Long march: Walking in the name of ‘revolution’

Published: January 15, 2013

A supporter of Tahirul Qadri shows a victory sign at a protest march in Lahore on January 13, 2013. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: 

Waiting with bated breath for the arrival of her spiritual leader at the long march, Ayesha Bibi knew one thing – getting rid of the incumbent government was the only solution.

“I have never met him [Qadri] but I believe he is our [nation’s] liberator. He will bring a peaceful revolution,” Ayesha, 54, told The Express Tribune.

Bracing the harsh winds of winter, Ayesha Bibi, who came from Rahim Yar Khan some 600 kilometres away from the capital, pledged to continue her protest until the government meets Minhajul Quran International (MQI) chief Dr Tahirul Qadri’s demands.

Her younger daughter, Rimsha Bibi, 17, demanded the resignation of the present leaders. “We are here to support our leader as our rulers have failed to deliver,” she said.

The march put some impressive variety on display – the elderly, children, women and students alike took part in the procession.

A Pakistani-Canadian novelist, Nazneen Sheikh, who has never met the MQI chief herself, said she was here to support the voice of the poor coping with rampant state corruption. “Dr Qadri is representing the people’s voice. I support the cause of this long march,” she said terming Pakistan “a failed state”.

“We are the champion supporters of revolution — no matter who is leading us,” read a banner carried by Sajida Sadiq, an MSc Mathematics student from the University of Punjab.

“It is Islamabad’s Tahrir Square which will guarantee change in Pakistan,” said Farah Iqbal, whose husband Iqbal Ahmed is part of Dr Qadri’s personal security convoy.

In the crowds of hundreds of thousands was the chief editor of a daily newspaper from Faisalabad. “I’m not a party here. I only stand by the cause where people want to get rid of this so-called democracy,” said Mian Bashir Kamalvi.

Doubts and questions

While people from various walks of life, of all ages and ethnicities were part of this new movement, the whole episode did not go about without raising some crucial questions.

Heavy media campaigning, security arrangements and the use of millions of rupees to arrange the “million-man” march left many wondering where Dr Qadri was receiving his funding from.

“There is a hidden agenda behind Qadri’s programme,” said Imran Ahmed, a teacher by profession. “This [long march] is a western agenda to weaken Pakistan.”

Qadri’s suggestion that the military give input on the composition of the interim government has also raised several concerns.

Aamir Khan, a student of the Quaid-e-Azam University suggested the MQI chief was working on behalf of Pakistan’s military. He said, “Qadri also served as a lawmaker in Musharraf’s regime.”

When asked about funding, MQI Islamabad President Abrar Raza also denied the allegations. Talking to The Express Tribune, he said, “Dr Qadri is not a stooge for the military. We are simply seeking to ensure a corruption-free electoral process”.

The majority of the participants of the long march belonged to the lower-middle class and came from Mianwali, Gujar Khan, Quetta, Peshawar, FATA, Layyah, Multan, Lahore, Gujranwala, Mardan, Dera Ismail Khan, Karachi, Hyderabad, Khairpur, Dera Ghazi Khan, Bhakkar, etc.

Over 1, 000 teenagers also pledged to sit-in till their demands are met.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 15th, 2013.

Reader Comments (5)

  • Faisal
    Jan 15, 2013 - 11:04AM

    Is this is way to bring change or to show (might is rite) DR’s act is not for ppl of pak or 4 pak but only sake of anti pak and anti democarcy forcesRecommend

  • W. S.
    Jan 15, 2013 - 5:47PM

    This is the way to bring change, not to show that Dr.’s act is for the sake of anti-pak and anti-democracy forces. The thing is that we all know, Zardari and his party are none-to-be-believed. We don’t know if they do anything illegal with the electoral votes at overnight and show us the fake result. And that’s what we can expect from the PPP now. I don’t know anything about Qadri, but all I know that he has united our nation to stop criminals eating our rights. Hats off to CJ that he asked our rental sa’b to pay a gratitude towards the jail. for constitution preachers, I’d like to say that revolution has nothing to do with constitution. I think the drama of PPP and their followers for 5 years should be over.

    Recommend

  • W. S.
    Jan 15, 2013 - 5:53PM

    This IS the way to bring change and to do for the people of Pakistan and to remove and sweep away the “anti Pak” and “anti democratic” people. Talking about inverted words in my last sentence, I think you got the idea of about whom we are talking about. I think Pakistanis are being too much tested and now their rights should be given to them. It is a delight to see our unity, faith and discipline back again for the sake of fighting for rights and liberty from the imperfect government. For constitution preachers I’d like to say that revolution has nothing to do with the constitution. But still this Long March conveys and obeys all the laws and orders and constitution, let us give them a hats-off and pray for our country’s best.

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  • W. S.
    Jan 15, 2013 - 5:57PM

    @Faisal:
    According to me, this IS the right way to bring the change and to do for the right of Pakistanis and to demolish “anti pak” and “anti democracy” forces. I think you have got the idea of whom we are talking about by reading the inverted words in my last sentence.

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  • Waddia S.
    Jan 17, 2013 - 1:37AM

    Alright, I assume that there is some Western agenda working behind the works and plans of Tahir ul Qadri which are beyond the information of the intelligences, there is no proof still found out. If there’s no evidence, how can somebody say that this is like that and that is like this? Typically unbelievable ideology Imran Ahmed is giving.

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