June 22, 2014

The curse of the Qadri

Tahir Ul Qadri
It was around a year and a half ago that Tahir Ul Qadri was sitting in a heated bullet proof container in front of the Parliament building of Pakistan while thousands upon thousands of people froze in the cold Islamabad night outside. Back then Qadri had arrived on a similar mission to the one he’s about to embark on today - rid the country of its current rulers. He failed miserably. Not only did he let thousands suffer on his behalf, but he also did not achieve anything and left with his tail between his legs. I said at the time that Tahir Ul Qadri is not Pakistan’s promised messiah. I say it again today.

And now tomorrow he arrives with similar ambitions. Thousands of men, women and children will join him in the sweltering heat of Pakistan’s hot summer and all of them will boil under the sun while the self-promised messiah sits inside an air conditioned bullet proof container. After all, who has the time to give a rat’s ass about normal, regular people, right?

The unmistakeable irony of Tahir Ul Qadri’s mission is that he has no stake in the entire process anyway. He’s a Canadian citizen, where he resides most days of the year, and only ever comes to Pakistan on these blitzkrieg missions where he disrupts the lives of thousands of people and then leaves without achieving anything. The man is amoral; he uses religion to propagate his own nefarious designs and agendas and has no qualms about how many precious lives are lost in the process. His claims are as hollow as his gratuitous lies and his claim to fame is based on an absurd tale of deceit, corruption and dishonesty.

But I digress. As a citizen of Pakistan he has a right to protest whatever demonic cause he so chooses. On the other end of the spectrum we have the Sharif brothers who have been trying to run this country like their own private enterprise. Just one problem with that whole plan: Countries don’t work that way. On the day the Punjab police conducted a mini genocide in Model Town Lahore, the Khadim-e-Ala Shahbaz Sharif appeared on TV and said if it is proven that he had anything to do with this massacre he would resign. Of course no one took him seriously because a) he has promised to resign for things so many times it’s like a running joke now and b) as the chief minister of Pakistan’s most prosperous province there was no way in hell that this man did not know what was going on. Was he at a hair salon getting new hair plugs? I hardly think so. So by common logic, go stand in front of metro bus and let it crush you Shahbaz Sharif, you shameless lying twerp.

Saroop Ijaz in an op-ed for the Express Tribune said it brilliantly “…Mian Sahib, we stand with you for the sake of democracy, however for your own sake stand by yourself.” There is heavy truth in those words. Yes, the process of democracy is slow, painful and fragile. It takes time to yield results. But the truth is for the first time in Pakistan’s history it is at a point where we can be hopeful about its outcome. While I am no supporter of Nawaz Sharif or his ilk, I do maintain strongly that the democractic process, one that Tahir ul Qadri is trying to upend, needs to be defended at all costs. This however does not mean that the government needs to go batshit crazy because it is so scared of a pseudo preacher from Canada and his followers. If Qadri wants to protest, then let him protest. If he wants to cry out loud, then let him do that. Democracy is not a one way street. While I disagree with Qadri, I also disagree with the government’s reaction to the arrival of Qadri. The only losers of this confrontation will be us, the normal, regular people of Pakistan.

I thought things in Pakistan couldn’t get worse than the lynching of the two brothers, Mughees and Muneeb Butt, in Sialkot. However since that fateful event I have been proven wrong so many times, I have literally lost count. Selfish men who are out of touch with reality and who have larger than life egos have never been able to make wise decisions. We’re witnessing a prime example of that today.