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Shakil Shaikh
Friday, January 18, 2013
From Print Edition
 
 

 

ISLAMABAD: Dr Tahirul Qadri, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and its allies jointly won the battle for reconciliation and democracy against extremism and hatred.

 

The Islamabad Long March Declaration, which culminated with the termination of Dr Qadri’s protest late Thursday night, has outwitted the Raiwind lot of Sharifs and their growing influence over national politics.

 

President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, PML-Q President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and their allies have achieved a landmark by saving the lives of innocent people gathered on the Jinnah Avenue to press hard for the acceptance of their constitutional, and some extra-constitutional, demands. It is like a ‘yes, no, maybe’ situation in national politics at a time when the general elections are months away.

 

The Islamabad Long March Declaration (ILMD) helped the government to survive unhurt, though Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif sent around 6,000 police personnel to launch a ruthless attack on the protestors. God forbid, if that had happened, scores of innocent people, including small kids, might have embraced Shahadat and the country would have gone in the grip of uncertainty and the PPP leadership would have had no face to show the world.

 

The Shahbaz Sharif’s trick to trap the PPP leadership proved abortive. The PPP leadership, courtesy Ch Shujaat Hussain and Altaf Hussain, played their cards well to come out of the crises without any bruise.

 

The peaceful, non-violent and disciplined protest by Qadri and his followers polished the image of Pakistani people in the sense that they hated extremism and confrontation.

 

Not a single minor incident took place during five days of protest by the Qadri’s marchers in the heart of Islamabad. This was a great example of a leadership and its training to his followers. The protestors braved severe cold weather, shortage of food, warm clothes and other civic problems. They stood firm on their feet to follow their leaders.

 

Islooites praised the behavior and maturity of the protestors. They won heart and soul of the citizens of Islamabad, as they remained peaceful throughout from Lahore to Islamabad and for almost a week’s time.

 

“We will continue the battle for democracy and against extremism and hatred,” wrote Asif Ali Zardari, Bilawar Bhutto Zardari, Bakhtawar Bhutto Zardari, Aseefa Bhutto Zardari on January 3, 2008 at Naudero in the afterward of Benazir Bhutto’s book ‘Reconciliation’.

 

Zardari lived up to his written words and that was the beauty of his political wisdom. He did not pay heed to what was being thought in Lahore the other day when Nawaz Sharif and several other opposition leaders tried to see a situation in Islamabad. Their wills doomed. The marches ended with a positive note of making history.

 

Zardari played wisely and credit must got to his top advisor Salman Farooqui, who gave a him the solid advice for reconciliation rather then use of force and police against the Qadri’s marchers in Islamabad. Police and force cannot resolve any situation, and it must be kept in mind by our tough-talking Interior Minister Senator Rehman Malik.

 

Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain along with Altaf Hussain played their key roles in helping the government in definite terms to end the stalemate without letting a drop of blood of any innocent human being.

 

The ILMD is a perfect historic piece of reconciliation, as assassinated PPP leader Benazir Bhutto rightly wrote: “It is time for reconciliation.”

 

Dr Tahirul Qadri has a big following throughout Pakistan, specially in the Punjab. His followers are as huge as one imagines. And his masterstroke to side with the PPP and PML-Q would dent further the growing popularity of Sharifs in the central Punjab, though their will likely be a tough fight in the elections.

 

Information Minister Kaira played a positive role by shaking hands and paying tributes to Qadri, who in return also did the same for Kaira, an emerging star in the PPP ranks.

 

Former Information Minister Mushahid Hussain Sayed, who studied at the Punjab University when Qadri was also a professor there, was upbeat to see that all this ended peacefully with joy loomed large on the faces of the people of Pakistan, particularly the marchers.

 

Hats off to Qadri for his leadership and the way he conducted the entire march. He seems to be a born leader with ability to lead the people even during difficult times. Qadri is the winner! Kudos for Dr Tahirul Qadri, his followers and the marchers for their unique showing in maintaining discipline, peace and harmony during all the days of their “long march” from Lahore to the federal capital and their five-day welcome stay at the Jinnah Avenue, just in front of the edifice of the Parliament House.

 

The large gathering of lacs of people did not resort to violence or confrontation. They obeyed orders of their leader, star performer Dr Tahirul Qadri, in letter and spirit. His command to the protestors that no leaf of a tree should be plucked and no stone should be hurled on a passing car or panes of a building were enough for his followers. They obeyed their leader.

 

The marchers braved harsh cool weather, heavy rain, food shortage, and other civic amenities. But they stood on their ground to press their demands in a peaceful way.

 

In doing so, they not only excelled themselves as a true peaceful Pakistanis but they gave out a message to the world — we hate extremism and we hate violence.

 

It never happened in the history of public meetings in Pakistan that people maintained discipline in strictest sense. Males, females, and kids behaved in a way that Islooites showered praise on them. They refused to become emotional or sentimental even during some very difficult period when cool waves coming from Margalla Hills hit them profusely. They refused to go for agitation when they faced lacking civic amenities. They refused to become violent when their small kids did not get milk or food. They refused to throw a stone on a passer-by when they did not get warm clothes or their clothes got wet in a chilling cold.

 

Dr Qadri must be saluted for his leadership to keep these marchers peaceful and non-violent. His abilities and leadership qualities must be acknowledged when he played masterly to win the hearts and minds of the media people and the citizens of Islamabad.

 

Dr Qadri was star performer during all these days with his mastery on political oratory, a rare feat in our national politics. The silvery tongued Dr Qadri aspired to the celestial peak of political oratory and one sees in him like the proverbial “King of Spades.”

 

Late Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto once wrote: “In countries with a low literacy level, the arts and techniques of persuasion play an important part in getting the people to accept new ideas and in motivating them to take the right road to implanting them.”

 

Pakistan has seen many fine and effective public speakers who know the art of oratory. But one admits that Dr Tahirul Qadri was the leading star amongst all these public speakers. He knows the art of political oratory and he is unmatched by his contemporaries and his gifts as a political oratory have served him well.

 

In the modern day politics, other leaders cannot dare compete Qadri in the art of political oratory with knowledge and full command over the matter he was speaking out in the public. Full marks to Qadri for his outstanding political oratory and the way he led the show single-handedly. Surely, he is the winner.