Long March, Army and National Interest

By Sajjad Shaukat

After signing of the Islamabad Long March Declaration by the representatives of the coalition government and Dr Muhammad Tahirul Qadri, the chief of Tehrik-e-Minhaj-ul-Quran (TMQ) and Pakistan Awami Tehrik (PAT) on January 17, this year, the five days episode was ended, which started from Lahore on January 13, and continued at the D-Chowk of the federal Capital where thousands of persons continued the sit-in for the implementation of Dr Qadris demands.

The agreement includes the dissolution of the National Assembly before March 16, 2013 so that elections can be held within 90 days; one month will be given for scrutiny of nomination papers for the purpose of pre-clearance of the candidates. No candidate would be allowed to start the election campaign until pre-clearance, and in consultation with Pakistan Awami Tehreek, names of two honest and impartial persons for appointment as caretaker prime minister will be chosen. While, issue of composition of the Election Commission of Pakistan will be discussed at the next meeting on January 27, 2013 at the Minhaj-ul-Quran Secretariat, Lahore.

Different interpretations are being given to the understanding reached between the two parties. Some political and religious leaders including media commentators describe it as a face saving-underhand deal as almost all the political parties like PPP, PML-N, M L-Q, ANP, Jamaat-e-Islami, (JI) and JUI-F condemned the long march and sit-in at Islamabad, while favouring the democratic setup and the coming process of general elections in the country. Even, chief of MQM, Altaf Hussain who decided to participate in the long march of Tehrik-e-Minhaj-ul-Quran, while favouring the demands of Dr Tahirul Qadri, withdrew his support. Similarly, PTI led by Imran Khan, which was considering on January 16 to join the sit-in organised by TMQ distanced itself.

Critics opine that Dr Tahirul Qadri failed in obtaining his real objectives, turning the capitals Constitution Avenue into Egypt-style Tahrir Square, and had said that he would not abandon sit-in unless bringing a revolution against the control of parliament by the corrupt rulers who are responsible for load shedding of electricity, gas, price-hike, unemployment etc., forcing them to resign.

The government did not accept Dr Qadris electoral reforms except minor changes in the process. Aside from giving Qadri a voice in who leads the caretaker administration, the government also agreed to dissolve parliament before a scheduled date of March 16, though it did not specify a date. An announcement of an election date could come during a parliament session on January 21.

Nawaz Sharif of PML-N stated on January 18 that Dr Tahirul Qadri had rushed to Islamabad to save the state and topple the government, but escaped from the scene without completion of his so-called agenda. Moreover, many political leaders including PML-N have remarked that sudden return of Dr Tahirul Qadri, holder of Canadian nationality to Pakistan, after seven years and call for the long march near the forthcoming elections showed that he was working on foreign agenda to destabilise Pakistan.

Some political experts say that it is a good sign that the representatives of the ruling parties agreed to reforms which though do not as much concede to Qadris wishes, but they do allow for a smooth run up to the elections.

Although everyone has been viewing the outcome of long march and sit-in at Islamabad by Dr Tahirul Qadris party from his point of view, yet like the past, some internal entities of Pakistan misperceived that Pak Army was behind the long March of Dr Qadri.

Meanwhile, rumours started spreading about Martial Law when on January 15, the Supreme Court ordered the National Accountability Bureau to arrest all 16 people including Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, accused of corruption in rental power projects in 2010.

In this regard, the human rights activists and the former president of the Supreme Court Bar Association Asma Jehangir who has always remained a vocal spoken against army and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) illogically deduced on the same day, saying that the long march of Dr Tahirul Qadri and the Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhrys order for the arrest of prime minister were not a coincidence, but a part of multiple planningthese developments which had been targeting the democracy and the rule of law, were aimed at bringing the army back into power. She added that lawyers community will resist any dictator. Besides, some analysts and newspapers were also misguiding the people that military was engineering a fourth coup behind the scenes.

Earlier, when the chief of TMQ, Dr Qadri had announced the long march and had given the deadline of January 10, 2013 to the federal government to fulfil his conditions, rumours were already spread by some hostile elements that Pak Army is covertly backing Dr Tahirul Qadris long march. But, on January 2, 2012, Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Major General Asim Saleem Bajwa categorically denied the speculation, linking Dr Tahirul Qadri to the military establishment.

