By Kamran Shafi
August 16, 2014
I have searched the papers high and low, and only four days after they were made, I cannot find any reference to the Canadian preacher’s (Are you listening, Canadian High Commission?) screeching exhortation to his flock in Lahore, to kill all male members of the Sharif family if he (Qadri) was harmed.
Someone should have asked him the specifics of his murderous persuasion; did he mean male infants of the Sharif family as well? Children? The elderly? The innocent? The fact of the matter is that Qadri has many enemies of his own, particularly the TTP, and many religious groupings, sects, and beliefs in the country stand against him. What if one of his many other enemies (God forbid) such as, reportedly, the ASWJ, did him in? In that case, must all male members of the Sharif family be killed off too?
Indeed, does Canadian law allow Canada’s citizens to call for revenge upon a perceived enemy’s entire family like a tribal, backward society such as ours? Like Sudan? Like Somalia? Like the new Iraq bequeathed to the world by one ignorant US president, namely ‘Dubya’ Bush, and his neo-con handlers?
I have been a long-time admirer of Canada and its gentle ways and I will never forget a great skiing holiday in Quebec amongst so many ‘new’ Canadian friends over Christmas a few years ago. But how is Tahir ul Qadri, an asylum-seeker turned Canadian national, turned multi-millionaire evangelist, allowed by a country whose Constitution and Monarch he has sworn fealty to, to incite murder in another country? Is this abhorrent call accepted, nay allowed, in any country ruled by law? Are you listening, High Commission?
This is not all. Whilst he has retracted the part of his harangue that called for the murder of those of his own flock who ‘abandoned the revolution,’ the fact remains that he did make it. It is believed that some of his followers are so mesmerised by him, that they obey his every word. What if one or ten of them took his original command to kill as the final and binding word?
This is certainly a theatre of the bizarre; everyone stands around as if nothing has happened, all of the opprobrium is heaped on to the government and none on the vile and odious hate-spreading preacher. It speaks volumes too of Imran Khan, and those who advise him (aka his ‘handlers’), that just as soon as Qadri issued his virulent orders to murder in the presence of the out-of-work Chaudhrys of Gujarat, and the one-man party ‘leader’ Sheikh Rashid ‘Tully,’ and just as soon as he offered to join the PTI’s march, Imran Khan jumped at it and welcomed Qadri.
The PTI’s Twitterati was something to behold minutes later! One and all, they chided Imran Khan and their leadership for allowing Qadri to join their march and steal their thunder. These young folk, idealistic and well-intentioned (even though they follow-the-leader when it comes to using rude and vile language) realised that Qadri was bad news. But who would listen to them when the ‘leaders’ of the PTI, or IK’s ‘cabinet’ as I call them, are seemingly bent upon just one thing: a power grab as soon as possible, and to hell with the consequences?
How they intend to do that escapes me. Imran Khan is calling for new elections under a new Election Commission. Even if that were to be conceded, what happens to the whole system of casting ballots: say, the induction of electronic voting machines also demanded by him? And the forming of new rules and regulations of the methodology of voting? How many years would that exercise take, and who would supervise it? Imran Khan and Qadri in a joint government? Qadri as PM and IK as Deputy PM? Under what law? Under which Constitution?
But wait! The Canadian Preacher does not even believe in democracy, and in the exercise of voting. So: a) what is he on about yelling, “Revolution!” and b) what is the PTI doing marching in tandem with him? Leaves you cross-eyed, no, reader?
How indeed does Qadri intend to bring his ‘revolution’ about? By over-whelming the state structure? By burning down Parliament buildings? By demolishing the Supreme Court? Are you listening, High Commission? Can you see the various incendiary ways in which your citizen is harming this country?
A word or two, once again, to the government: Let the marchers come to Blue Area; let them sit around for days should they want to; keep the police well out of sight, asking the businesses, hospitals, hotels and shops to arrange for their own security because the last thing the government wants is a repeat of the tragic Model Town fiasco.
Let the government make repeated announcements that as Asad Umar of the PTI is the sitting member of the National Assembly from Islamabad, his voters should apply to him for security for it is his party that is doing the marching. Mount hundreds of CCTV cameras all along the venue of the march, and broadcast live on a PTV channel, the proceedings, including incidents of mayhem if any are committed by the crowd.
May some sense come to Imran Khan even now, and may he take Nawaz Sharif’s advice to come to the table and sort out their differences if any. In the meanwhile, could Imran Khan ask his party man Mr. Usman Dar of Sialkot, who contested Khawaja Asif’s national assembly win to now approach the courts with some evidence? As it is, Mr. Dar has not once presented either himself, or evidence to the tribunal hearing his case, preferring to remain abroad on ‘business.’ His petition has, therefore, been rejected by the tribunal. But there are the courts, still.
May these days pass peacefully for every Pakistani.
Kamran Shafi is a freelance columnist.