It was a public referendum against Taliban, Sipah Sahaba and their affiliates, apologists and sponsors.
Related posts: Thank you, Allama Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri, for bold fatwa against Takfiri suicide bombers
Takfiri Deobandis are the biggest threat to Pakistan and Islam – by Zaid Hamid
Minhajul Quran International Chief and Sheikhul Islam Allama 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.
For a a detailed album of pictures of the 23 Dec 2012 rally, see this post: https://lubpak.com/archives/235873
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)
Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri’s rally in Lahore was attended by at least one million persons from across the country. The rally has been described as the largest political even in the history of Pakistan. The lush green and vast grounds of Minar-e-Pakistan became full of people, the road from Lahore to Muridke was full of people. The caravans of participants from Lahore, Faisalabad, Gujranwala Divisions, Sheikhpura, Kasur, Pattoki, and other areas of Pakistan made their way to the main venue. All the four sides of Minar-e-Pakistan were declared as the venue in view of millions of people coming in the public meeting.
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.
According to Khaled Ahmed (with some edits):
“Dr Tahirul Qadri has made a comeback in Pakistani politics. And when he said he would gather a million people in Lahore for his first speech, people believed him. He has the organization (Minhaj-ul-Quran, Pakistan Awami Tehreek), and the money. More importantly he has the charisma.
Since he is a Barelvi and in the crosshairs of the Taliban and al Qaeda, and since the Sunni Tehreek has gone radical and is no longer a Barelvi adjunct of the MQM, Tahirul Qadri (TQ) could be the substitute partner and a gateway to Punjab, his treasury.
On December 25, someone shot at and injured Maulana Aurangzeb Farooqui, a central leader of the Ahle Sunnat wal Jamaat, which is the banned Sipah Sahaba under a new inoffensive name taken as it were from the Barelvi nomenclature. The revenge will now likely be taken by the Taliban on the Shia community and the Barelvis. In the last few years, Sunni Barelivis and Shias have been freely killed by Deobandi militants in almost all areas of Pakistan. Qadri gives hope to the persecuted communities.
Apparently both Afghanistan and Iran will be happy with Qadri’s rise in Pakistan because this means an indigenous popular cleric is there is challenge Deobandi militants of Taliban and Sipah Sahaba on the basis of Islamic ideology. It may be noted that a leading Shia intellectual Agha Murtaza Pooya, is a vice-chairman of Pakistan Awami Tehreek (Dr. Qadri’s political party). Since Pakistani State (Takfiri Deobandis) is killing its Shias, Iran would be beholden if Tahirul Qadri can spread some Sunni-Shia peace around. He makes moving speeches on Eid-e-Ghadir. The Ahle Sunnat Barelvi Ittehad led by an aggressive Fazal Karim may not gravitate to Qadri despite his wealth because of Qadri’s views on reforming the blasphemy law.
The army leadership is humbled by the killing spree of the Taliban. It must hate the killing of the Shia and might favour intimacy with Tehran in opposition to the more ‘realistic’ stance of the PPP and the PML-N who can’t afford to go against the Arab-American strategy in the region.
The PML-N is furious. According to one statement, which is appropriately right-wing-xenophobic, it prefers to connect Qadri with world powers (alami taqatain) who “don’t want the PML-N to come to power”. Qadri’s slogan ‘save the state, not politics’ has been interpreted to mean that elections must be set aside till the state is strong enough under a specially constructed caretaker government.
It is not very fair to ask Qadri to reveal his wealth and the way he has acquired it. If this is what is required, then other religious leaders whose madrassas are exempt from scrutiny will have to give accounts, too. Where does the ‘green turban’ Dawat Islami get its billions? Who is spending the big money behind the grand mobilisation of the Defence of Pakistan Council announcing jihad against India? Who was handing out cash during the last Long March of the Council to Islamabad? (Source: Express Tribune)
According to a Salman Masood in the New York Times:
Qadri runs Minhaj-ul Quran International, an Islamic group that promotes peace, harmony and religious moderation and has branches in more than 90 countries. He belongs to the Barelvi sect, which believes in mysticism, reveres saints and shrines, and is considered to be tolerant and accommodating of other faiths. He has issued a religious decree against terrorism and is opposed to the Taliban. Known for his fiery oratory, Mr. Qadri won a seat in Parliament in 2002, but soon quit over differences with Pervez Musharraf, then Pakistan’s president, and moved abroad. The rally in Lahore, believed to be one of the biggest in recent years, was preceded by an extensive media campaign, raising questions about sources of financing. A spokesman for Mr. Qadri said the media campaign, television advertisements and the event in Lahore were paid for with donations from supporters. (Source: NYT)
According to Dawn newspaper:
All rallies, even mammoth ones, are not equal. Slightly over a year since the PTI rally in Lahore shook the country’s political foundations, another would-be saviour arrived in the Punjab capital to preach a slightly different kind of politics. The turnout on Sunday for Tahir ul Qadri, chief of the Tehrik-i-Minhajul Quran, was massive, and expected. As head of a populist, Barelvi group, Mr Qadri commands support from a group of dedicated followers cultivated over the decades through an educational and preaching network that’s especially strong in Punjab but that has also spread its roots to the other provinces. Despite being a political lightweight, the charismatic Mr Qadri has adroitly meshed conservative Islam with modernist values to craft a message that appeals to a far wider cross-section of people than that of the PTI. Which is why, scanning the crowd at Manto Park on Sunday, both rural and urban, rich and poor, highly educated and less literate persons could be seen in large numbers. (Source: Dawn)
According to Ayaz Amir, writing in The News:
Mockery on target can be devastating. Mockery out of place sounds hollow, rebounding on the perpetrator. It is easy to parody a self-styled Sheikh-ul-Islam in long dress and well-rounded cap. It is less easy to parody a disciplined gathering stretching from the Data Darbar to that side of the River Ravi. Armchair samurais may think mobilising a vast crowd like this is easy. It isn’t. And money alone, even tons of it, can’t ensure the desired outcome. People in the mass can be stupid, the collective wisdom of the masses a piece of fiction politicians and media gurus love to play with. But about one thing, and this is strange, people are not stupid. They walk to an event — could be any event, political gathering or pop concert — only when their hearts lead them.
