Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Quest for Revolution

Sheikh ul Islam Professor Dr. Tahir ul Qadri (TUQ) of Minhaj ul Qur’an said in his video-linked presser, ‘I am returning to Pakistan on June 23 for the sake of the 200 million Pakistanis, and risking my life.’ While explaining the purpose of his visit, he said, ‘Revolution is the only way out of the problems facing the country.’ What is the revolution about? His explanation was, ‘the revolution will end monopoly of a few families on power, include one million people in decision-making, devolve powers to the grass-roots and enforce the Constitution of Pakistan in its true spirit.’
How can we ignore that the current government was elected under the 1973 Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan on which all political parties were on board?  Question of toppling a democratic government is beyond comprehension. In fact, a few years back, the judicial activism blocked all avenues leading to adventurous toppling.
However, a drastic change in the constitution is still pending to accommodate the total elimination of malpractice, exploitation, oppression, injustice and the corruption in all forms express or implied.
Unfortunately, the PPP or the PML-N haven’t been able to deliver as required, which is why the dual national –Canadian of Pakistani origin Mr.TUQ is back to Pakistan for the second time in order to right the wrongs.
Angrily, he asked, if what happened in Model Town is democracy, “Our revolution is where children of the poor could get education and employment, our revolution is elimination of poverty,” he said. “Awami Tehreek’s revolution is democratic and constitutional.”
Originally, the trouble started when the Punjab police carried out “operation nonsense,” around TUQ’s residence in Model Town Lahore where many of TUQ’s-loyalists lost their lives, while many were seriously injured.
Secondly, diversion of TUQ’s plane created chaos. Thank God, Governor Punjab Ch. Sarwar Husaain did his magic to diffuse the crisis and TUQ finally disembarked at Allama Iqbal international Airport, otherwise a case of hijacking could have been filed by the Emirates Air line and upon conviction his returning to Canada would have been jeopardized.
Wisdom is choosing the right time for the right move: In view of operation zarb-e-azb, Mr.TUQ chose the wrong timing. Pakistan is at war with terrorists in Waziristan. Thus, the whole nation must be on one page supporting the Pak military to avoid any unpleasant surprise against the State. An extreme caution is the key to cope with delicacy of the sensitive matter.
The political differences/democracy issues can always be dealt with amicably later on.
With regard to TUQ’s arrival in Islamabad, the government has actually overreacted due to fear and other reservations. The plane should have been allowed to land. Diverting the flight to Lahore is quite irksome causing international mockery against the country. The silly show off was witnessed across the globe; exchanging of rhetoric attitude between TUQ and the government caused a lot of discomfort.
TUQ’s publicity-generating plan was to land at Islamabad, and then lead his convoy to Lahore, from where he was planning to lead his self-proclaimed green revolution.
Basically, Dr. Qadri appears to be well determined to fight off the prevalent unfair system of governance as it works in favour of the elite who can afford to spend a large chunk of cash and resources on their election campaigns. The system lets them indulge in rigging, and sneak into the assemblies by even getting a low percentage of cast votes in their constituencies. The system is also prone to rigging on a massive scale and even ballot stuffing are among a few of the norms. One may call TUQ’s approach as non-democratic shortcut to true democracy or wrong approach towards unconstitutional power transfer, yet the fact is the ‘have-nots’ of Pakistan are fed up with the stinky system, so is TUQ who has been dreaming for a fair election system aimed at bringing in the true democracy based only on a reformed electoral system.
Surprisingly, TUQ isn’t even considering the current development whereby the National Assembly has unanimously passed a motion on June 23, 2014 - authorising the speaker to constitute a parliamentary committee on electoral reforms. The committee will present its recommendations within three months.
Indeed, this one is a positive development because it underlines the fact that almost all the stakeholders acknowledge the need for reforms in the present electoral system and its replacement with an arrangement that guarantees free, fair and transparent elections in the country.
As a citizen of Canada, TUQ is ineligible to be a candidate in Pakistan general elections and has no real stake in the country. It seems as if elections are not what he seeks. What happens next is unclear too. Mr.TUQ like all patriotic Pakistanis wants to see Pakistan as a real welfare state, but due to the ongoing war emergency, all parties, especially the party in power, must proceed with absolute caution to survive the critical situation.
To correct the stinky system, the best avenue is one leading to the parliament house where the objection/complaint can be moved with respect to changing the system because otherwise the undemocratic means would further isolate Pakistan from the rest of the World. Let’s hope TUQ doesn’t take a U Turn and returns to Canada leaving his job unfinished.
On the contrary, the government is already saying TUQ can leave Pakistan only under law implying he will have to face the music as does Musharraf being on the ECL. It clearly means on account of twin cities incidents, TUQ and his followers will have to face the inevitable consequences of a lot of criminal as well as civil cases.

No doubt, Pakistan’s elected leadership is the principal custodian of the democratic project and its transition to democracy. Thus, democracy will only be strengthened if the custodians demonstrate restraint and unflinchingly adhere to the law and the Constitution. And, those interested in the politics of protest must stay within the ambit of constitution whole heartedly in the best interest of Pakistan.

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