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Why I do not support Dr Tahir ul Qadri

Tughral Turab Ali

One thing that must be said for Dr. Tahir ul Qadri whether one agrees with his agenda or not is that he has caused an immense amount of debate within Pakistan, which has become increasingly divisive the longer his ‘long march’ has worn on.

What it really boils down to is this: is Dr. Qadri leading the revolution that Pakistan has been waiting for? His supporters argue that he is and also that he is perhaps Pakistan’s last chance for salvation. They want him to come in and throw the current government out because its “corrupt” and has “failed to deliver”. Indeed Dr. Qadri’s (fluctuating) list of demands runs quite close to this expectation. At the last check the demands included dismissing the assemblies, dismissing the president, dissolving the election commission of Pakistan and sending C.E.C Juctice (r) Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim home (because he is too old!). And of course it all had to be done before this o’ clock in the evening or that o’ clock next morning or else Blue Area would be turned into Karbala.

I have several objections to Dr. Qadri’s demands, the chief being that what he is demanding is just down right unconstitutional to start with, and is tantamount to subverting the system. After all the assemblies, the prime minister and the president are all chosen through a process which largely represents the will of the people. Now it can be debated that the implementation of that process may have been flawed, but on this there is no debate that it is the process we have chosen for this country to select its governments by.

We can agree to improve the implementation of the process but surely that must come through the ballot and not through street power. Ironically Dr Qadri asserts repeatedly that he is not advocating violating the constitution of Pakistan – but then in the next breath calls for the ouster of a democratically elected government. Interestingly this government is due to step down anyway in a space of a few months after a 5 year term so I really don’t understand the incentive to create an issue on this right now.
Furthermore, Dr. Qadri neither has the mandate from the public to make this demand nor was this the original intention he declared when he landed in Pakistan after living in Canada for the last 7 years. At that time it was limited to just ensuring a free and fair election, which has now morphed into an immediate ouster of the sitting government.

It has been heartening to see that all political parties in Pakistan have roundly rejected Dr. Qadri’s threats to a democratically elected government. Doing anything else would have set a very dangerous precedent: if we were to cave in to Dr. Qadri’s demands today, who is to prevent any other non-representative party or aggrieved group to gather thousands of people and descend on Islamabad with its own charter of illegal demands? What is the use of elections at all and laws and constitutions if we allow them to be broken whenever a bully demands it?

I also have certain other concerns related to Dr. Qadri’s recent actions. One big one is the source of funding for what has been a massive spend so far running into estimated hundreds of millions of rupees. It is not only the cost of the months long media campaign but also the cost of transporting thousands of people to Islamabad and then the cost of feeding them at the site of the sit in for several days. Dr Qadri claims all this money has been collected from donations. I think this is a claim that needs closer scrutiny as it is not a small amount we are talking about. This is also important because the source of the funding may also hint as to the underlying agenda of this march. Secondly I find it really disturbing that he repeatedly asks the participants of the march to take oaths on the Holy Quran during his speeches and invokes Karbala. It sounds disturbingly like an instigation or preparation for violence. These are not the sort of scenes one wants to see in the capital of the country.

Lastly, since everyone is really fixated on change in Pakistan, I would like to end by asking what is that change that we want to see? If your answer is the fall of an elected government to be replaced by the flavor of the day, then I must point out that this is not change at all for it is exactly what has happened several times before in Pakistan’s history. In fact this is something Pakistani public seems to have specialized in: welcoming a leader to office with fanfare and then later supporting the use of unconstitutional means to dismiss that government, only to welcome the next flavor of the day with the same fanfare.

Change for me would be for once to see a democratic transfer of power in Pakistan: an elected government handing over to the next elected government in a smooth transition without finger pointing or accusations of rigging. This is the change I am willing to work towards and support wholeheartedly. Not subversion of this process and playing into the hands of undemocratic forces.

In this way I suppose Dr Qadri has had a positive effect on the politics of Pakistan: he has brought all political parties together in their condemnation of any unconstitutional step and ignited a debate about the principles of governance we want to defend. Dr Qadri does not then represent a revolution as such.. but perhaps an evolution??

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33 Responses to "Why I do not support Dr Tahir ul Qadri"

  1. Rex Minor Germany Google Chrome Windows says:

    How can you blame the guy, regardless of his credentials, and he has none, who is confronting Ali Baba and fourty thieves? Pakistan current arrangements of the musical chairs does not provide the possibility for removing the Mafiosi thieves.

    Rex Minor

  2. Ajit Canada Safari Unknow Os says:


    I am indian

    But let me say it Mr Ali. As long as there are people like you, there is hope

    Well done Mr Tughral Ali

  3. Kamath Canada Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Does any one know if Maulana Tahir ul Qadri has retained dual citizenship, – Pakistan and Canada.

