ISLAMABAD: The government gurus could not have brokered a better deal. An enraged cleric ‘lured’ into disembarkation to walk hand in hand with a government functionary in what later proved to be the drop scene of a self-centred ‘revolution’. Imagine ... what could be a more befitting scenario for the unnerved rulers.
It was not a novelty to see yet another event of this kind embracing a premature death. Truly, Tahirul Qadri lives up to his longstanding reputation of making a lot of fuss for nothing. Now that this comical adventure gradually wraps up, many question the motive behind pulling this kind of too cosmetic a stunt in the middle of a crucially encountered security situation the country is locked in, especially in the context of Zarb-e-Azb military operation in North Waziristan. Qadri may sound too sentimental to be believed that he actually landed here to ‘avenge’ the deaths of his men at the hands of bulged-tummy Punjab policemen. But one needs to stop to ask: had he really come on a score-settling mission? Probably not. For avengers do not shrink the list of their demands to the personal security guarantees and then leave with the ‘killer’ rulers, just like him. No denying the fact what the Sharifs-governed cops of Punjab did with the unarmed and peaceful protestors is the height of brutality, for which words fall short to describe the pain. But the way Qadri handled the matter to end up in sheer embarrassment, it is tantamount to insulting the bereaved families of the victims.
And, in the first place, what was the urgency to repeat all those overdone and fizzled out audacities from the past when an all-important military action stood in progress in an all-challenging tribal agency? Leisure time is something our clerics have in abundance. And there was always a lot of time to replay the blunders of January 2012 when Qadri & co landed in Islamabad to turn the system upside down but ended up exchanging bonhomie with the then ruling lot.
The ‘aftershocks’ of his another foiled rampage will be felt for a few days, at least. His televised emotional appearances, the same old political rhetoric and the same tricks of the trade to draw tears from the eyes of the audience will get the game going for a while till the cleric bids adieu to Pakistan to prepare for the next performance.
With due apologies to his disciples, followers and supporters, many in Pakistan brand Qadri as an anarchist, a voice of ‘hidden hands’ and a misguided cleric, who is out to dent the very foundation of the democratic set-up in misinterpretation of his self-coined misled set of ideas he proudly brands as revolution camouflaged under the fine coating of religion or in pursuit of his parochial priorities that earn him undivided attention and spotlight. The Canadian-based orator’s crude style of professing nobility and ridiculing his opponents, especially the incumbent ruling lot at the Centre, might win him endless praises from the fan club but that, in no way, qualify him for leading a state or a nation especially when there are too many question marks on his past and the present. His questionable political affiliations, his too many U-turns on a set of given issues, his controversial ‘prophecies’ from the recent years and his notably overwhelming appetite for fame have always repulsed the public at large to subscribe to his ideology, if any, at all.
The political seers could sense it coming. The political isolation the cleric is wandering in was the writing on the wall. Except for the relics of Musharraf-era, like Chaudhrys and Sheikh Rasheed, the politicians have shown indifference and detachment. Imran Khan played it wise and watered down the hopes of a grand alliance at the cost of Qadri’s personally motivated ‘principles’. For old times sake, Chaudhrys, Sheikh and Qadri are, however, not to part ways. They are different facets of the same coin, after all. Who doesn’t know that Qadri’s elevation to the parliament in 2002 could never have been possible without the kind blessings of the angels - the same creatures who had so dearly patronised Chaudhrys and Sheikh when the dictator used to call the shots.
The rulers have ordered the FIA to probe Qadri’s wealth and the ECP has been passed on a related request. Though the development may sound to be politically motivated, still no one ought to rise above the accountability. However, in the existing scenario, the government’s initiative to scrutinise the asset details of the cleric may well entail all the wrong reasons. But, the debate apart, it is mandatory for the privileged to come clean on their wealth details. And when the people in question happen to be ‘reformers’, the things get more crucial. It’s high time the reformer gets some self-reformation.
ISLAMABAD - The Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) in collaboration with United States ...