Nevertheless, all these misperceptions proved untrue as Chief of the Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani did not interfere in the long march, and during the four days sit-in by the supporters of Dr Qadri in Islamabad.

It is notable that many serious crises erupted in the country, but Gen. Ashfaq Kayani did not interfere and therefore, the present civil government completed its tenure.

Notably, while speaking about Memogate case, on December 22, 2011, the ex-Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani, without naming army and ISI, presumed that conspiracies were being hatched to topple the democratically elected government. The opposition leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan of the PML-N had also stated that Martial Law would not be accepted in the country.

In that backdrop, Chief of Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani stated on December 23, The Pakistan Army has and will continue to support democratic process in the country.

It is mentionable that after the speeches of November 5, 2012 Chief Justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and Gen. Kayani, a few segments of politics and electronic media had been manipulating their statements by indicating as if there was a clash between the judiciary and army. Some politicians hinted about Martial Law in the country. Although there was some difference in nature of their statements, yet central point of both army chief and chief justice was the same, as they asserted about the supremacy of the constitution, strengthening the institutions, rule of law, fundamental rights, realisation of forgetting mistakes of the pastand to take a fresh start for the protection and defence of the homeland. Nevertheless, without grasping realities, politicians have also manipulated every issue like the Memogate case, Mehrangate verdict, NRO scandal, missing persons of Balochistan, Air Marshal (r) Asghar Khan case, military operation in Waziristan, incident of Malala Yousafzai etc., not only to disrepute countrys key security intuitions, but also against each other so as to misguide the common men to increase their voting lists.

No doubt during every crisis, by leaving the past practice, Pak army, under the leadership of its present head, has desisted from any kind of adventurism.

While, on June 9, 2011, by stressing upon national unity, Gen. Kayani, especially explained, any effort to create divisions between important institutions of the country was not in national interestthis is an effort to drive a wedge between the army, different organs of the state and more seriously, the people of Pakistan whose support the army has always considered vital for its operations against terrorists. Recently, he repeated similar views about media speculations of military operation in North Waziristan.

Particularly, on March 6, 2008, Gen. Kayani had clearly remarked, The army would stay out of the political process. He is still acting upon the principle of non-intervention in political affairs. And during Qadris, long march, he remained firm on his stand.

At this critical hour, when Pakistan is facing multi-faceted crises in economic and social terms besides perennial wave of subversive activities in various cities as arranged by the foreign secret agencies, national interest demands a selfless unity among politicians, security forces, media and general masses so as to cope with internal and external challenges instead of long marches.

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations.


Million March And Declaration Of Islamabad

By Hammad Mahmood

Islamabad million march is the biggest million march of Islamabad history started on 14 January and ended on 17 January for five days. 38 hours journey from Lahore to Islamabad through GT road and speeches at different cities.

Estimated expenditure on this million march is 80 crores and hired 20,000 buses they have expected 4 millions but that have the audience of March is near about their statements is 1 million.

The important question is that what are the sources of the expenditure of the march? This was a peaceful protest not a single leaf has been broken. This is a record in the history of the third world country and in south East Asia credit goes to Dr Tahirul Qadri.

During this march business and trade closed for five days including closure of Islamabad Stock Exchange and Blue Area the commercial hub and during the million march Karachi Stock Exchange index fell 525 points estimated 1 point is equitant to 25 crore the loss of Pakistan industry, Trade, Business is in trillions and the expenditure on security measures is 25 crores and the main question is that what we have get from this million march after the loss in trillions.

Need to scrutinize the expenditure of Dr Tahirul Qadri and government on this March and facts and figures will be published publicly. Dr Qadri told in a speech to people to afford themselves on this march but it is not possible the mobilization of 1 million people without any funding and support within the country or from abroad.

People have a concern he is silent during the five years of corrupt and incompetent government and he has come just before elections and this March derail the democracy. During the million marches Supreme Court Of Pakistan has ordered to arrest the prime Minister, famous by the name of raja rental and 16 other people but NAB has not taken any action. Dr Qadri also mentioned in his speech Raja Pervaiz Ashraf has done corruption in rental power case thats the main reason of load shedding which destroyed our industrial sector of Pakistan.

