‘He wants to topple the whole system’

Published: June 26, 2014
The writer is a columnist, a former major of the Pakistan Army and served as press secretary to Benazir Bhutto

The writer is a columnist, a former major of the Pakistan Army and served as press secretary to Benazir Bhutto kamran.shafi@tribune.com.pk

So says Canadian-Pakistani-Canadian Tahirul Qadri’s spokesman, Shahid Mursaleen, speaking to Reuters as his leader was arriving, reclining in Club Class, in Lahore, on diverted Emirates flight EK 612, on which, according to another report in the press, he was accompanied by up to 150 of his acolytes, the rest of the passengers numbering about 46 or thereabouts.

The Mureeds arrived in Dubai from Europe and North America to accompany him to Pakistan, and were strictly ordered to check in singly so as not to arouse the suspicions of the Dubai airport and Emirates airlines authorities. However, as soon as the plane approached Islamabad for landing, these braves took up defensive positions on all the doors despite the cabin staff and the Captain of the aircraft asking them repeatedly to sit down in their seats.

The plane was, quite correctly, not given permission to land in Islamabad where the airport was under siege by Qadri supporters and was at risk of being vandalised by the several hundred who had gathered there, bolstered by people bused in by the Chaudhries of Lahore’s Doongi Ground Scandal, and Shiekh Rashid ‘Talli’s’ several goondas. There was serious concern that an aircraft belonging to a foreign airline, of the 10 or so that still service Pakistan, would be damaged and passengers harmed.

The police were so terrified of acting strongly because of the hugely botched ‘operation’ in Model Town, Lahore, where 11 poor followers of the rabble-rouser had been killed and several injured just three days before, that they might well have wilted before a determined assault on the aircraft itself. Recall, too, that the preacher had taken an oath from his cult followers that they lay down their lives for the Cause!

But back to the flight and to the puerile actions of TUQ and his cultists. As soon as the plane gained height and changed direction and the announcement was made that the new destination was Lahore due to a security situation, the toughs sat down for a while and as the plane landed at Lahore, packs of 10 each took command of all the doors shoving the cabin crew aside, not allowing anyone off or on to the plane. They also raised blood-curdling slogans as if a political meeting was going on inside the aircraft, scaring some of the cabin crew so much that some of the poor things locked themselves in the toilets. The aircraft captain’s entreaties to sit down went unheeded, immediately attracting charges of hijacking and terrorism which would have led to stiff penalties anywhere else in the world.

And now Qadri’s politics, and of course the disgusting role of our electronic media in this sorry episode. First, the media. It seemed as if the only news in the world was the preacher and his so-called ‘Club Class revolution’. And as if the tragic but necessary exodus of up to 400,000 poor and defenceless and hungry and thirsty IDPs from North Waziristan was of no consequence.

Indeed, one of the few times that the Punjab Puls acted sensibly and UNDER CONTROL of its officers as one saw Live on our TV screens, and followed the riot-control SOPs of most civilised police forces in the world was in Rawalpindi outside the airport: advance threateningly towards the stone-throwing mob, shields up, and then after the mob runs backwards, withdraw. To advance again, then fall back, and so on; disorienting the crowd with tear gas.

And what do our disgraceful channels do? ‘Police paspah ho gayee’! Police maidan chorr keh bhag gayee’. ‘Maidan Dr Qadri kay hamiyon keh haath mein’! Neither was this all. The few times there was tear-gas shelling and a baton-charge, a silly and very breathless girl of a TV channel out of Islamabad likened the situation in Rawalpindi to Gaza and Indian-held Kashmir! I ask you! And this in face of the fact that her male counterpart, and a senior anchor taking part in the ‘show’ tried to calm her down.

As an aside: When the Commando wanted to give out tens of licences for electronic media outlets I repeatedly warned him that having lived under censorship for most of its life, our country was not ready for such complete madar-piddar azaadi. I gave the example of the BBC and suggested the government study proposals made in 1989 by the peerless Aslam Azhar to grant complete autonomy to PTV as a start. I know this because as Press Secretary to the much missed, much lamented Benazir Bhutto, I strongly recommended the proposals which she, too, agreed with. As chance would have it Mr GIK and Aslam Beg conspired to dismiss her government just then.

Must add that a man named ‘Shahid Aziz’ vigorously opposed what I was saying to the Commando, in The Nation!

‘He wants to topple the whole system’ does he? He wants the Constitution rolled up (Suo Motu, My Lords?); he wants the present National and Provincial assemblies and the Senate to be shut down; the courts closed (Suo Motu My Lords?). Most of all he wants the elected governments to be sacked. Er, how? From his insistence that only the Army can get him off the aircraft in Lahore one can see what he means. Sadly for him, the Army was not interested, so when the threat was made that the air-conditioning inside the plane was about to be switched off, the self-styled Shaikhul Islam suggested the Governor Punjab take him off the plane!’

