A comment on Imran Khan and Tahir-ul-Qadri’s sit-ins in Islamabad – by Pejamistri

1 Back in 2007/2008 when the Lawyers or Judicial Movement was in full swing, there was a novice but vibrant social media. It was very exciting campaign against the mad dictator of his time and that too in a new and novel way. There was a mushroom growth of social media blogs and websites all full with the comrades shouting against mad dictator. In such situations it is really hard to distinguish or guess the primary reasons for anyone who stand against the dictatorship. I usually say that politics involving large number of people is as complex as the quantum physics, it is almost impossible to exactly know what is really going on inside a political movement just like it is almost impossible to know what is going on inside a mechanical system at a quantum level. However on a higher level (in physics terms at a classical level), you can almost reliably predict the outcome of a political movement as you can predict the outcome of a physical system. During the judicial movement there were all types of political forces active with a common objective. From the killers belonging to Taliban and their supporters on social media who were against the mad dictator Pervez Musharraf because he happened to be a Sunni Bralevi Sufi Muslim to the ultimate liberal from PPP/ANP whose life was spent in struggle for democracy everyone was one voice against the mad dictator. It was irrelevant to identify the true objectives of different sections participating in it. Later on however gradually we came to know the true objectives of all the players in judicial movement including Iftikhar Muhammad Chudhary. It was an interesting movement in many aspects, it had everything a true democratic movement could have, the dreams of a new future which were summed up in the great poem by Aitzaz Ahsan or in a single verse “ریاست ھوگی ماں کے جیسی“. There were two objectives of this movement, one a stated one and another unstated one. The stated objective was to get the Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhary restored and later on all the judges that were dismissed via November 3rd, and the unstated was to have a democratic government in place after getting rid of Pervez Musharraf. Interestingly enough the second objective was achieved earlier than the first objective. Unfortunately however nation paid the ultimate price in terms of death of Benazir Bhutto. After the PPP government in place the objective of the restoration of judiciary had become less attractive for most of the liberal and democratic stalwarts. However it was an unfinished work and Aitzaz Ahsan along with several comrades kept on leading the movement. It was at that time when the first long march happened under the leadership of Aitzaz Ahsan. But before I talk about this let me go little back in history. In 90’s I used to work in a telecom company and we used to have a radio frequency scanner, that could scan frequencies of Police and other agencies. It was the time of Dharna by Qazi Hussain Ahmed against PPP’s government. While listening to conversation of several high ranking police and other agencies officers on radio I realised that Pakistan military somehow is so afraid of bloody civilians taking over the capital that they will not allow anyone to enter Islamabad ever. I was told by one very high ranking army officer that COAS himself will ensure that no large hostile crowd ever enters Islamabad even if they have to open a straight fire. In that context I always thought that any sit-in will be impossible in Islamabad particularly in “Red Zone” as it is called now. But Aitzaz Ahsan with Zardari had different designs, he knew that once this fear is overcome on both sides people and the army that Islamabad is no go area for bloody civilians then we shall achieve another milestone in the democratic struggle in Pakistan. And lo and behold, bloody civilians entered the red zone and sat in their for whole night and that was the start of a series of long marches and sit-ins in Islamabad. The current sit-ins by both Imran Khan and Tahir-ul-Qadri have as much importance in the history of democratic struggle of people of Pakistan as the judicial movement. I have always said that Pakistan is not a Middle Eastern state, the democratic values and liberal views held by people of Pakistan come from a 4000 years of history of a diverse, vibrant culture. Pakistan society roots originate from the thousands of years old Gandhara civilisation, our ancestor’s came from the liberal and diverse religions like Hinduism and Buddhism. This is the civilisation that has welcomed all kind of religions and ideologies with open hearts. From Islam to Christianity land of Buddha has welcomed every ideology. It is for that reason despite the cancerous nature of “Islamism”, the “Islam” of Indo-Pak subcontinent is essentially different than the “Islam” of Middle East. Democratic values are part of the nature of people of Pakistan, a 60 years struggle for democracy is the evidence of how people of Pakistan can pay ultimate price for the rule of democracy. It is for that reason no dictator however tyrant he may be had ever been able to rule people of Pakistan for more than a decade. Historian will write the current sit-ins by both Imran Khan and Tahir-ul-Qadri as a signifiant milestone in the achievement of a liberal, secular and democratic Pakistan. Just