Full of contradictions


Qadri, democracy and martial law

Whoever thought that the Canadian cleric Dr Tahirul Qadri, whose love for Pakistani politics and people had suddenly rekindled a few months ago after a hiatus of some seven years, was done with his theatrics could not be any more mistaken. Claiming to be the messiah of the people, he is now cashing in on his two-minute fame by saying that it was he who saved the country from martial law by ending his sit-in in the capital last month, adding that if he had allowed the participants a ‘free hand’, the country would have been placed under martial law “within five minutes”. Many had him already pegged as a front man for the powers that be; his statement leaves no doubt about it as in case if his claim were true he could still throw the country into martial law’s clutches, thus proving that he is at least a stooge for the establishment, if not in cohorts with them.

Addressing the Central Executive Committee of Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT), Qadri has announced that the phase two of his long march would start soon, only this time it would be an even bigger headache for the government with tens of thousands of people on the roads, essentially bringing the routine life to a halt. He claims his mission is to get rid of the corrupt politicians. Noble of him, but his manner of achieving his objective is what casts shadows on his motives. As the rules of democracy dictate, politicians in the parliament represent the will of the public at large; their actions are backed by the mandate the people have posed in them. The same cannot though be said of the politicians outside the parliament as they have not proven their worth through the test of elections. A mere following of tens of thousands of people can’t democratically justify it.

The cleric is insistent that he won’t allow thieves to come into power in the name of democracy. This is ironic as it was he who actually tried to highjack the system last month and is adamant to do so again in a few days. If Qadri wants to change how the system works, he first has to be a part of it which, it seems, he is unwilling to do on his fear of losing his Canadian citizenship. Apparently, he even resigned from his post of President PAT for the same reason. His replacement, Dr Raheeq Abbasi, says that they would first test the waters before deciding to contest the upcoming elections. A good decision though their showing no trust in the ECP smacks ill of their intentions.

Full of contradictions this cleric appears to be. Not a good thing for the country, democracy or even his followe