Using Mumtaz Qadri to bag votes is a sick tactic, Imran Khan

Published: December 1, 2015


Mumtaz Qadri is a convicted killer – a man who shot his own boss in cold blood, then Punjab Governor Salman Taseer, for taking a stand in favour of minorities being unfairly prosecuted under a draconian and archaic law.

Since his heinous crime, Qadri has become a beacon for the insane in this country; a symbol to which extremists flock like birds flying south for the winter, or like suicidal moths burning themselves on tube lights.

Never mind the fact that Qadri threatened to take his own life (which honestly, is like threatening to gift someone a Ferrari); a clear violation of Islam’s anti-suicide rule.

This man now graces banners of both Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and their partners Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), in order to satisfy extremists in the voter base.

The only way this image would have been acceptable is if the PTI bat was striking Qadri on the face.

The reaction from activist Jibran Nasir was understandably swift:

On the other hand, the response from PTI’s chief of staff was… confusing:

Wait, what does that even mean? You can dissociate yourself from the posters, but what about your candidates? This would be like me crashing my car in a horrible accident, running away, and then saying,

“I would like to dissociate completely from a certain vehicle registered under my name, involved in a crash, where casualties may have occurred.”

Comedian Junaid Akram mimicked the PTI apologists:

And what about PTI’s brothers on the election trail, JI?

Recently, PTI head honcho, Imran Khan, wrote an official letter to the Bangladeshi prime minister, requesting her to halt the execution of members of Jamaat-e-Islami convicted of war crimes.

“If his execution is stopped, it will be in the larger interest not only of our region, but for the establishment of world peace and justice.”

Meanwhile, a news site reported on how PTI had violated Election Commission rules by allocating 45 crore rupees to JI close to local body elections.

This is the same JI that sought a presidential pardon, yes complete forgiveness, for Mumtaz Qadri in 2011:

“[JI] urges the President to announce amnesty for Qadri like many other cases especially under the NRO,” said a resolution adopted by JI Shura. “Government should withdraw the case against him for murdering Taseer in the public interest.”

It wasn’t just a silly case of misjudgment years ago from PTI’s buddies. As The Express Tribune reports, they use the murderer like a cheerleader:

“The poster, put up by the Jamaat-e-Islami candidates for UC-34 of Baldia in District West, bears the slogan ‘Aao Badlen Karachi’. It has the names and pictures of JI and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf candidates contesting in UC-34 of Turk Colony.

What has made this particular poster controversial, however, are the four pictures on the top right corner. They are mug shots of Mumtaz Qadri, Ghazi Ilm Din and Umar Cheema. The man in the fourth picture could not be identified, even by the JI’s own leaders.

“All these people are conquerors (Ghazi) of good over bad and have given their lives for the love of religion,” reasoned the JI spokesperson. “There is nothing wrong with these pictures and they have only been printed to motivate our voters,” he added.

PTI can pretend to look the other way, but we all know this tactic is straight out of Imran’s playbook. Not only did the cricketer turned politician for years plead in favour of the Taliban, stooping so low as to appeal for a Taliban embassy immediately after a horrific attack on a church, and in effect creating a narrative that the Taliban were only killing Pakistani civilians in retaliation to military strikes, when as the timeline proves, it was the other way around, but he had no qualms about parading the picture of Taliban sympathiser, Dr Aafia Siddiqui around, in order to attract votes.

As The News reported, even Dr Afia’s husband confessed that his ex-wife, who allegedly remarried the nephew of a 9/11 mastermind, was dangerous,

“I was aware of Aafia’s violent personality and extremist views and suspected her involvement in Jihadi activities.”

Why was Imran so concerned with an American citizen who had put the safety of her own children on the line to visit the group in Afghanistan? Why had Imran carried banners of Aafia across the streets, feeding hatred against the West, and building sympathy for Aafia’s associates?

The answer, of course, is votes.

A few years ago, Imran was standing up against General Pervez Musharraf with Nawaz Sharif, but today, he calls the dictator a far better choice than the democratically elected leader.

Pakistanis on twitter were quick to refresh Kaptaan’s memory:

In a nutshell, PTI is willing to create compassion for a dictator, a convicted murderer, convicted war criminals, a fellow party which supports religious extremists, a woman accused of terrorism, and an entire terrorist organisation (immediately after it bombs a place of worship for minorities, no less), in order to gain support.

Interestingly enough, Imran’s readiness to partner with anyone comes back to haunt him with regularity. Recently, TV presenter Aamir Liaquat mocked the PTI chairman after the end of his second marriage.

Naeemul Haque was sharp in his criticism:

Wait… If Aamir Liaquat is such a nasty person, why did Imran show up on his show a couple of years ago?

