After the Long March

Published: January 24, 2013

Analysing the Qadri game in an earlier column, I had said that “the outcome depends on how strongly Dr Qadri wants to march towards Islamabad and the extent of support he can muster from other parties”. The preparation of the march to the minutest of details and the unfailing commitment of the participants to follow Dr Qadri’s line, demonstrated the strength of the desire to march. Indeed, the march went ahead despite the dithering of the MQM and the PTI. The clever cleric seems to have mastered the art of strategy, outshining the left as well as the religious right in terms of techniques of mobilising people. To say that he had plentiful resources at disposal, or that it was a congregation of blind followers, is neither here nor there. The point is that he made an efficient use of these resources. Most important, Dr Qadri used religious symbolism but the agenda presented by him covered territory where angels fear to tread. On terrorism, there were no Imran Khan and Jamaat-e-Islami-like ifs and buts. The ‘this is our war’ school was taunted for lack of strategy and poor legislation. Ironically, all those political forces who were in league with General Ziaul Haq for inserting the sadiq and ameen clauses had never taken them seriously. Dr Qadri, on the other hand, has succeeded in bringing these sleeping clauses onto the centre stage. This is precisely the outcome of his Long March. Dr Qadri has won the first round and is not going back to Canada. He is a significant player.

My earlier column had also stated: “As a result of the success of the march, the PPP will have a chance to delay the elections and prolong its rule. In the process, the chances of the PML-N winning the elections in the next few months will diminish.” I had also said that the “flexi-regime of the PPP under President Asif Ali Zardari may have no qualms about it”. It engaged Dr Qadri in negotiations right from the beginning and formally signed the Long March Declaration, recognising him as a stakeholder and agreeing to his roadmap of electoral reform. The Declaration increases the period of scrutiny of electoral candidates from about 10 days at present to one month. However, even one month is too short for any scrutiny that strictly observes the disqualification clauses, especially the sadiq and ameen provisions.

The Qadri game will come in full play when pressures are applied to extend this period even further by the influential quarters mentioned by Dr Qadri as stakeholders. Given the deteriorating external and internal situation, these quarters are unlikely to act outside the constitutional framework. Upping the ante in Kashmir and the rapidly worsening state of internal security may provide grounds for the proclamation of emergency by the president. Economic indicators, especially the unusually high burden of external debt servicing and the depleting foreign exchange reserves, threaten economic stability. Thus, grounds also exist for the proclamation of financial emergency by the president. Once a proclamation of emergency is in force, the Constitution allows the National Assembly to extend its term by one year. The president and the majority parties in the National Assembly are already part of the Long March Declaration. A whole year will thus be available to cleanse politics, fix the economy and keep the PML-N away from power. It will also provide the stable environment desired for the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan.

I said earlier and say it again: there is more to the Qadri game than meets the eye.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 25th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (14)

  • sabi
    Jan 25, 2013 - 1:31AM

    This man contested election and won only one seat by virtue of Dictator.Then he fled to canada and applied for asylum on pretext of danger to life.then was Pakistan relatively safer than today.There he applied for all social benefits without doing job on pretext of bad health.Then he waited whole five years and thought of cleansing Pakistan from every evil without looking into his own coat.He boasted of bringing four millions on street he failed miserably but insisted (open lie) few thousands to be yet five millions instead of four.Then he announced dissolution of all assemblies and termed public representatives as ex with lot of bad titels.He waited and waited for third force to step in but nobody came.He beged for face saving which was given.
    His oratory speechs were nothing short of street venders selling cheap products on streets.
    The most sad part of this whole episode is role of intelectual analysts who keep on giving him publicity for his speech power but failed to notice that there were actually no contents but hypocrisy,contradictions,confusions rhetorics.Don’t we give any weight to moral corruption?


  • Mirza
    Jan 25, 2013 - 1:46AM

    The writer does not disclose whether he is in favor of Qadri or not. He writes “Dr Qadri has won the first round and is not going back to Canada.’
    Of course with the Canadian govt looking at the perjury of Qadri he would be a fool to go there and spend his time in jail. He was collecting welfare and now hired four lawyers to defend him in Canada.
    The writer also talks fondly about sadiq and ameen provisions that the worst dictator Gen Zia had willfully inserted in the constitution. These terms are so vague that even the PCO SC CJ cannot meet these requirements. Which of the stake holders has not lied and subverted the constitution in their life? How many years in the past has one have to be sadiq and ameen to qualify for elections? Would the past lives and indiscretions of our politicians be considered when screened for sadiq and ameen? To quote my father these slaves of Queen Victoria are now screening the born Muslims? From Jinnah to all the current politicians nobody would qualify or this condition would only be used to bring in people who the establishment likes.


