DR Tahirul Qadri has taken the Pakistani political scene by storm with his arrival and address to a huge public gathering in Lahore on Dec 23. He has been a social and religious figure for more than two decades.
His is a centre-right ideology blended with the concept of social Islam. This ideology borrows from ‘Sulhe-i-Kul’ from the traditional Sufi version of inclusive social and religious thought which later on was further developed into pluralistic Islam of the subcontinent.
This moderate inclusive interpretation has dominantly been nonviolent. The ideology has been under criticism for being a status quo force in the subcontinent for being supportive to monarchs and dictators.
However, Dr Qadri amalgamates traditional thought with social Islam and vows to eradicate conservative, historical non-progressive social structures and dreams of creating an egalitarian society.
The MQM’s support to him manifests its keenness to represent urban and semi-urban classes in Punjab. One of the biggest hurdles in the way has been the MQM’s secular colour which is not acceptable to increasingly right-leaning urban middle classes in Punjab.
Standing shoulder to shoulder with a man who is a strong proponent of Sunni Barelvi Islam, followers of which make more than 80 per cent of the MQM’s supporters, would give the MQM internal strength as well as acceptance in still majority Sunni Barelvi Punjab.
The MQM’s ideological stand against status quo forces completely overlaps with Dr Qadri’s agenda. Leaving the establishment’s role aside, there is much common and complementary between Dr Qadri and the MQM. No one knows what would come out of this, but one thing is clear that the real ruling classes in Pakistan have once again asserted themselves in a quest to gain lost ground.
FORTUNATELY, in Pakistan, heads of the Supreme Court, the Election Commission, the army, a good number of members of the Senate, the National Assembly and provincial forums and the media are making genuine and sincere attempts to give their best and effective service to the nation. Dr Tahirul Qadri is an honest, sincere and intelligent thinker and leader. At present, I think, he is overconfident on adopting certain measures without proper consultations.
For anyone, with millions of devoted followers, wishing to serve the nation, it is imperative to exercise patience and consult responsible persons in authority, especially the honest ones, before asking the devoted followers to offer sacrifices.
Action without consultation would create heroes at the cost of derailing genuine attempts of service by the authorities and other forums concerned. The derailing, in turn, might lead to deeper disappointments in the nation.
Would Dr Qadri kindly consider maintaining resourcefulness of his devoted followers for greater and long-range service of the nation?
DR FIRASAT ALI