like the judicial movement, the current sit-ins also have both types of objectives: stated and non-stated. I won’t discuss here the stated objectives. But let me talk about the unstated objectives of these sit-ins. Let us first start with Tahir-ul-Qadri’s Inqlab March. Let me put some context to Tahir-ul-Qadri. First of all it is important to distinguish between “Muslim” and “Islamist”. A vast majority of people of Pakistan are “Muslims” belonging to different sects. The “Islam” of these muslims is totally different from the Islam of “Islamists” in both its essence and practice. This is a colourful Islam, a religion as dynamic, natural and elastic as any other religion could be. This is the Islam which is commonly known as Sufi Islam, in which people have simple beliefs most of them very innocent and childish beliefs. The people of that Islam practice rituals which are also simple in nature as the rituals of any religion containing music, dance and fun. It is the Islam where people are more concerned about their own salvation than the salvation of others. It is not the “Islam” which tries to convert every other person and if he can not convert them it kills them. This “Islam” is not a single homogenous entity consisting of rigid rules and extremist views. It is a heterogeneous solution consisting of all types sects from Shias to Ahmadis, from Agha Khani to Bralevis and having common religious personalities and rituals. It is not the “Islam” that consists of one “Allah” but consists of 100’s of religious personalities. These are the “muslims” who are declared Kafir and Mushrik by the Islamists. The non-muslim world does not realise that the largest number of people killed by “Islamists” are these muslims. They are the front line martyrs in the war of terror. They are the people who are saving the world from the onslaught of this maniac knowns as Takfiri Deobandi Islamism. It is this Islam Qadri and his associate which include Shias, Bralevis and other sects of Islam, represent. A lot of people wonder how come Qadri always become so relevant in politics of Pakistan, it is not just his followers who come to show their support for him, all kinds of the people come out for him to show the other face of Islam. In the social media a lot of “Islamists” were sharing the pictures of colourful young ladies dancing and chanting slogans on the beats of music. They will share such pictures with the comments that “Is this the kind of Islam, Qadri is propagating?”. They share videos of Qadri’s comrades dancing on the beats of music with the comments “Is this the Islam?”, they don’t realise that they are indeed helping in spreading the message of Qadri which is “This is really the Islam”. Several “Liberals” who are affected by the acute lack of sense of proportion syndrome (ALSPS), scream that Qadri is another Taliban, another religious leader like Sufi Muhammad and Molvi Abdul Aziz. They equate the ladies in Qadri’s sit-in with the terrorist ninja women of Laal Masjid, trying to portray them as extremists and terrorists. They don’t realise that the pictures they share with such comments mock at them. Any real liberal who is not affected by ALSPS will immediately know that this is not extremism, these girls do not wear dreaded black veils, do not carry firearms, neither these girls are abducting Chinese girls from massage centres nor they are chanting the dreaded slogan of “Allah-o-Akbar” in a dreadful voice, they are the regular womenfolk, playful, beautiful, full of energy and life. These “liberals” also try to portray that Qadri’s protest is similar to protests by parties like Jamaat Islami and Jamat ud Dawa. They give the examples of processions by Khatam-e-Nubawat and Ulama Council in favour of Taliban, in an attempt to scare the world that it is the same Taliban in the cloths of Qadri they scream. What they don’t realise is that the sheer peacefulness if Qadri’s people, their message against Taliban and extremists, their civility for the common people, their peaceful nature even in the face of police atrocities, all make such insinuations rubbish. They mock at Qadri when he delivers his lecture in English, they mock that he is talking to his masters, what my “liberal” friends don’t realise is that they are helping spreading his message. The message that people of Pakistan, the muslims have no hatred against western nations, they consider them their friends and seek their help against the maniac of extremism. So in a nutshell one of the unstated objective of Qadri’s march was to make the world aware of the presence of large population of muslims and their rejection of the message of “Islamism” in Pakistan. The peaceful demonstration by the colourful muslims coming from all sects of Islam, the music, the girls, the colours all added to spread the message and exhibit the face of Islam that is usually ignored by the world. I live in a western country and one of my colleague asked me that usually he does not see pictures of “muslim” women with such colours and he does not see the muslim “religious” scholar talking in English and speaking respectfully to Western People. And when I heard this from colleague I realised the unstated objective of Qadri’s March has been achieved. ..to be concluded…   2 PAKISTAN-ISLAM-UNREST-FILM-US 4 5 6 7 8101112131432312322212019171615141311-b1211108333435363738394041424345mir76521



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