  • stevenson
    Jan 25, 2013 - 5:12AM

    I think you are giving too much credit to a failed politician who ran off to Canada and asked for asylum. Do you have any idea how much shame he has caused the Muslim community in Canada? Some of my co workers in Canada ask me about the Muslim cleric who lives on welfare? Welfare is state monetary support given to poor Canadians who don’t work or who don’t have money. Welfare is taken from the tax contributions of working Canadians. So here you have a religious leader who ran away from Pakistan and applied as a refugee to Canada – not a skilled immigrant who came honestly. In order to be a refugee, he had to claim that his life was in danger of being killed in Pakistan but sure enough Tahirul Qadri flies back to Pakistan to have a big rally. Mind you the so called million man march had hardly 50 000 followers. Tahirul Qadri has no moral authority to speak in Pakistan when he has shamed the Muslim community while living on welfare. People in Canada are also upset that he justified his Canadian nationality on the basis of needing visa free travel on a Canadian passport and for ongoing health reasons. Tell me what Canadian tax payer wants to hear that a foreign religious leader wants to be a Canadian refugee just to abuse their social welfare system? He sat in a heated box in Islamabad behind bullet proof glass trying to bring down an elected government but all he did was show himself to be an egotistical self obsessed leader.


  • Saeed
    Jan 25, 2013 - 12:11PM

    This man has stirred the pot, but to whose benefit? The person who stands to gain from all this, is probably the President. PML has most to lose, and the political musical chairs goes on to the detriment of the people. People are ready to clutch at straws in Pakistan, and this what they did with this “Tartuffe”. We all know and have know what is needed to fix this corrupt political structure, there was nothing new in what this pisher demanded. The poltroons of PML and PPP fell for what was nothing more than a grand “madari ka show.” The people continue to suffer, it is irrelevant whether Qadri goes back to Canada, he has done his job. With a freer press it is a dangerous move to try to fool the people more than once. He should be relegated to the dustbin of history along with all the PPP and PML and that pecksniffian Maulana.


  • Riaz Khan
    Jan 25, 2013 - 3:47PM

    Intelligent Analysis!


  • MSS
    Jan 25, 2013 - 4:29PM

    “A whole year will thus be available to cleanse politics, fix the economy ….”.
    If they really wanted to do it, they had 5 years. How can they fix everything in a year? Does the author believe in IK as his role model?
    Economy is going to take years to fix. Stable environment for anything depends not on the government and the party in power but many other factors beyond Pakistan’s control. Party is the problem, not the solution. Zardari is the shrewdest president ever in Pakland. His aim to stay in power till his son is ready for the job. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. What does power do to those who are absolutely corrupt already? Whether he succeeds or not is up to the people and their wisdom or the lack of it.


  • Singh
    Jan 25, 2013 - 6:00PM

    If you check my comment from day one you will find what I wrote. i.e
    “This man is selling snake oil & people will buy it”. Nothing change in last 65 year.


  • Grace
    Jan 26, 2013 - 1:47AM

    @Singh: The Canadian government fell for his tricks too when they granted him asylum as a refugee fleeing persecution only to see him go Islamabad to hold a demonstration. What a joke – a man claims asylum on persecution and then flies home – all the while he lives on welfare which is resevd for poor Canadians who don’t work! Tahirul Qadri has duped both Pakistanis and Canadians alike!


  • anwar
    Jan 26, 2013 - 3:00PM

    He was the collection agent for Riko Dik company… He got what he came for. Back interest on loan


  • Ajmal
    Jan 28, 2013 - 1:49AM

    This Asylum story is totally false and baseless. He has clarified it. He Acquired Canadian immigration in 1999 as scholar and leader of MQI. later after resigning from NA he got the Canadian nationality in 2005.


  • Qasam Ahmad
    Jan 28, 2013 - 6:29AM

    @ Sabi, Stevenson and Grace.

    Your accusation that Dr. Qadri has been a refugee in Canada, or that he took any amount of welfare is slander, baseless and none of you have stated any credible links to prove these allegations. On the base of this, i call you out as liars, pure and simply. If you have a problem with that then provide proof of your claim.Recommend

  • Kashif
    Jan 28, 2013 - 5:04PM

    Good analysis. Hope this activity of long march will filter tax evaders, corrupt elements, fake degree holders etc from next election. and bring new faces in assemblies.


  • Naveed Feroz Ali
    Jan 28, 2013 - 5:31PM

    I have no doubts that all you people are liars as making accusations about Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri. He has made it very clear that he didn’t applied for any asylum in Canada. He got nationality by professional immigration program which we all knew very well because lot of professionals went there to pursue their carrier. Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri went there to support his research and intellectual work. He runs his welfare organization in 90 countries worldwide and has to travel through out the world for his work. I don’t see any such leader in whole Muslim world who has his grip on Islam as a way of life and modern aspects of 21st century. Your lack of knowledge get you doomed. Leaders like him are not born every day. If someone called him a failed politicians then I would say no good person can be successful in this corrupt political system which we called in our country as democracy. Dr. Mohammad Tahir-ul-Qadri is very right in its demands and proceedings to achieve his demands.


  • Feb 2, 2013 - 10:34AM

    i am not satisfied on qadri long march he play a huge game with people.


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