Living abroad for last many years it is first time I feel really a proud Pakistani. The Sit-in at Islamabad of „Million March“ at D Square in front of Federal Parliament lasting for 5 days has ended in a positive outcome with consensus showing the maturity of political leadership. It was being speculated that another„Lal Masjid“ incident will take place once the last ultimatum of 90 minutes was announced from the windowed container of the leader of enthusiastic, motivated crowds and protesters in the glare of TV cameras.
We have been listening to true or false propaganda on electronic media, reading newspapers and watching videos all over again and again by Mr Qadri’s opponents that he is full of shortcomings based on many principles, legal and constitutional grounds and political field obviously, in particular, his political past. Some thought that the West is banking on a “liberal religious leader,” who has even sought to justify drone’s attacks before Dec 23 when a huge rally was held in Lahore. Mr Qadri will allow them to bring the Pakistani nation on board as Khomeini did it in Iran many decades ago.
As we know that these are the means that matter hence many could not agree to his way of achieving the goal. But at the same time, to many of us, it looked that morally, ethically, socially, emotionally, and rationally Mr Qadri was raising the voice for the common good for future of Pakistan’s political processes, institutions, systems and governance of course. There is absolutely no doubt that the demands for „Electoral Reforms“through proper enforcement of the constitution are very much necessary for Pakistan to rid itself of the corrupt politicians’ cult ruling this unfortunate nation for almost 7 decades. So when Mr Qadri in his convincing manner offered yet another path of long march to truly change the democratic political equation, the change in Status-Quo in Pakistan, it was difficult not to join in. Many reasoning emerged that made many of us deciding to stay away, rather they were OK with existing circumstances.
First through “People’s Assembly” sitting at D square would make decisions for the nation without itself having been selected by the people. How could this sort of “People’s Assembly” represent the entire nation without having actually been given such mandate? How can one man decide the character of candidates participating in elections with the support of his own followers? Believing in democracy means that we need to fight this battle against corrupt rulers/people, tax evaders and lawbreakers at the ballot box.
Second was the chaos and violence that Pakistan is already experiencing along with recently syringed out situation on Eastern and Western borders. The so called support of “Friends” and “Muslim Brothers” has proved to be other way round. It has costed this nation over 45, 000 dead bodies and economical loss in billions of dollars. We have been into a state of war; the growing drone’s attacks and activities of Indian troops along the Line of Control in disputed Jammu and Kashmir, alongside an unprecedented increase in terrorism, especially in Quetta and KPK.
Third was the issue of dual nationality of Mr Qadri that raised questions of his dual loyalties, no matter how committed to Pakistan he is. Particularly once a political movement in Pakistan remains the option in future then commitment to this cause requires legally a renunciation of the Canadian nationality. Mr Qadri’s connection and meeting with foreign sources were disturbing as well. UK High Commissioner to Pakistan visited Mr Qadri in Canada two or three times about six months ago; Apart from the factors like the “Establishment” was behind Mr Qadri. And “External Powers” have a role as US seeks a favourable dispensation in Islamabad up to 2014 so that its withdrawal from Afghanistan can be smooth and the post-withdrawal scenario to its liking. A long-term friendly say 3 years caretaker setup would suit them more than an elected government, especially since they are not sure what will happen in the next elections when there is no NRO and no “Guarantors”. We also know how the UK played a leading role in the whole NRO game last time, so the same could be true this time.
Too many questions came up about the agenda of Mr Qadri; a man to be respected for his scholarship though very much questioned by Al Azhar University or at least as a good orator to some of us. I know many who were convinced that if he is really concerned about the people of Pakistan then a long march that would win support from all over the country would have been a Peace March to Quetta. Many would have joined him without hesitation. Till then elections and legal challenges to enforce constitutional provisions are the route to achieve change well thought by majority of Pakistanis. The demand is of fair elections, in brief.
But as the Sit-in has come to an end we can boldly say “It is Success Day for whole of Pakistan”. There were green flags hoisting all over the Jinnah Avenue in Islamabad. The dialogue had decided in a way that “Who cares for the Green Flag?” Today at D square the delegation comprising of PPP, PML-Q, MQM and the ANP representatives greeted Mr Qadri, who embraced warmly those he had been calling Yazidis and corrupt earlier. Well this happens in speeches from either side. Surely, the credit goes to democracy. Today‘s credit goes to maturity of the leadership from PPP and its collation partners particularly President Asif Ali Zardari, the reconciliation policy of Benazir Bhutto, Mr Qadri’s leadership and his obedient and discplined followers‘ peaceful demonstration and steadfastness that could recharge his old Pakistan Awami Tahrik (PAT) that was miserably defeated in past election though Mr Qadri’s well narrated but false spiritual dreams involving the message of Prophet (PBUH) could not come to his rescue. It was a give and take deal by the both parties on 17th Jan. The ever crises resolving leadership of Ch Shujaat Hussain deserves admirably remarks along with Altaf Hussain who opposed the use of force against babies, young girls, respectable ladies and elderly citizens who were Pakistanis first and protesters later.
It was a show of people of Pakistan who believe in peace, tolerance, love, unity, humbleness. Mr Qadri’s knowledgeable and disciplined followers were standing together hand in hand in cold weather of Islamabad even once it was raining. The matter got resolved as Pakistanis believe in dialogue and it was through dialogue that today they reached to certain consensus between two groups; the Status-Quo and Change demanding revolutionaries. Since ages Pakistanis have the traditions of joint family system, taking care of week and poor in the society, special care of needy people in particular the elderly people, respect for her/his humble country mate, showing high degree of hospitality even to unknown individuals. Even the basic human and religious rights for all citizens, particularly the minorities, used to be the bright and excellent characteristic of this great nation till the Mullah-ism took over few decades back once „ Mujahedeen „ were created to fight USSR that invaded Afghanistan. The discipline in every field of life, faith in their wonderful and peaceful religion Islam and peaceful day to day life, strong desire of progress and prosperity, secular and liberal thinking, unity among all sects and casts have been their wonderful character traits. They don‘t want anymore a rule of dictators; the Martial Law. This Sit-in of knowledgeable participants can educate those who didn’t participate that how to fight for the rights in a peaceful manner. It has never happened in history of Pakistan that no damage was caused to life or property. It has been proved by the consensus reached by intelligent and humble leaders who met Mr Qadri at D square for 5 hours.