Didn’t PTI know Aamir Liaquat was as unsavoury a character then, as he is now? Of course they did. We all knew. But PTI’s moral compass only seems to function when their neck is on the line. Otherwise, they are like Mick Foley in a no-holds-barred cage match, where anything goes.

I, too, voted for PTI because I bought into Imran’s sales pitch. Like so many ex-PTI fans, I am regretting it now.

Recently, when Imaan Hazir, the daughter of PTI spokesperson Shireen Mazari, tweeted about the abuse she had faced from PTI voters, ironically enough, PTI voters tried to prove that they were not abusive by being abusive.

Here, a PTI fan calls her a ‘pari likhi jahil’ (educated illiterate), for sharing her views. Things only took a turn for the worse when Imaan claimed to have voted for PML-N instead.

And yes, PTI workers do inconvenience citizens like the political parties they claim to be different from.

Clearly, a growing number of PTI voters are becoming disillusioned by the party’s antics by the day.

PTI gained popularity after it took a vow to fight the corrupt status quo as an ethical group of politicians. Unfortunately, they are proving to be the same sort of jesters, just in different colours.

Noman Ansari

Noman Ansari

The author is the editor-in-chief of IGN Pakistan, and has been reviewing films and writing opinion pieces for The Express Tribune as well as Dawn for five years. He tweets as @Pugnate (

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

  • inam

    Some local candidate put qaedi picture and you blame imran khan. Thats not your mind but your vendetta speaking. Pti would do well with you or without you. Thanks for voting for bat and good luck with your next choice. Recommend

  • ovais

    ok be my friend and vote for nawaz zardari and altaf . its very simple Imran is the better optionRecommend

  • Adnan Naqvi

    Well said!Recommend

  • SAIF

    Perhaps, you should write an article about nawaz sharif doing the same thing too…because PMLN also has used his image. But anyways, since you only like to write about I see where its all coming from.Recommend

  • Noman Ansari

    I just want to clarify. My blog title said PTI and JI rather than Imran Khan I believe. So I thought I’d mention that it was an editorial decision to change. Otherwise, all the same.Recommend

  • Shahid Lateef

    PTI Official response to Noman Ansari blog by the way pti already investigating on this matter & mr Noman Ansari if you look back in history you find only Imran Khan who spoke openly against Mumtaz Qadri

  • Parvez

    There is much substance in what you say… view was out of Zardari, Nawaz and Imran ( terrible, very bad and bad ) the obvious choice was Imran ( bad ) but now I think its time to press for another item on the ballot…..NOTA – none of the above.Recommend

  • Abeer Ashfaq Rao

    There are no perfect choices my friend. Every single political party in this country has shaken hands with the devil. Be it musharaf with MMA, ppp with JUI , PMLN constantly contesting elections from jhang by aligning with banned organizations or bhutto passing a bill that lead to killings of hundreds of ahmedis.
    Stop living in a bliss my friend. And have a bigger prospective. Learn to look at things with relativity in mind.
    Pakistan is a country with a below 50% literacy and these very people ultimately become followers. PTI’s distribution of seats they have won are from the relatively educated areas. If u r calling supporters of PTI illiterate, then my friend u have no idea what PPP PMLN supporters are like, just because they don’t disturb you and your burger, pseudo intellectual posts on the social media because of lesser access to these forums don’t forget the education status of the people of this country.Recommend

  • Zaid Feroz

    Glad to see that I’m not the only one……I too voted for IK last time and I truly regret wasting 4 hours of my life standing in line to cast my vote for the prospect of real change and prosperity… I partially blame myself for what the PTI has done / is still doing……I feel like i’ve been scammed just like those who got hoodwinked by Axact… alliance with the Jamaatis to counter MQM is like asking help from terrorists to beat terroristsRecommend

  • Awais Kaleem

    and this guy has won as well ….. sad day for PTIRecommend

  • Regrets

    I regret voting for him too .True they are all the same .
    When will this Qadri be hanged ??? he should be hanged in publicRecommend

  • Syeda Ali

    Nice analysis. Although agree with all these valid points, would have been better if the title held PTI instead of IK. Nevertheless, the point of this blog is really apt.Recommend