    If he did, then he should renounce his Canadian Citizenship forever and live in Pakistan and serve the nation. It is better he did than jabbing his fingers in air , make fiery speeches ( inside a bullet proof cocoon)and take the heat of politics.

    Then I would call him a real patriot.

  4. Tughral Pakistan Google Chrome Windows says:

    hey Rex,
    Well lets take the two issues side by side: one is the legitimacy of Dr. Qadri’s actions and the other is confronting a government perceived to be corrupt.
    That Dr. Qadri’s demands are unconstitutional I think is beyond denying. His intent may be in the right place, and that is something no one can accertain and only time will reveal.
    Now comes the issue of confronting “ali baba and fourty thieves”. My view on this is that there are pillar of state that provide a system for dealing with these issues. Its not perfect I agree, but it is in my opinion better than non-state actors stepping in and implementing mob justice.

  5. Imtiaz United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    Mr Ali

    Good to see that there are some bright Pakistanis back home.

    Keep up the good work

  6. manish India Safari  Android 4.0.4 GT-B5330 Build/IMM76D says:

    Since I was myself a supporter of Anna Hazare movement in India last year,
    So it would be disingenious of me if I try to demean.
    Also the media of pakistan available to an average indian is english,which I have
    Felt has a great disconnect with the pakistani masses.
    Pak english media seems vehemently in opposition of this man.
    And the points they have raised, like you beautifully raised them here, are quite difficult questions, and pakistani supporters of Qadri are too naive to fame a coherent reply.
    So, lets see what exactly happens in the next few weeks, as they are going to be quite crucial for future of Pakistamn.

  7. Amin United Kingdom Safari iPad says:

    I understand what you are saying Mr. Tugjhral Turab Ali. Dr. Qadri doesn’t have a legal to stand on…but nobody has articulated the feelings and frustration of the average Pakistani towards this rotten political system as well as him.There is a part in all of us that wants this man to succeed. Like it or not he strikes a chord in all of us. The contrast today couldn’t be starker: rich men who are catapulted into politics by a dictator sit in luxurious surroundings in support of a man who has stolen billions from this country while men, women and children in threadbare clothes sit out in the cold. Democracy Zindabad!

  8. Rex Minor Germany Google Chrome Windows says:


    Sorry, but you are giving too much importance to Qadri and undue credit to Pakistan constitution and the system of Govt. As an observer and after listening to the crowd in Islamabad on several TV channels, I fully support Amin’s views. Pakistan is at war against its own citizens not only in terms of violence against civilians but also its national wealth is being stolen away from them and being deposited in foreign countries. The Judiciary being given the task of playing like a yo yo in issuing warrants of arrests against the head of the Govts., while the parliamentary clowns are returning ready made cloned replacements. I am realy impressed that the crowd in Islamabad has more or less remained cool. This is different from the scenes in Quetta and Bara region, where people are displaying their deads on streets and Governor office.

    Rex Minor

  9. Mohammed faisal United Kingdom Safari iPhone says:

    This govt has taken more loans in the last 5 years than the entire period since independence. Democracy !!! Don’t make me laugh it’s a facade. No law no order no electricity no gas. Man what planet do u live on! This govt is pillaging the country sucking it dry. This is like a policeman walks into your house and beats everyone up robs you and you stand by saying ” we cannot do anything coz hes a policeman” shame on you dude, u have no shame no honour. Get rid of these animals by any means necessary.

  10. Shaida Pakistan Netscape Navigator iPhone says:

    Tughral. You have written what I deeply believe.

  11. Tughral Pakistan Google Chrome Windows says:

    First of all let me clarify that I am not defending the government here, nor am I affiliating myself with any particular party. The focus of my article is whether or not Dr Qadri’s modus operandi is the best reaction. In my opinion it is not.

    No doubt there are governance issues in Pakistan and we are facing grave challenges. But surely the way to deal with them is not a reactionary destruction of the system, but giving it the room and time to self correct. It may be slow and painful but anything long lasting needs that time to evolve. No lasting change ever comes overnight.

    I absolutely support Dr. Qadri’s right to lawful protest, along with as many people as he can muster. What I do not agree with is his threats to bring a government down using mobs and blackmail. Dr Qadri has gathered a sizable number of people in the capital: can other pressure groups not replicate this number (or even more)? What will you say if tomorrow someone who does not voice your opinion descends on the capital with 100,000 people and says Pakistan should be run as per his dictation? Is that not the precedent that will be set if the country gives in to Dr. Qadri’s demands? Does that represent the will of the entire country? Aren’t you a stakeholder as a part of the country too? Why shouldn’t you be consulted for your opinion (which would come from your vote and not through the gathering of a few thousand on a road in Islamabad)?