A friend of mine living in South Africa says, “Pakistan was made by all humble people of every sect and cast. Now it is time to build Pakistan standing together. It can happen if all humble people from different casts and sects stand together against Mir Sadiqs. Only then it is possible to sort out issues of Pakistan facing internally and externally both. May Allah give all humble people from all casts and sects the strength to stand together against Mir Sadiqs.”
Still few have come up that it was a Qadri’s Face Saving in Negotiations or they are even using the terms like „Dialogue with Yazidi Forces“. Islam does teach the forgiveness, humbleness as it is a religion of peace and tranquillity. The termomnolgy just reflects the mindset and attitude. And Holy leaders reffered had set examples of dialouge in shape of “ Madina Declaration” and “ Hudaibiyyah Agreement” and even negotiations between the representatives in persons of Hamadani and Ibne Saad during Karbala battle.
Pakistani nation has been intentionally thrown in Terrorism that was logical outcome of sectarianism that got exaggerated in last few decades. Till late 70s there used to be religious duals, “Manazrah” and dialogue between different schools of thoughts in very peaceful environments. Those used to be held even in villages without any drastic and extreme consequences, rather those Manazrahs used to be one of the means of education. There was no hatred in Pakistani society against each other. The attacks by suicide bombers, Afghan Taliban, Punjabi Tahrek Taliban are the outcome of friendship with forces that are present by force in Iraq and Afghanistan. Baloch activists and similar so called liberation armies are the by-products to achieve the greater dreams of exploitation forces to suck the resources of Pakistan. The Kalabagh Dam opponents do get millions of rupees every year from the other side of the Eastern border where West has been very kind to bring technology and investment. The Tax evaders, Liars of highest order, ruthless military dictators have helped these forces to facilitate the goal of such external forces. Recent Shias killings in Gilgit and then Quetta are alarming. Over 100 killings in just one day in capital of Baluchistan; a small city, is another pressure on Pakistan.
Earlier two Ahmadiyya Mosques were attacked in Lahore in May 2010 killing 87 and injuring many more. Governor Salman Taseer, a brave son of the nation, showed little gesture to Ahmadis and in return Taliban killed him. Later on his son remains abducted to settle the release of his father’s murderer. In Pakistan though FATA and KPK Province had suffered more than any other part of Pakistan but the brave Pashtoon brothers are determined to fight it that was very evident by the short speech of Afrasiab Khattak of ANP in today’s meeting in Islamabad. Every speaker of the 10 men delegation spoke like a true patriot Pakistani and this spirit has made us really proud. It is hoped that this week‘s the sheer money and organisational structure that suddenly became overt will be overcomed in a short time as long as the nation stays united. It is true that subjecting a nation to constant fear, oppression, uncertainty and ambiguity brews extreme behaviours, radical attitudes, and irrational approaches but today’s attitude was very much different. The people are happy on the outcome of this dialogue. The 5 point written and signed by participating political leaders „Islamabad Long March Declaration“ has resolved the issue having met more of the demands. Mr Qadri had asked for a clean-up of the system. The Article 62, 63 and 218(3) of the Constitution will be strictly applicable to the candidates and only having got clearance they will be allowed to go into election campaign. It says, “One month will be given for scrutiny of nomination papers for the purpose of pre-clearance of the candidates under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution so that the eligibility of the candidates is determined by the Election Commission of Pakistan.“ The scrutiny period has been increased to 60 days. Surely it puts BIG Questin Mark on mjority of the MNAs and MPAs. The united opposition must be worried due to this achievement of long March. Only PTI, MQM and at some stage PML-Q supported this 5 day long activity, rest all political parties are till today opposing it harshly. Similarly the ECP and caretaker government installed will be responsible for free, fair and transparent elections as the declaration calls for implementation of the June 8, 2012, Supreme C ourt verdict on constitutional petitions seeking strict implementation of the code of conduct during the elections. Detailed Electoral Reforms will be discussed in next few weeks between the parties assisted by renowned legal experts and lawyers of the country. This declaration has been entered into in a cordial atmosphere and reconciliatory spirit.
For time being the Overseas Pakistanis alike living in Pakistan are happy on the positive outcome of this long march. And they can have real and true happiness once the minorities like Ahmadis, Shias, Hindus and Christians get no more killed. This can happen only if minorities in Pakistan are given back their usurped basic human rights. Also once the ongoing and consistent persecution of Ahmadiyya Muslims being done for the last 4 decades, in particular, will come to an end in Pakistan. In scenario of coming elections now it is high time that unjust Ordinance XX promulgated by dictator Zia ul Haq must get abolished from the constitution so that Ahmadis too can vote in these elections. Ironically Mr Qadri can’t talk about this right of Ahmadis being ahimself a Molvi though he was much concerned about his voters even this time. The ECP needs to publish one and only one list of voters to avoid the discrimination against Ahmadis; the patriot and peace loving citizens of Pakistan. This means nothing extra but the true spirit of fair elections of this very successful long march of Mr Qadri. Only then all Pakistanis could say, Yes! We are Proud Pakistanis!