During the march Pakistan, India tensions arose and Indian forces killed a Lance Nike of Pakistani army but Pakistani government haven’t highlighted at international platform and not a single statement by any political party or not by any NGO or civil society who gathered to save the so-called democracy and strengthen corrupt government but not a single meeting or protest for national security matters and threat by Indian government and hockey players of Pakistan is also expelled from hockey premier league because of the threats of extremist Hindu organization Shiv Sena but no protest by Pakistani government.

During this million march opposition party gathered at Raiwind palace to strengthen corrupt system and Baloch politicians also attend the meeting in Punjab far from Balochistan but no one have gone to support Hazara community. Who protested with 87 dead bodies for 4 days.

The image of political parties is very negative in public this government have done nothing for the people and destroyed the industrial sector, sports industry. Un-employement is going high and law & order situation is very poor. And there absolutely no security for the people.

These are the main reasons people have no faith in this socalled democracy. The corruption of federal and provisinal governments are destabalising the economy. There is no gas, no electricity for industrial sector or for people. People had shown some interest in Dr Qardi but after the declaration, people are very dissappointed because the declaration signed by corrupt prime minister. Government haven’t dissolved the parliament, Government haven’t dissolved Election commission.

The first point of declaration is the scrutany of candiadetes in the next election and if they would not get cleared, they will not be eligable to take part in elections, even they can’t start the election campaign.

After the million march the objectives are not fullfiled still corrupt politicans are in parliament. There is no hope of employement, Gas or electricity and poor law and order.

All is well that ends well

By Saeed Qureshi

By opting to compromise on certain fundamental contentious issues, the political belligerents have averted a huge human catastrophe. I am referring to the Islamabad accord between Dr. Tahirul Qadri and his party Pakistan Awami Tehrik (PAT) on one hand and the PPPs coalition government on the other. One would not expect a total accommodation of Maulana Qadris demands, as this could have never be done even by most docile and pliable government.

If both the parties have overcome the principal irritants and leveled off the rough ends, then it is indeed a monumental accomplishment. Such sparkling development should be welcomed by sober and moderate onlookers and even the stakeholders and well wishers of Pakistan. It was a real peoples struggle for genuine reforms.

The most laudable and striking hallmark of the historic sit-in was that it was orderly and peaceful and sustained for five days with great deal of poise and responsible attitude by the protesters. Amazingly the participants of the unique rally were the people most of whom were alien to the posh environs of the capital of Pakistan.

Most of them hailed from the rural or semi-urban landscape of Pakistan. There were also a sizable number from the cities. Admirably, they all did not resort to provocative conduct or outburst of violence that has remained the usual tone and patterns of such rallies, processions and public meetings in Pakistan.

The Islamabad sit-in of the PAT and the others affiliate groups and individuals have set a pioneering brilliant precedent of the peaceful yet rigorous outlet of their pent-up anger and deep disapproval about a discredited and a pernicious status-quo gnawing at the vitals of Pakistan. It has established beyond any shadow of doubt that peaceful demonstrations and sober protests were more poignant and effective than the riotous and violent ones.

There is a great deal of resemblance between the about a month long mammoth protest of Egyptian people at the historic Tehrir Square ultimately throwing a stubborn and despised dictator Hosni Mubarak into the dustbin of infamy and lasting condemnation. In comparison the Egyptian protest was a mega one and that of Pakistan is minor. But their thrust is the same: to change a decadent system wholly or piecemeal.

While the stakes in Egypt were sky high, In Islamabad it had much limited agenda. It was not to change the praetorian but the mode of holding elections. The Egyptian sit-in at Tehrir Square was joined by all shades of political and public opinion. The Islamabads assemblage was staged solely by mostly students, peasants, laboring sections and lower middle classes. Its primary aim was to reform the electoral system, tailored to reelect the representatives from the privileged, aristocratic, elite feudal and wealthy classes.

Both the sides have demonstrated a high level of discretion and prudence and even tolerance in reaching the consensus and to hammer out a harmonious end of a stand-off that could have turned ugly and entail untold sufferings. Many among the protesters had come with their whole families including the children and infants and with meager quantity of ration. With a prolonged stay they would have ultimately starved or get sick. They would have called off the mission that could be disarrayed and fraught with frightening hazards.

It is a feather in the cap of the PPP coalition government and a well-deserved laurel for exercising utmost patience and not resort to coercive techniques employed in such chaotic and challenging situations. Now, one would watch with fingers crossed if the government earnestly implements, in letter and spirit, of what has been agreed upon between the two sides after lengthy parleys.