    The only fear can be that of rigging in the polls. But as things stand right now this is the system and election commission body all parties have agreed to, which surely came from a consultative process. It must be given a chance to perform now and not subjected to speculation of what may happen when elections are held. We must not kill the system itself by allowing actors who are outside the agreed framework to keep disrupting it (whether armed forces or otherwise). Patience and better planning can fix this country, not reactionary confrontations.

    But this is just my opinion and of course like everyone else, I can be wrong too. I hope we all collectively support whatever is best for Pakistan. And furthermore it is my sincere hope that everyone in the sit-in remains safe and peaceful.

  12. syed Pakistan Internet Explorer Windows says:

    Which democracy are we talking about ?? Democracy in which all party allot the tickets to the highest bidder ? where there are no party elections? where the feudal can buy voters by money or by pressure ? where the polls results can be changed at the eleventh hour rigging ? Where Punjab government is running on a simple stay order? Well sir I am sorry to say that under this system nothing is going to change. These Vaderas, Powerful Feudal, Corrupt Politicians what ever you call them they will never allow any change in the existing system becuase they all know that in this system no body can stop them to come into power again and again not even supreme court or army. They and their children have become money making machines. In this type of gloomy situation people like Qadri will keep on comming and one day we all will be forced to say YES that is the only way to get rid of this existing garbage produced by our weak electoral system. Example is in front of us just one person challenged the system and all the corrupt bloody politicians came together to challenge him. I have not sympathy for any of these politicians they are all corrupt, insane, and very dangerous for the existance of Pakistan.

  13. disappointed Pakistan Google Chrome Windows says:

    Presently, democracy is hypocrisy in Pakistan.
    In other countries, parties have elections within parties to elect their candidates first before they can run for elections.
    However, in Pakistan, it is dynasty politics or more like monarchy.
    Grandfather first, then his daughter, then his grandson and so on.
    This is fake democracy.
    To have a real democracy, there should be intra-party elections and a neutral election commission and caretaker govt. Otherwise, garbage in means garbage out.
    And the ship will continue sinking thanks to corrupt govts.

  14. dr aziz_wah Pakistan Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Dear you are right but what about corruption, terrorism, disharmony and loss of self-respect during 5 years of this so-called democracy? Elections through current system will only lead to change of hands between crooks.

  15. mahee Pakistan Google Chrome Windows says:

    i agree with everything the writer said! but whats the fun of saving democracy to lay man..can anyone tell this to me? as everyone is screaming on the top of thier voice praising all political parties on their unity against tahirulqadri!how is this benefitting the lay man.when the poor citizen of pakistan was sleeping in agonizing heat continously day and night with no electricity where was this political party unity, why did it not step uppp??everyday so many innocent lives are taken in every part of pakistan , mostly in living hells of quetta and karachi, where does this unity go? im sick of democracy, i dont want democracy i want dictatorship or any other option which doesnot involve selfish politicians and power hungry corrupt army generals..

  16. akb Pakistan Safari Unknow Os says:

    @ tukral

    Qadri’s stand is fully constitutional as of any citizen, afterall he’s a born Pakistani n has full right to protest. He only wants absolute compliance wththe Constitutional stipulates n some parties already agreed with him.
    What other way there cud be to reprimand a fake n corrupt democracy n the hegemony of satanic forces other than such a protest or perhaps a bloody revolution. The policy of status quo must end n govt be placed in right hands in accordance with constitution. Qadri is right, you are wrong. It’s peoplelike you who support evil under the cover of defending a hoax, a sham democracy n the historical badmaashes at the helm of it. Shame on you for criticizing a right step taken by Qadri to reform n demand strict implement ation of the constitution.

  17. akb Pakistan Safari Unknow Os says:

    @mahee machlee

    tere qurban!! Pehli baar tu ne sachee baat kee he!!

  18. Rex Minor Germany Google Chrome Windows says:

    Democracy is not peoples choice but has proven to be a lesser evil than the systms which the civilised communities had before democracy but which somehow did not keep up with the ever changing needs of the society. We have experienced monarchy, dictatorship, military rule, collective leadership and now the democracy through the election process. The prerequisite for all varied systems was that it works an as soon it did not, the new system took over.

    Let Pakistan follow the road of democracy as well, decolonise its current laws which it inherited from the Brits. replacing them with those which reflect the values of human rights which are now embodied in UNO, alowing zero tolerence for corruption and safeguarding the wealth and the integrity of the Nation, submitting to no foreign power. The current Govt is a dysfunctional one and should be taken out as smoothly as it was sworn in to power. No military and no violence, the CJ of the SC is doing a good cleaning job.

    People of religion such as Qadri and so called Maudidis be sent to Mecca for pigrimage and retirement. This previlage must only be granted to a bona fide theologist, not a politician.