  • Ali Aftab

    @noman_ansari:disqus Really dude just for the sake of attracting some readers a person can go that low to paint all with the same brush. It is not a rocket science to know how corrupt as a nation we have become and it is obvious that Imran has to choose people from the lot available in paksitan. If you really need to do a comparison you should compare party heads Imran VS Nawaz VS Zardari. If you really love your country be courageous and write about mega corruption scandals of Zardari and Sharif Dynasty. Please don’t misguide people with articles that are directed towards your personal benefits think about bigger picture(Your country Pakistan). All those who are regretting voting for Imran ask yourself a question what other options you have. I know he is not perfect but I am more than confident that he loves his country and had sacrificed his family life for sake Pathetic people like Noman Ansari. Can you please highlight the mini budget by the finance minister.. OH I see you don’t have courage to write about actual matters that are important for people of Pakistan. God Bless Pakistain!!!.Recommend

  • Saad

    Some good points Noman. Things we weren’t aware of. But on a different level does this mean PTI is worse than the rest? I know you are not drawing a comparison here but as voter we have to. I guess sitting back and no taking sides is just not an option anymore. SO while we know a lot of bad things about PTI, and a few more through you, my question is how bad is their bad? Is their hypocrisy worse than the rest? One is forced to question some from PTI may have shown sympathy with Qadri but why is the guy still alive in the first place – isn’t this a form a sympathy shown to him by PPP and PMLN and even military courts?

    So while some facts in your article draw me away from PTI, who should they draw me towards? I’d list a few “achievements” of other parties including state terrorism, taxation, corruption, etc. but I bet you know better than me.

    While I do not disagree with most of the things you said but one gets the impression PTI is sometimes grilled on things others are not. Apart from media “selling” their stories on what the government does, I feel PMLN gets away completely easy from people like you.Recommend

  • Pakistani

    None of this garbage influences me, Imran Khan is far better then nawaz, zardari and altafRecommend

  • Battlefield

    Dear writer let people show their hate,,, If they feel bad they wont vote, That is how democracy is…Recommend

  • Umer Fayyaz

    started nicely with ‘my friend’ ‘you should’ etc and ended up with burger, pseudo intellectual!!! how typical it is noman ansari. they prove it themselves as you saidRecommend

  • Rehan Ali

    Everyone is bad so we, the good people, should vote a bad PTI rather than the bad PMLN or PPP. And it makes perfect sense to vote bad PTI as they are new on the scene.

    Yes, they were part of different dictatorships.

    Yes they have had associations with PMLQ, PPP and PMLN.

    Yes they are the proponents of dynastic politics but you are missing the point PTI is a totally new assemblage, atleast under this banner.Recommend

  • Basit Ali

    well Mr. Noman , u should do yur homework before writing this blog,

    i personally belong to dis UC and Mumtaz Qadri and his family also belong to same UC living their for almost more then 25 years. if u can read the banner it clearly shows that “manjanib: Malik bradri”…..anyone can support any one, whts da big deal in it,em sure u guys had no issue if dis same poster is displayed with some Ahmedi Leader pictureRecommend

  • mazharuddin

    Mumtaz qadri is Mard e Mujahid.Recommend

  • Ghulaam Rasool

    Ghazi Mumtaz Qadri only acted when the government failed to act in the honor of the explicit restriction provided in the Article 19 of the Constitution and section 295 of the PPC, to guard the honor of Islam’s Beloved Holy Prophet (abundant blessings and peace be upon him). He acted to please the Sovereign of Pakistan (as per the Constitution), the Sovereign of the Universe, Allah. Everyone’s entitled to his/her views, I am with Ghazi Mumtaz Qadri. In the Article 227 of the Constitution of Pakistan, 1973, it is clearly mentioned that all laws be brought in conformity with the Islamic provisions (Shar’iah). Islamic provisions are superior to all laws in force in Pakistan. Ghazi Mumtaz Qadri has not violated any law, he naturally acted when the Government was letting off the convict Asia Bibi.Recommend

  • adnan

    He is a murderer. Stop glorifying himRecommend

  • siesmann

    It was people of Pakistan who chose to vote for Zardari,and then Nawz Sharif.Recommend

  • siesmann

    So what is wrong with Trump advocating shutting down Muslims completerly from USA,when people like Qadri exist among them.

    And what is wrong with Israelis killing people who attack them,when a Governor can be killed for saying that there be a second look at a law,that everybody but people like you believe is more than 90% used wrongly.Recommend

  • siesmann

    Ahmadis don’t go murdering people.That distinction is reserved for people like you.Recommend

  • Adeel

    Mumtaz Qadri is our Hero. He sacrifice his live in the name of our beloved Holy Prophet. There is no reason for any Muslim to live if Blasphemy law is not Safe. In other words it is the duty of every Muslim to protect Blasphemy law. Mumtaz Qadri will live for ever in our heart. He teach us the way to deal with the person who work against Blasphemy law. Mumtaz Qadri Zindabad. Pakistan Zindabad.Recommend