Almost all the political parties not only kept away from the Dr. Qadris led procession and rallies but scathingly criticized it for being held with sinister motives at the behest of some forces, at a time when fresh elections were around the corner. The politicians rejected Qadris movement and termed it a creepy plot by him to sabotage and short-circuit the democracy to pave way for the undemocratic forces to take over.

Those apprehensions and speculations have proven to be wrong. On the contrary the popular huge protests for comprehensive reform in the electoral system and its acceptance by the government would spur the healthy democratic culture and traditions in Pakistan. It has established, for the first time in the checkered history of Pakistan that the people, to whom the power belongs, were capable of affecting a healthy reform and meaningful transformation in the errant and faulty system.

It has further proven that a dysfunctional and flawed system can be brought back on track with unity, cohesion, resolution and indeed through a peaceful struggle by the people. Dr. Qadri achieved a landmark objective singlehandedly that has remained elusive thus far and that unfortunately was decried and boycotted by the super-duper politicians en-bloc. Who knows that these high sounding politicians wanted to save the stinking status quo or were jealous of an unexpected intruder who mobilized the people in a short span of time for a great national cause?

The writer is a senior journalist and a former diplomat.

Tahirul Qadri almost announced him as CT-PM of Pakistan, Says Zaid Hamid

Chaklala, MTT News Desk: The founder of renowned Chaklala based think tank BrassTack, Syed Zaid Zaman Hamid says that Dr. Tahirul Qadri has almost announced him as caretaker prime Minister of Pakistan.

Zaid Hamid says that Tahirul Qadri has “dismissed all political constitution bodies including, Government, Parliament, PM and the President of Pakistan and now, he seems considering him as the caretaker Prime Minister of Pakistan.

Zaid Hamid warned that there are bright chances of a clash between Tahirul Qadri’s men and the government, where President Zardari is in full control with his own picked PM and Interior Minister, Rahman Malik.

Zaid Hamid termed the Long March of Tahirul Qadri as “rebellion” and said that the anarchy is in making. He feared that the innocent people, present near and around D-Chock are in danger.

“There are daughters, sisters and children” He expressed his concern.

Syed Zaid Zaman Hamid said that the pressure is building on current regime of Zardari from all sides. He said that the Balochistan government has gone and the Supreme Court has already ordered to arrest Mr. Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and ongoing Long March of Tahirul Qadri have endangered the Zardari regime.

Is Pakistan a democratic country

By Hammad Mahmood

Pakistan is one of the nuclear powers and has a very important role in world politics and have a neighbouring country of China India and Afghanistan and is a key ally in war against terrorism and lost 45,000 thousands military and civilian lives since 2001.

This part of the world south East Asia is very important because in war against terrorism USA and NATO forces have announced withdrawal from Afghanistan by the end of 2014 that’s why 2013 and 2014 are very important years. Pakistan has a very important role in south East Asia.

But for the last five years is under the so called democratic system run by the dictatorship of few families who have full hold on the resources of the country. Majority of the population have no access to education, Health and employment. Industrial investment is moving to Bangladesh.

Only in Punjab 1,00,000 small industries and 400 big industries closed and unemployment reached to 4 million in Punjab. No political party has raised their voice to save our textile industry and for the poor workers who lost their job. In Karachi factory incident 350 people lost their life and recently Pakistani prime minister has given the orders to take back the murder cases on factory owners who are responsible for the killings of innocent people who are given just 50,000 and the owners are taking maximum work in this salary they can’t afford to survive with their family and in factory’s their is no health and safety protection for the labours.

More than 22,000 people killed in Karachi killings and the bloodshed of Hazara community recently 87 people killed in Quetta capital city of Balochistan in bomb attacks and they had protested with the dead bodies under the temperature of -8 degree for three days. In this democracy, mothers are protesting with the dead bodies of their sons and no one from the government have come to take action against such a bad law and order situation and still the responsible former chief minister of Balochistan is not in the country do this government have any feelings for the people of Pakistan.

According to the statement of chairman NAB daily 7 billion corruptions and our investment is moving from Pakistan which is the main cause of unemployment in Pakistan and foreign investment because of poor law and order situation government haven’t taken any step to give confidence to foreign investment in Pakistan.

In Bhoja airline crash 129 people killed but no inquiry against responsible people. India is supplying weapons in Balochistan and government haven’t raised this important threat to our national security at any international platform.

