wants as he is a DUAL Canadian AND Pakistani citizen. He does not need anyones permission and he has all the rights the author has to lead a protest however he may deem fit. TRecommend

  • zardari

    You do realize that Qadris exile was due to death threats from terrorists? Or we should judge everything out of context?Recommend

  • Ann

    Spot on buddy!Recommend

  • farq O fareeq

    i a m not a supporter of TUQ but obviously this blog is totally biased against him; by reading such blogs you don’t get any insight into the situation prevailing in the country.

    Farq O Fareeq
    Mississauga, ONRecommend

  • Maria

    Tahirul Qadri would be arrested if he called for anarchy in Canada where has sworn loyalty to the British Queen and the Canadian constitution but somehow he thinks he has the right to disrupt the political system in Pakistan. The fault lies in Pakistanis who do not arrest this man themselves and show him a one way ticket back to Canada – and that too in economy class and not the business class ticket his brainwashed followers buy for him!Recommend

  • Sulfuric Acid

    This article was stupid and needless Recommend

  • Mohammed Ali

    Had your memory been better then the past 2 weeks .. you would realize its the govt that first martyred 14 of PAT workers. The Govt incited violence The govt illegally removed barricades. The Govt diverted his plane. The Govt locked down Islamabad before his arrival.

    Because I happen to read a lot of history and research on personalities, I have concluded that the reason people despise Qadri has nothing to do with his agenda. THey disliked his personality, based on his maulvi appearance, or his maulvi like speeches of Islam .. They only try to justify their personal dislike by facts like these.

    With regards to legality of Khans movement, protest over injustice is his right and if the govt continues to ignore its duties, sooner or later they will be kicked out.

    Please read the papers of last years long march etc.. there was no loss of life.. Recommend

  • itl

    Tahir ul Qadri is a DUAL NATIONAL he has a PAKistani citizenship, just like millions of Pakistanis who are dual nationals and are a major life source for the Pakistani economy through remittances and foreign investment. I don’t understand why blogs like yours have to make us abroad living Pakistanis seem as evil. Could it be resentment or just pure jealousy?Recommend

  • SamSal

    This is a much needed piece. You know why?
    Because, people cannot live in Canada their entire life, get bored, decide to go on a vacation and come to Pakistan screaming revolution!

    This is totally unacceptable. Presence of this clown in our country is what you call ‘stupid and pointless’!Recommend

  • Agnikul

    TuQ has been for many years the mouthpiece of our “powerful forces”. His acting script is written elsewhere. He was supposed to cause chaos, expose the incompetence of civilians to allow the military a way back into “shared” power for “stability”. He will pick up his payment and disappear allowing military collaborators posing as politicians to carry on. His dual nationality is irrelevant. He would be just as much a scoundrel if he had “pure” Pakistani nationality.Recommend

  • Umair Aftab

    they just have to find a way to by hook or by crook malign the image of a moderate cleric.Recommend

  • Umair Aftab

    An article of this sort is highly offending to the sentiments of thousands of overseas Pakistanis like me. If the self-proclaimed democrats of Pakistan really do believe in democracy they should be aware of the fact that TuQ has greatly served Islam here in the West. All your so-called liberals fear is a cleric.Recommend

  • نائلہ

    Nice, let me know when all the other dual national ship holders with pak decide to follow in his foot steps and “protest”; who cares if other Pakistanis are KILLED who may or may not be dual nationals, correct? -.- Recommend

  • IY

    Rana Sahib! I am not a fan of Mr Qadri. In fact I detest some of his actions and statements. However, If dual nationality is so hateful then maybe it should be banned altogether by the government of Pakistan. Let the dual nationals decide for themselves then as to which nationality do they want to keep .Till then, it is extremely unfair to make judgements like ‘self-exiled Canadian nationals to come to our country’. Being a dual national resent that statement to the fullest. Whenever I come to Pakistan, I am coming home. I am as much a citizen of Pakistan as you are.Recommend

  • نائلہ

    Well TQ hasn’t killed any terrorists yet, just normal Pakistanis. And how is he special in terms of threats from terrorists? Same with Shias, Ahmadis and Christians; actually each and every single person living in Pakistan, he was apparently threatened by them. When was the last time these minorities caused a havoc like this one person?! How does his “exile” have ANY impact or in any way support his and his supporters’ actions? Recommend

  • Oats

    Tahirul Qadri brings shame to hard working law abiding Pakistanis in North America who work, pay tax and integrate themselves in society to improve things. This guy pays no tax, has no loyalty to anyone but himself and is hardly integrated into Canadian society judging by his poor English language skills. If he were more than just a passport holding recent immigrant, he would not do what he is doing.Recommend

  • Khalil Sufi

    Which political party does Tahir ul Qadri represent and is the platform he is using,registered for political activities Moreover he is instigating the people to revolt against the sitting Government. He a foreign national. What business has he to meddle in our affairs. His Pakistani nationality should be revoked and he be deported back to Canada. When Nawaz Shariff, the sitting PM could be packed off to Saudi Arabia. Why can’t Tahir-ul-Qadri be deported. The media in their turn should give a correct political analysis of the situation and not put one against the other.Recommend

  • sz

    All Those dual national are not disrupting Pakistan’s peace or creating a fuss, but he is. You are failing to see the difference.Recommend

  • Sahir Palijo

    Mark my words, it wont be long befor Qadri decides to flee the country and return to Canada. He ll leave behind his brainwashed followers who ll have to face the heat all alone.Recommend

  • A.M

    yeah right. then there should be some clause in Constitution of Pakistan allowing dual nationals to come to Pakistan if they are bored and have nothing to do and make chaos, give crappy speeches against the elected government and than freely flee away.Recommend

  • Sane

    Self proclaimed ‘Sheikh ul Islam’, the Maulana Qadri is the best model among all Hippocrates, found in politics of Pakistan. He has also out shined ‘Maulana’ Fazal ur RehmanRecommend

  • Sane

    If TQ is supported, means anarchy and terrorism is supported.Recommend

  • نائلہ

    Exactly. Recommend

  • Gulwant Singh Bedi

    Maybe you should come back and fight for rights. Recommend

  • Salman

    I do not understand when TUQ is not constitutionally not able to be elected as P.M or President then what purpose he has? I see only one to disrupt the system. An oversees dual nationalist can vote but owing to his allegiance to another country he cannot rule. that’s a rule followed by every county in the world.Recommend