The Islamabad Pir-volution?
Take a country of 180 million people where nearly half of the population lives below the poverty line and a growing percentage becomes vulnerable to it every year and what do you have? An open stage for people like Dr Tahirul Qadri (TuQ) to waltz in and prey upon the psychological disadvantages that poverty invariably creates – the most outstanding ones being depression and hopelessness.
In a state of utter despondency, man just wants to believe, even if it’s in empty promises and false pledges. In our society, the pirs, the self-proclaimed saints, take the cake when handing out hope to the illiterate, beggarly, and poverty stricken.
As a result of the notorious sit-in or dharna of the imported revolutionist from Canada, the nation now witnesses yet another pir rising amidst the crowds seething away in the heat and the rain and the trash in Islamabad. It can only be in a country like Pakistan that people like Dr TuQ can get away preying on mass hopelessness and hysteria, exploiting just the right raw nerve in order to get their ‘million man’ show on the road. They carry out this exploitation to fulfil their Napoleonic dreams of political reformation. For the crowds they target, there is no light at the end of the long, dark tunnel of suffering. To them, God seems very far away while the pirs are close enough to touch.
Already Dr TuQ is in the process of officially inaugurating no less than a marriage bureau right on the roads of Islamabad. On September 27, he conducted a marriage ceremony of three girls with all his blessings.
Further evidence of the ‘Piri Mureedi’ (following a spiritual leader) culture was seen again when the crowd went crazy to get a wisp of the tissue paper with which TuQ had wiped his brow.
This only goes to prove that the human mass that Dr TuQ and Mr Imran Khan have dragged all the way to Islamabad really is extremely uneducated. The educated bunch is primarily there to assuage its curiosities and get a free ticket to an open air concert. Also, judging by Dr TuQ’s prowess in handling his ‘saintly’, aka piri status, the turf is not new to him. And indeed it is not; as a little search on the amazing spy tool known as YouTube reveals.
There are a number of videos of Dr TuQ in the throes of demonstrating his ‘Piri Mureedi’, saint like skills. These videos are ample proof of how certain religious clerics gone off the wrong end pry on the mind-sets of unsuspecting, uneducated masses and then brainwash them. They then use this might of human numbers as building blocks for their grand dream of revamping the entire system of a 180 million people country.
Realistically, how could this be possible? Whatever happened to political processes, democratic systems, the constitution, and the Parliament, to name a few ‘hindrances’?
Basically, the lack of education makes them highly vulnerable of falling into traps the likes of which have been laid in Islamabad. In a video I came across, Dr TuQ’s fans were actually prostrating before him and kissing his feet at a qawwali gathering. And there is also a speech by Dr TuQ in which he defends these acts of the attendees.
A pathetic, greater majority of the dharna attendees are there to see an immediate resolution of their problems such as lack of basic amenities including water and electricity, health care, and education. And in more dire cases, even food. They look to pirs and self-proclaimed saints, to resolve these issues through an instant ‘revolution’ because they feel that being religious maestros, they have the ‘power’ to do so.
The followers are hopeless. They hang on to every little bit of hope they can find, even if that means grabbing a thread of the handkerchief Dr TuQ throws at them. Honestly, if Dr TuQ really had been so enamoured with the pains of the people, would he really be covering his nose to keep out the stench when stepping out of his container? I think not.
Needless to say, this infamous sit-in at Islamabad has now gone on far too long. If nothing at all, it is at least bringing to light innumerable questions as to who these players really are and what exactly they are attempting to do. It seems like Nawaz Sharif has taken a solemn pledge to stay staunch on Napoleon Bonaparte’s famous quote,
“Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.”
Obviously, Dr TuQ too has been meekly left to his devices to self-destruct.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.