On 15 January Supreme court of Pakistan has given the orders to arrest prime minister of Pakistan and 16 other people who are involved in rental power corruption which is the main cause of load shedding which destroyed our industrial sector and large amount of contract moving from Pakistan to neighbouring countries and in reaction of the order the PPP showed their power in Karachi in the form of shut down the markets.

Statement of Senator Aitzaz Ahsan and senior advocate said that he will remain prime minister even if he goes to jail. So called civil society of Pakistan organized a protest in favour of raja rental that from this judgement of Supreme court democracy is in danger and they opposed the rally of Dr Qadri founder of MinhajULQuran foundation who gathered lacs of people in Islamabad to save the society.

Shame on civil society they can’t see the corruption of Geelani and his family, Raja rental and other ministers of government and allies. They can’t see the killings of Karachi, They can’t see who destroyed industrial sector they haven’t raise their voice for the 4 million unemployed Punjab labours, They have not raise their voice for the innocent 350 people who killed in Karachi factory incident and PM have given orders to take back the murder case on factory owners, why they are not protesting for Karachi killings.

They are not raising their voice we have tension at Indian borders and Indian army killed our 1 Lance Nike on 15 January they only raise voice for the corrupt politicians who destroyed PIA, Railways near bankruptcy we have to think what is their agenda.

People are fed up from this corrupt political system in which 99% people can’t reach to the assemblies and they are not the part of the policies and only few families have access to the resources of the country they are masters and people are like their slaves. Dr Qadri’s million march is the alarming situation for the corrupt segment of society who don’t have any feelings for the poor and deprived people of Pakistan.

The time has come to stand up as a nation for our rights to build the foundation of a new, Progressive, Democratic, Islamic and welfare country.

International community is watching the critical condition of Pakistan government has no control in the country. Suicide bombing is increasing law and order is poor.

Pakistanis also big hub of Karachi port in south East Asia and matters are going worse day by day. This scenario is quite alarming and in next election Pakistan needs a new government who can strengthen democracy and re establish industrial sector, Improve law and order situation, Create job opportunities and give hope to foreign investment that Pakistan is a safe country. Change is very essential in 2013 for Pakistan to build our image as a moderate country at international platform.

High-speed changing political spectrum

By Brig. (Retd) Asif Haroon Raja

Operation Weaken Pakistan through covert war launched in 2002 by so-called allies of Pakistan was part of four-dimensional plan to destabilize, de-Islamize, denuclearize and destroy Pakistan. For eleven years concerted efforts have been made by the US and its allies grouped together in Kabul to achieve their objectives. The first phase of destabilization has progressed fairly well and today Pakistans socio-politico-economic-military fabric is seriously disheveled. Fast crumbling economy has made the state fragile and vulnerable to military intervention. But for deceptive friendship and slavish compliance of our leaders, this sort of progress was impossible to achieve by our so-called allies. So far it was intensely debated whether India or religious extremism cum terrorism was the existential threat to Pakistans security. It is now being said that the biggest threat is posed by the ruling coalition subservient to the wishes of Washington. In its near five-year tenure, the PPP led regime has left no stone unturned to destroy each and every institution of Pakistan and to bring bad name to democracy.

After ZA Bhutto and his daughter Benazir Bhuttos efforts to secularize the society, secularism was promoted by Musharraf through his enlightened moderation concept under the garb of presenting a soft image of Pakistan to the world. Sudden expansion of TV channels was a step in that direction. Secularism was further promoted by PPP led liberal parties after they assumed power in 2008. These efforts were reinforced by India and the west through Indo-western cultural invasion to promote obscenity and vulgarity with the help of foreign movies, X-rated CDs, NGOs. Propaganda war was launched on electronic and print media to undermine Islamic culture. Two-nation theory, Islamic ideology and other settled issues were debated to sow seeds of doubts among the youth. Quaid-e-Azam was portrayed as a secularist. The US and India financed TV channels and journalists to sell their themes and manipulate perceptions.

Madrassahs, mosques, religious scholars, ulemas and Islamists dubbed as extremists and terrorists were hit hard to undermine Islamic culture. All these efforts were made by Indo-US-Western-Jewish lobbies with the help of liberal groups within Pakistan to soften the glue of Islam which kept the federating units and the people of differing cultures united and to transform the complexion of Pakistan to secularism. These sustained efforts have made seculars and liberals in minority into ultra liberals, but Islamists which are in great majority have clung to their Islamic moorings and Islam is spreading rather than getting curtailed.