    Rex Minor

  19. tajender United Arab Emirates Internet Explorer Windows says:

    rex,democracy is aquaguard.clean itself with is evolutionary process.his demands are right but way is brute.he cannot get the things by ordering the establishment.this is good lesson to corrupts of pakistan.
    i hope democratic value and system will strenghten after this.

  20. Mulla Tajundari United States Google Chrome Windows says:


    Democracy is not a solution. It has not worked in India. Brahmins, Marwari, and Gujjus still control India. If it hasnt worked in India, how can it work in Pakistan? For democracy to work in India, Brahmins, Marwaris and Gujjus have to be removed. For democracy to work in Pakistan, mullas, waderas, mohajir establishment suckers, and military have to be removed first.

  21. Rex Minor Germany Google Chrome Windows says:


    I fully agree with you and equaly with AKB. My last post was probably not necessary. Nevertheless, the transplant of democracy from one country to another is not feasible. There is a jirga system in Afghanistan, which is a parliament of the representatives of the people from all regions, and then there is plain election process of the anglo saxons which is in Pakistan. Syed has escribed how it works. And then you have a so called secular democracy in India where the represetative Govts. strictly controls the police force and has been instructing them for years now not to register women rape cases so as to keep low crime rates in one or other region. This was revealed by the most senior woman police officer of the Indian Police dept.

    This is a farce, not a democracy in action. It is the system which provides corruption opportunities on a plate to the political leaders of the Govt. in Pakistan. The military could not resolve it either and instead became one of the most corrupt military outfit in the region. Qadri is a straight soldier, not a politician in any way, his purpose is to tap the cosmic energy in and around Islamabad.

    Rex Minor

  22. Rex Minor Germany Google Chrome Windows says:

    Sorry, but the true democracy starts functioning when all ifferent sections of the community are involved and not by excluding them.

    Rex Minor

  23. Mulla Tajundari United States Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    We don’t want to repeat India’s mistakes. What’s the benefit of having a democracy in which people are forced to lead such completely miserable lives as Indian Muslims like tajender lead? Nominally Indian Muslims are included. Practically excluded. Pakistanis are sick of the future promises of such democracy in name only. If after 65 years Pakistan is going to be where India is today, Pakistan is better off without such sham ‘democracy’.

  24. manish India Safari  Android 4.0.4 GT-B5330 Build/IMM76D says:

    Another shia murdered today in karachi. He was MQM MNA.
    It seems India has become a female modesty slauhgterhouse
    and pakistan a Shia slaughterhouse.

  25. rahul India Safari  Android 4.0.4 GT-B5330 Build/IMM76D says:

    So both govt and qadri have reached settlement.
    Good for both.
    The old chap was getting terribly bored

  26. mahee Pakistan Google Chrome Windows says:

    chalo im glad at something we both agree..

  27. ex paki United States Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    @Turab Ali Sahib,:-)) a KABOOTER next to Mullah and Mullah with his mouth opened, seems KABOOTER brought him a CHITHI of Canadians asking him for certain clarification and in response , Mullah singing :-) )

    Wasta e Rab Da , Toon Jawaain Way Kobootra :-) )

  28. Khizer United Arab Emirates Internet Explorer Windows says:

    Halkay phulkay mulk main halka phulka TUQ…..itna khasta itna karara!

  29. Maana Pakistan Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    tahir ul qadari tere desh ma danda

  30. nauman Afghanistan Google Chrome Windows says:

    now it is 12 November 2013 ,,6,7 months after so called elections held by unconstitutional election commission of whats your openion about your thinkings.i think it should be can only comment against them,but you could not prove them in your life time.DR TAHIR UL QADRI is always right.The PMLN,PTI and all leading parties MNAs raised their words in parliment floor in favour of DR TAHIR UL QADRI stance about so called elactions and so called democracy.

  31. Ashu India Google Chrome Windows says:

    are these your opinions or you really want that suggestions you have given should be debated if not then there is no point debating. In India we have seen that the same opinions were escalating around that the AAP were a bunch of drama thugs but in a democracy aren’t people entitled to have their opinion or demonstrate their willingness to people in a non- violent non-destructive way don’t we have right to reject something wvwn if it is a democratically elected government and aren’t we suppose to take sides, I don’t label a person if he takes sides, so if I am taking TUQ’s side am I branded a thuggish is that what liberals wants be it. In India I am regarded as leftist liberal and If I were in Pakistan I would have an rightist liberal, why so?

  32. Mr. Chaudhry Pakistan Google Chrome Windows says:

    Dear All!

    Your people are dying of hunger, lack of medicines, joblessness, poverty and other many problems like terrorism. In such circumstances a person who have no other ulterior motive except saving the Pakistani Nation, you people raise fingers at him.

    You always chose true Pakistani leadership, that always involved in corruption, and looting Hajis, Well done, you never let anyone to transform this democratic system which devouring this nation.

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