Hot on the heels of all this tamasha came the news that brilliant lawyer SR Kasuri and Shahid Latif (Retd., Air Marshal) were members of a ‘Core’ committee of the Commando’s and TUQ’s parties. Hot on the wheels of which we were told that ‘Coach’ Sh. Rashid ‘Talli’ had asked his trainee Imran Khan to join this grand alliance, which includes the much vaunted Chaudhries of Doongi Ground.

Hot on the heels of which came the news that Imran Khan had threatened to dissolve the K-P government and join the revolution, leading many people to believe that he/his party can’t take the heat off the brave military operation against the murderous terrorists!

Published in The Express Tribune, June 27th, 2014.

Like Opinion & Editorial on Facebook, follow @ETOpEd on Twitter to receive all updates on all our daily pieces.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (40)

  • Ali
    Jun 27, 2014 - 12:27AM

    Even Absar Alam and Irfan Siddiqui were able to hide their lafafa journalism. But you sir seem to be blatantly flaunting the lafafas you seem to be getting. Simply shameless analyses.

    Having said that, I must say that, “I might disagree with your opinion, but I will fight to the death for your right to it”.


  • Parvez
    Jun 27, 2014 - 12:50AM

    There is much confusion, inept media, bad governance and just plain stupidity going around………reading you Sir, I expected a clear summation of mess and a seasoned post mortem of events with a logical conclusion……….but what I got was more confusion.


  • Mubarik Ali
    Jun 27, 2014 - 12:51AM

    Hazrat Allama Iqbal has rightly said and is still very true:
    Deen-e-Kafir Fiqro tdbeer-e- Jahid
    Deen-e-Mullah Fi-sabil-Allah Fasad
    Dr. Tahirul Qadri is just a mullah using religion to gain power but won’t suceed. Just like last time his followers will suffer in the heat and he will be sitting in airconditioned container doing Mazakrat with government officals.


  • Assad
    Jun 27, 2014 - 1:02AM

    Challo ji, phir full circle…back to the Commando…


  • Jun 27, 2014 - 1:21AM

    This man is still singing hymns and praises of the Brothers Sharif.
    The heavier one Nawaz and the smaller one Shahbaz.. Twins,..actually
    If you will look closely,..you will notice the angelic faces of the brothers.
    Nawaz with his grim foreboding visage, [rumor has it some mothers use
    his photo to control an unruly child]. Then there is cherubic Shahbaz with
    the “Who? Me? I was out of the loop” look. Together the brothers are
    fighting tooth and nail, a preacher hardly worth a mention. Until Model Town
    Debacle. A two bit inconsequential mullah, who is now a giant.
    The author needs to start looking for a new patron. Perhaps Baby Bhutto ?


  • sabi
    Jun 27, 2014 - 1:32AM

    Brilliant article Sir,you are a son of soil.
    You know what’s coming next?- Big explosion!! nobody will escape.
    Wo sudi tumhari thi ye sudi hamari hae.
    Their ultimate fate is dragging them to the place they deserve.Wait and see.


  • H chaudhry
    Jun 27, 2014 - 3:18AM

    Wonderful article. You are definately one of few sane voices left in Pakistani media.


  • Sidster
    Jun 27, 2014 - 3:37AM

    I agree with the writer that TUQ organization and its leadership are all after one and one thing only “Power”. Revolution come when you are ready to rebuild Society. He cannot even able to rebuilt his life. Mr Qadir’s first try was very cowardly, when he cut and ran to Canada.
    I disagree with the writer regards to Channel’s. Granting permission to entertainment industry to establish Channel is a way to enlighten our Society. What people need to understand is what each person or organization does with the permission is their responsibility. Collective responsibility should be accepted when we see a crime or wrong behavior.


  • Asad Malik
    Jun 27, 2014 - 3:41AM

    “Much missed, much lamented Benazir Bhutto”. Oh please…that phrase only applies to people who were blind to her corruption and morally bankrupt ways of dealing with everything.


  • Zaheer
    Jun 27, 2014 - 4:03AM

    Kamran at this age you are entitled to whine and cry. You have impressed me with your mud slinging skills. Unfortunately, your vision has impaired to a degree where you can not see anything wrong with our system. I hope you stop concentrating on people and start looking for ways to end misery, murder, mayhem, corruption, crime, barbarianism, humiliation, hunger, and hopelessness our people are faced with everyday.