The US sustained efforts to disable our nuclear program or force Pakistan to roll it back and handover the manufactured bombs for safe custody elsewhere because of threat posed by the militants have been foiled because of the dogged determination of the armed forces. Pakistan militarys nuclear deterrence has not been compromised and its conventional capability is still strong and robust despite the decade old fatiguing war on terror. Our nuclear arsenal has been made secure through multi-layered security system meeting international standards. Foolproof command and control mechanism of its nuclear arsenal and its nuclear production capability as well as missile power have an edge over Indian wherewithal. The nuclear and missile capabilities are constantly being upgraded to meet the Indian challenge. None of the service chief has got overawed with the presence of US-NATO in Afghanistan and Indias hostile posturing posing a twin threat.

The lawyer community was instrumental in getting chief justice Iftikhar and 60 judges of higher courts reinstated and in freeing the judiciary from the clutches of military-political bureaucratic power centres. Judiciary with a tainted past has got fully reinvigorated and it is asserting its independence resolutely. But for proactive judiciary, the country might have been sold off by now as was evident from memo case. Wrongdoers irrespective of their social status have been netted and the day is not far when each one would be punished. A sensational beginning was made when former PM Gilani was forced by Supreme Court (SC) to relinquish his charge.

Despite the fact that a segment of media has been bought by foreign powers, the media is playing an important role in highlighting the failings of the elites and ills of the society boldly. The stagnant civil society and the youth got energized during the lawyer movement and are now endeavoring to bring a healthy change in our decayed political system hinging on dynasties, Baradaries, power of wealth and the gun. The disillusioned people are abandoning the status quo lovers and flocking towards revisionists promising change.

The people have braved the hardships of power and gas outages, scarcity of food items, joblessness and pains of poverty and spate of suicide bombings/bomb blasts bravely. Financial hardships, poverty and insecurity have not lowered their spirits. In the depressed environment, Pakistans hockey team won Asian championship by flooring Indian team in the finals and our cricket team shared the trophy with India in T20s and won one-day series, both on Indias home ground. In the field of songs and music which is the domain of India, Pakistani singer Nabeel won the Sur Kshetra competition.

The military has kept itself restrained from taking over, despite extreme home pressure to intervene and Gen Kayani has promised to support democracy and to help in conducting free and fair elections. Tehrik-e-Insaf (TI) has emerged as a third political force to challenge the monopoly of status quo loving two mainstream parties. Dr Tahirul Qadri has also stepped in with his electoral reform program when elections are close by to add fuel to the rising political temperature. He is under severe criticism of all political parties except MQM, TI and PML-Q. His detractors are frantically trying to besmirch his image by calling him a Canadian working on someone elses agenda.

Untested TI wants removal of corrupt leaders of the two mainstream parties seen by Imran as chips of the same block, equitable justice, effective taxation system and dialogue with estranged militants in FATA and Balochistan. Imrans balloon to a large extent has been busted by Qadri who has snatched the initiative from him. Imran could have gained politically had he stuck to his earlier inclination to get associated with Qadri and participated in his long march. As part of damage control he hastened to join the sit-in of Hazaras in Quetta and has now asked President Zardari to resign. Opportunist MQM is supporting Dr Qadri but must be ruing its decision of backing out from his long march. This u turn however was to the advantage of Qadri. While MQM is pressing the government to accept Qadris demands and not to create any hurdles in his sit-in, it is unwilling to resign from federal and Sindh governments. Altaf is facing scathing attacks of people of Pakistan on his imprudent utterances against Quaid-e-Azam.

Two-time tried out PML-N desires true democracy to strengthen institutions and turning Pakistan into an Asian tiger, but it is dejected that its dream of wearing the crown is being sabotaged by Qadri. The ANP having lost many of its leaders and party activists at the hands of militants in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa want all political parties to get united and develop a consensus to take a decisive action against militancy. At the same time it has offered unconditional peace talks to TTP. Religious parties want interference of USA in domestic affairs to end, independent foreign policy, early resolution of Kashmir issue based on UN resolutions and implementation of constitution strictly in line with Quran and Sunnah. However, conceptually, all religious parties/group differ with each other.

