Dr Qadri’s address: some questions
THE fanfare with which the publicity campaign of Dr Tahirul Qadri’s address at the Minar-i-Pakistan, Lahore, on Dec 23 was carried out with slogans of ‘renounce politics, and save state’ made many Pakistanis raise their eyebrows for three reasons.
Firstly, the time chosen for the public meeting had ominous forebodings since the stage was already set for the much-awaited general election, and the slogans which were about to be raised in the meeting were in all likelihood going to disrupt the electoral process.
Secondly, what prompted Dr Qadri, who had been away from Pakistan for a number of years for reasons known to him only, to stage a dramatic comeback with a new recipe for the country?
And, thirdly, who exactly had been financing this campaign with the entire city displaying multi-colour billboards, placards, festoons and bunting, etc., heralding the meeting?
Dr Qadri had not done his full homework. After frequently quoting general provisions of the Constitution containing the vision of democratic polity to be established thereunder, he told the audience that before the electoral process begins these visions must be attained for which he gave a deadline — Jan 10.
He warned the government that otherwise he would hold a rally twice as large as that of Lahore’s and hold a march in Islamabad.
Ironically, this makes a travesty of the constitution wherein the goals set for establishing a just order should not be achieved through protest rallies or by bullying a duly elected government, but through rules and procedures given in the constitution.
Even otherwise how could the goals be achieved, as he seems to suggest, within a short span of 18 days without following the due electoral laws and procedure as given in the constitution.
Did it not occur to him that if goals could be achieved by such a simple method, then what was the use of elections and all the other paraphernalia provided in the constitution?
By all means, the recipe proposed by Dr Qadri is nothing more than a clever gimmick to create chaos and delay or put off elections and is clearly inspired by forces inimical to Pakistan.
Even if Dr Qadri has good intentions, he cannot achieve his aims without showing his political credentials which is only possible if he forms a political party and through elections shows that his programme has the popular support of the masses.
This is the only course open to him under the constitution which he so quoted in his speech. Only then will he have a mandate to implement his programme.
We have already seen Imran Khan with even a more radical programme preparing for bringing about a change by adhering to the course of electoral politics as envisaged in the constitution.
Dr Qadri should know that any other mode of imposing his will would lead to fascism of the worst type. We have already waded through much perilous waters of military dictatorships to reach our present stage of political development and, therefore, cannot afford further upheavals likely to derail us from our democratic course.
ZAFAR AZIZ CHAUDHRY