  • Ranjha
    Jun 27, 2014 - 5:25AM

    KS is perhaps the most vile person on this planet. And that is not saying much!Recommend

  • Rashid Khan
    Jun 27, 2014 - 7:00AM

    Why did you ruin the op-ed with your rancour against all and sundry except the two brothers and their handling of the situation from the word go. Friar TUK became a hero because the clowns couldn’t get their act together. I just wonder how you’d comment on the ‘jangla bus’ had it been the brain child some other ‘genius’ town planner.


  • K. Selvam
    Jun 27, 2014 - 7:16AM

    Correct view, only missing is who is able to sponsor and organize such a huge anti PML-N attack? Not Qadri, but more a rogue wing of the most famous Pakistani institution, the XYX.


  • wsd
    Jun 27, 2014 - 7:21AM

    The sick guy did not bother to write a single word about IDPs. Imran made it clear that PTI is not leaving KPK govt. Get on with life and if possible re visit your thinking!!!!!!!


  • haroon
    Jun 27, 2014 - 7:57AM

    I am a pilot and i know that there is no provision in aviation law where you can divert an international flight for political reasons. This is simply illegal.


  • Usman Aziz
    Jun 27, 2014 - 9:29AM

    Insanity still prevailing…. is there any kind of system? how you people forget death toll of children in Thar? Massacre in Lahore, Crystal clear videos of Massive rigging, corruption and bias of judiciary, lawlessness and inflation, projects that ensure huge commissions/kickbacks instead of investment in human health and education… what a system you guys want to save …. Revolution is Answer


  • MAD
    Jun 27, 2014 - 9:44AM

    Dear Kamran Shafi Sb no sir you will never get security clearence from agencies for that High Commissioner post you so desperately crave. So stop sucking up to the govt. Your bias seeps everywhere now.


  • Humza
    Jun 27, 2014 - 9:50AM

    @haroon: Tell me, is there a provision in aviation law that allows unruly passengers to disturb a plane and endanger its crew? I know that in North America, any passenger who creates an unruly disturbance or threatens the crew even by not following instructions is grounds to be arrested or having the flight return or be rerouted. This article is simply brilliant in its trenchant analysis of what really happened and how the media is not showing the real farce of TUQ and group. The author is the clearest voice of reason in Pakistan right now.


  • P
    Jun 27, 2014 - 9:52AM

    Only the Americans and Arabs, Pakistan’s owners, can topple the system.


  • TooTrue
    Jun 27, 2014 - 10:33AM

    Qadri, the fake doctor, has left this country for new shores. He is now a resident of Canada. He shouldn’t have been permitted to board the Emirates flight to Islamabad. The government should cancel his passport and deport him back to Canada. The mob on the flight should be tried for interfering with the flight crew.


  • Jun 27, 2014 - 10:44AM

    The opinion section is not for everyone. It can be very confusing. And mentally challenging.
    Might be better if you peruse the cartoons.


  • Baloch
    Jun 27, 2014 - 11:43AM

    Its a shame to see the media glorifying TUQ.why were all these so called revolutionaries including the great IK sleeping when PPP was tearing this country apart? I’m not a Nawaz supporter but pitching TUQ against an elected government with a few thousand supporters is foolish. Its evident that the strings are being pulled from the quarters deep within the capital. If this lunatic is to be our revolutionary leader then the worst is yet to come my friends. I think IK forgets that TUQ has also sworn his allegiance to the Queen and kings in the west. People say that he’s a leader of great stature but do great leaders have double standards? MR IK the true test begins when you step into power. Perform and try to develop some patience, its a county we’re talking about here not a world cup.


  • faraz
    Jun 27, 2014 - 12:27PM

    100% reality and awesome article. Full marks sir. This is the Reality. And it was also the experiment of immature politician like IK. who was also wanted to take opportunity and topple the democratic government.Example is resignation from Kp Assembly and coorperation with Qadri with sit in also


  • faraz
    Jun 27, 2014 - 12:36PM

    IK one more uturn. we are not giving resignations from KPK assembly we will give the same from NA.
    the master of the masterer of UTurn.
    Uturn Specialist
    Uturn Surgeon
    Uturn Khan.


  • inayat
    Jun 27, 2014 - 1:04PM

    dear ali i totally agree with u.


  • Parvez
    Jun 27, 2014 - 1:21PM

    @Kasur wala: I think you’re right…….everyone is not as intellectually blessed as you are but at least my limited intellect allows me to acknowledge that…….you of course have arrogance as your shield……good luck to you.


