Dr Tahirul Qadri attracted an awe-inspiring crowd of at least one million Pakistanis of all religious and ethnic backgrounds, Sunni, Shia, Punjabi, Muhajir, Pashtun, Sindhi, Baloch, Hindu, Sikh etc, at Minar-e-Pakistan, Lahore on Sunday 23 Dec 2012, as he urged the people to stand up for real change and warned the Takfiri terrorists (Taliban, Sipah Sahaba etc) to stop attacking mosques, Imambargahs, Sunni, Shia and other innocent citizens of Pakistan. He also reminded Pakistan government and army of their responsibility to protect innocent citizens from internal and external enemies. With a slogan of “save the state, not politics”, Qadri gave his opponents, and critics, a wake up call on a chilly Sunday afternoon as he addressed hundreds of thousands of people at the historic venue. It was the biggest political gathering in the city of late, with conservative number of attendants estimated at a million people. He said he would support those who were against drone attacks and violation of the country’s sovereignty, and in return ask them to stand with him to protect mosques, imambargahs and innocent people. (Source: Pakistan Today)
In Pakistani media and social media, the pro-Taliban, pro-Sipah Sahaba lobby is currently upset, in fact frightened due to very large public rally by a Sunni Barelvi cleric who is also acceptable to Shias, Christians and moderate Deobandis. Diehard Deobandis and Wahhabis are currently busy in ridiculing Qadri as Padri which reflect their Takfiri belief about Sunnni Barelvis whom they treat as grave worshippers and polytheists. However, Qadri remains undeterred in his mission and continues to condemn suicide attacks and others acts of violence by the Taliban, Sipah Sahaba and other affiliated groups whom he describes as Kharijis and Takfiris.
Sunni Barelvis (Sufis) constitute the largest sub-sect of Sunni Muslims in Pakistan estimated to comprise more than 50% of total Muslims in Pakistan, followed by 20% Deobandis, 20% Shias and 5-10% Ahle Hadith or Salafis. Since 1980s, Deobandis and Salafis have gained disproportionate upper hand in Pakistani society, institutions (parliament, army, judiciary, bureaucracy), media and politics by virtue of generous funding by Saudi Arabia and other Arab States and the institutional sponsorship and recruitment of Deobandis and Wahhabis by Pakistan army for Jihadist operations in Kashmir and Afghanistan. In the last one decade, Deobandi and Wahhabi militant groups (e.g., Taliban, Sipah Sahaba, Jamaat ud Dawa) have continued to harass, persecute and attack not only Shia Muslims, Ahmadis, Christians and Hindus, they have also attacked Sunni Barelvi shrines and Milad-un-Nabi processions, also killed thousands of Shias, Sunni Barelvis, Ahmadis etc who they consider either Kafir (infidel) or Mushrik (polytheists). Dr. Qadri’s at least one million strong rally on the Minar-e-Pakistan may be seen as a much awaited rise of the Sunni Barelvi power with proportionate participation by Shias, Sikhs, Hindus, moderate Deobandis/Slafist and other communities of Pakistan.
The grand rally at the Minar-e-Pakistan has empirically demonstrated that Sunni Barelvis are the largest numerical powers in Pakistan, and that Deobandis and Ahle Hadith (Sipah Sahaba, JUI and Jamaat ud Dawa) are outnumbered by a great margin.
For a detailed political analysis of Dr. Qadri’s rally, review this post: Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri’s grand rally in Lahore was a public referendum against Tailban and Sipah Sahaba