Of course one event — as was proven by Imran Khan’s public show last year –does not a summer, or an upheaval, make. Bubbles form easily and as easily burst. How tall Imran Khan stood on the evening of Oct 30, 2011. Compared to those proportions he looks diminished today. Lasting power…without it politics, or indeed anything, is nothing.
So it is foolish to draw any final conclusions from Allama Professor Dr Tahirul Qadri’s massive public show — and for once the word massive is not out of place — on Dec 23. Will it lead to anything or was it just a freakish flash of lightning across the winter skies? The jury has to be out on this.
However, the Islam he preaches, this being not a small point, is of the kind with which most Pakistanis, and even westerners, can relate, above sectarianism and the right antidote to the stuff made famous by the Taliban. Ours is a stunted tree. No amount of water or fertiliser can make it straight. Preaching secularism, as I often do, won’t get anyone very far because on this soil this doctrine will never take root. Does anything sound gloomier than the echo of this word ‘never’? An incurable destiny, what can be gloomier than that? At any rate, only something like the moderate version of the faith that the professor preaches has any hope of succeeding. But I am running ahead. (Source: The News)
Dr Qadri is one of the people on top of Takfiri Deobandis (Taliban and Sipah Sahaba) hit list because he has vehemently opposed Takfiris’ brutality on scholarly grounds. He had to leave the country because of death threats. Whatever people think of him, he is a strong anti-TTP symbol and his arrival is a good omen for Pakistan. This will accelerate consolidation of political and ideological power against Takfirs / Kharijis. Pakistan needs sincere and capable people in politics, that’s the only solution forward and therefore, one of the best forms of charity at this time in Pakistan is putting financial resources behind political reform.
Majority, not all of the people, currently using derogatory language or false propaganda about Dr. Qadri are affiliates or apologists of the Taliban, Sipah Sahaba and other Takfiri militant groups. Some of them are asking where he has been for all these years. Well, he has been working and serving his years for Islam, e.g., look at his Fatwa against terrorism which is a course book in Al Azhar University, Egypt. His organization in UK by the name Al Hidayah is spreading Islamic Teachings in that country. His work in Australia, US, Denmark and Islamic countries is equally impressive.
Dr. Qadri is a great proponent of Sunni-Shia unity. He was present during The Amman Message and few other scholars from India and Pakistan were also present over there. People in Pakistan definitely need to read the grand declaration in order to create an atmosphere of harmony in their country. Humanitarian work by Minhajul Quran and scholarly work by Dr Qadri should indeed be appreciated despite political differences.
Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr. Tahir ul Qadri was born on February 19, 1951 in the historical city of Jhang, Pakistan. His formal classical education was initiated in Madina at the age of 12, in Madrasa al-‘Ulum ash-Shar‘iyya, which was situated in the blessed house of Sayyiduna Abu Ayyub al-Ansari, the first residence of the Holy Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) after his migration. By the time he had received a First Class Honours Degree from the University of the Punjab in 1970, he had also completed his Classical Islamic Studies, having spent over ten years under the tutelage of his father and other eminent Shuyukh of his time and achieving an unparalleled understanding of the classical shari‘a sciences and Arabic language. He earned his MA in Islamic Studies in 1972 with the University of the Punjab Gold Medal, achieved his LLB in 1974 and began to practise as a lawyer in the district courts of Jhang. He moved to Lahore in 1978 and joined the University of the Punjab as a lecturer in law and then gained his PhD in Islamic Law. Dr. Qadri founded Minhaj-ul-Qur’an in 1981 and established its headquarters in Lahore. In less than 30 years, Minhaj-ul-Qur’an has expanded and spread over more than 90 countries around the world; and in terms of its comprehensive and all-encompassing sphere of activities, educational, social, cultural and spiritual, Minhaj-ul-Qur’an is probably one of the largest non-governmental organizations in the world. MQI is working for the promotion of peace and harmony between communities and the revival of spiritual endeavour based on the true teachings of Islam.
Source: Various sources including MQI, Express Tribune, The News, Facebook, Dawn, NYT etc