Of late TTP and its affiliates have stepped up its attacks and at the behest of its patrons are trying to provoke the government to launch a major operation in North Waziristan thereby helping Hakimullah in reunifying divided TTP and mustering support of all other militant groups and putting up a united front against security forces. Attack on Malala and Peshawar airport and assassination of top ANP leader Bashir Bilour were undertaken by TTP with this hidden objective in mind. TTP has accepted governments offer of talks provided it agrees to promulgate Shariah and not to insist on surrendering arms.

The PPP regime smug on having reached the tail-end of its five-year tenure was looking forward for a smooth transition of power, or preferably to win again, was suddenly confronted with multi-dimensional threats as if the events had been synchronized. On one hand, militants have stepped up their activities, and on the other Indian military have heated up the LoC. Drone strikes are continuing. MQM kicked up dust on the issue of delimitation of constituencies in Karachi. Dr Tahirul Qadri has added to the woes of PPP by staging a massive sit-in in Islamabad. Carnage in Quetta on January 10, wherein over 100 Hazaras died in terrorist attacks and hundreds got injured. Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Jaishul Islam are behind most attacks on Shia Hazaras.

Under intense pressure, Zardari was forced to sack Aslam Raisanis thoroughly corrupt, inept and insensitive government and impose Governor Rule for two months in the wake of sit-in by Hazara community in Quetta for four days and refusing to bury 86 dead bodies till the Army took over. Men, women and children protested in freezing cold silently and neither resorted to violence nor uttered a word against Pakistan. Dual-faced Fazlur Rahman and Akhtar Mengal, seemingly satisfied with weird Raisani, have not welcomed Governor Rule.

Chaudhri brothers vainly tried to hold back Dr Qadri from undertaking the long march but couldnt break their past record of failures. Qadris impressive long march managed to reach Islamabad on the night of 14th despite hurdles created by Punjab and federal governments. He spelled out his seven-point agenda for change which revolves around electoral reforms under competent and independent caretaker government before elections. During his address to the lustily cheering people including women and small children on the following day, Qadri demanded immediate dissolution of national and provincial assemblies as well as Election Commission. He thundered that the executive head and legislators had lost the moral right to rule and must quit.

While he was still addressing, the SC gave another landmark judgment, ordering Chairman NAB to arrest PM Raja Ashraf and 16 others on account of their involvement in Rental Power Plant corruption case. Chief Justice was compelled to take this drastic step since NAB had failed to take any action on its verdict given in March 2012 despite repeated reminders. It may be recalled that to add insult to injury, President Zardari had appointed under trial Raja Ashraf as replacement of sacked PM Gilani. Except for the types of Asma Jahangir and Hamid Mir, the SC decision was hailed by the people and they danced ecstatically. Jubilant Qadri told the audience to offer thanksgiving prayers.

With Ashraf in the dock, the ultimatum given by Dr Qadri has compounded the dilemma of Zardari and his gang of thieves. In case D Chowk multitude doubles up on 16th, and the swelling crowd stays on for two to three days or more, Zardari and his band will either have to roll up their beddings voluntarily or face the wrath of the people. Any silly mistake by Rahman Malik will trigger uncontrollable reaction from the charged up crowd. What is required is coolness of mind and sagacious handling of the delicate situation. The government should immediately hold parleys with Dr Qadri, seriously consider his seven demands which are backed by the people and adopt a conciliatory posture. He should be consulted in forming a caretaker government and the process of long due electoral reforms may be undertaken to put an end to the practice of rigged elections.

The writer is a retired Brig, a freelance columnist and a defence analyst.

What the Rationale of Long March?

By Sajjad Shaukat

At this crucial juncture, when general elections are very close, the announcement of long march by Dr Muhammad Tahirul Qadri, the chief of Tehrik-e-Minhaj-ul-Quran (TMQ) and Pakistan Awami Tehrik (PAT) to Islamabad on January 14, 2013 is quite irrational.

In this regard, while addressing a massive public meeting at Minar-e-Pakistan on December 23, last year, Dr Qadri demanded postponement of general elections and formation a caretaker set-up of his choice in order to bring revolutionary changes in political and electoral system. He had given the deadline of January 10, 2013 to the federal government to fulfil his conditions. But in case of non-implementation of his terms, he has threatened to hold a rally of four million people towards Islamabad, turning the capitals Constitution Avenue into Tahrir Square. The march will proceed from Lahore on January 13. Notably, chief of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) Altaf Hussain who decided to participate in the long march of Tehrik-e-Minhaj-ul-Quran, while favouring the demands of Dr Tahirul Qadri, has now withdrawn his support.