  • Imran Jattala
    Jun 27, 2014 - 2:26PM

    Mr. Kamran Shafi, please allow (pardon) me to say that your column ‘He wants to topple the whole system’ is much below the standards you have set for your own-self.
    You are justifying ill-legalities of this Govt. to disagree with a Democratic right of citizens of the state. You have every right to dis-agree and criticize anyone, but sorry Mr. Shafi you have no right to justify undemocratic behaviors of your soul-masters.
    Zero marks for today’s performance Mr. Shafi.


  • salim
    Jun 27, 2014 - 4:05PM

    ” I think IK forgets that TUQ has also sworn his allegiance to the Queen and kings in the west”

    Mr. Baloch, we have an imported Governor who not only has also sworn his allegiance to the Queen in the UK but has been a member of their parliament till very recently.


  • Nasir Mahmood
    Jun 27, 2014 - 5:06PM

    Excellent analysis of media’s role. One should investigate who patronized Qadri’s show and what is the role of Chaudhries in terms of monetary support.


  • Ghani zaman
    Jun 27, 2014 - 5:44PM

    just brilliant kamran sahib.


  • Grace
    Jun 27, 2014 - 9:23PM

    Spot on analysis of the trouble maker Tahirul Qadri.Your comments should be mandatory reading for all the brain washed followers of this self aggrandizing leader who lives on welfare in Canada. Who is giving him money to destabilize Pakistan?


  • Jawaid
    Jun 28, 2014 - 1:23AM

    @Usman Aziz:
    Let me remind you of the alternate system, having a general in chief on every other seat, cricketer in chief, postman in chief, policeman in chief, sportsman in chief, just to name a few, a shamelessly rigged referendum and elections, the pharonic decree: anyone disfiguring the idol-in-chief’s portrait liable to be imprisonment, massive kickbacks in defense deals, blank cheques from Bush Jr. to Mush almighty in chief, CEO, MD, COO, Chairman of Pakistan after he buckled over a threat of being bombed to stone age, the highest inflation on food items: sugar, wheat, daal, rice,flour, roti reaching Rs 10 a piece.


  • Rex Minor
    Jun 28, 2014 - 1:38AM

    The author has a very good view of the country: the army is in full control of the situation, the civilians, the police and the para military, and judiciary as well, all are performing as the military want them to. In the meantime the military is displacing KPK citizens to go a nomadic hike and do not want to be disturbed by the canadian tourists with privileaged passports.

    Rex Minor


  • kashif jan
    Jun 28, 2014 - 2:46PM

    So the mighty Pakistani state could not handle 1500 supporters at Islamabad airport and had to divert an international airline. Appalling that such senseless acton can be defended. You lose credibility by the minute..but keep appeasing sharifs..you shall be rewarded


  • Rex Minor
    Jun 28, 2014 - 11:00PM

    @kashif jan:
    The current Prime Minister of Pakistan is the architect of diverting planes to other airports, and this time at least he did not order the Emirates to go to any of the neighbouring countries!

    Rex Minor


  • adeel
    Jun 29, 2014 - 5:59AM

    I enjoyed reading the comments of people than the article. Two key takes from the comments are 1. Questions on Mr Shafi’s credibility, and 2. Illegal action taken of diverting the flight. What impression it gives about Sharif’s governmemt ?


  • Humza
    Jun 29, 2014 - 6:49AM

    @kashif jan: Do you know that in the West a drunk and disorderly passenger is enough to have a plane divert its flight? Imagine if you had dozens of brainwashed religious zealots refusing to heed the warnings of plane staff like the followers of Tahirul Qadri? He alone should pay the damages to Emirates and pay a fine for his reckless behaviour. I can tell you that apart from this he would probably also be banned from air travel in Canada if he did this on a Canadian flight.


  • Rex Minor
    Jun 29, 2014 - 1:19PM


    But the plane was not airbourne and sitting on its haunches on Pakistani soil!!! Besides Mr Qadri is a citizen of Pakistan and has the same rights as the incumbent Prime Minister.. Mr Qadri has only ONE mission and that is to bring down the current civilian/military alliance Government of Pakistan.

    Rex Minor


  • shahid gul
    Jun 29, 2014 - 6:48PM

    I think you are entitled to whatever you write but it must be balanced. It would have been better if you were little critical of the govt’s highhandedness and panic. Do meet and listen to TUQ. If not see his interview with Shahid Masood to form your opinion about the man. His side of the story is missing from your article that makes it unfair, dishonest and biased.


  • Zeeshan Ahmed
    Jun 30, 2014 - 7:32PM

    There are just too many people with too many opinions crammed into a space of land that is too small to accommodate every party and their grand design for what direction the country should take. To the world, Pakistan seems like an out control nuthouse that is always crying wolf.


More in Opinion