On the other hand, the Punjab and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies unanimously passed resolutions against Tahirul Qadris long march and condemned attempts to derail democratic process in the country under the pretext of bringing electoral reforms.

It is notable that leaders of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Muslim League (Q), Awami National Party (ANP) Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) Tehrik-i-Insaaf Pakistan (PTI) and renowned figures have strongly denounced the long march. In their separate statements, they said that real aim of Dr Qadris demands through long march is to sabotage the democratic process in Pakistan, to block the forthcoming elections and to create unrest in the country. Some of them pointed out that Dr Tahirul Qadri himself want to become the prime minister of the caretaker government. Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf remarked that Tahirul Qadri should better take part in the Polls, instead of inciting the general masses for long march. Nawaz Sharif stated that his party would obstruct all efforts to derail democracy.

The All-Parties Conference organised by the Supreme Court Bar Association on January 10, which was participated by political leaders and member of civil societies also rejected the long march as unconstitutional and against democracy.

Although Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik met MQM leader Altaf Hussain and Dr Qadri assuring security to his rally and informing him of the terror-attack on his life and procession, yet Tahirul Qadris intentions are suspicious as he seeks to create anarchy in Islamabad like the Tahrir Square of Egypt.

In this respect, in a threatening style, Dr Qadri repeatedly warned that both the federal and Punjab governments along with President Asif Ali Zardari would be responsible for consequences, if the governments tried to stop his long march, adding that containers were being put on the roads to block the march.
Taking cognisance of the long march and real intentions of the leader of TMQ, the rival ruling rulers of the PPP and PML-N contacted each other in an attempt to counter Dr Qadris threat of a long march to Islamabad. In this context, in a meeting, the ruling allies presided over by President Asif Ali Zardari on January 10 also resolved to hold forthcoming general elections in time, and vowed not to allow any attempt to thwart the polls due to long march.

While consolation has also started between the PPP and PML-N in relation to the caretaker government, and while Election Commission of Pakistan has been preparing for the upcoming polls, long march led by Qadri is quite illogical, having no justification.

Earlier, some rumours were spread by some hostile elements that Pak Army is covertly backing Dr Tahirul Qadris long march. But, on January 2, 2012, Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Major General Asim Saleem Bajwa categorically denied the speculation, linking Dr Tahirul Qadri to the military establishment.

It is mentionable that it is owing to non-interference of Chief of the Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani in politics during many crises that the present civil government completed its tenure. On the other side, some politicians have also stated that external hands are behind Qadris movement and his unjustified demands. So, if we analyse the rationale behind the sudden re-emergence of Dr Qadri in Pakistan including some other dimensions, it will expose his real face as some foreign powers have been assisting him to destabilise Pakistan.

In this context, sudden return of Dr Tahirul Qadri, holder of Canadian nationality to Pakistan, after seven years shows that his integrity is doubtful. While in the recent years, Pakistan has been passing through very sensitive phase, facing multiple crises like subversive activities which killed thousands of innocent peopleearthquake of 2005 and floods, load shedding of electricity and gas, but Dr Qadri did not came back to his native country.

In fact, first of all, US-led Israel and some western powers have been weakening Pakistan as it is the only nuclear country in the Islamic World. For the purpose, especially American CIA, Indian RAW, Afghan intelligence-National Directorate of Security (NDS) and Israeli Mossad which have established their tentacles in Afghanistan have been sending highly motivated militants and suicide bombers along with sophisticated weapons to attack the security forces of Pakistan and to commit various forms of terror acts in Pakistan besides assisting separatist elements of Balochistan in order to obtain the secret designs of their countries. American blame game, cross-border terrorism and drone attacks are also part of the game. However, after creating political instability and economic problems and social strife by subversive acts through their affiliated militant outfits, particularly, the US thought that time is ripe to send Dr Qadri to Pakistan so as to conduct a civil war in the country.

Apparently Qadris so-called demands may attract the laymen, but apprehensions remain that real agenda behind his rally at Islamabad is to bring bloody revolution, which may result in the killings of innocent human beings by threatening the very sovereignty of the country. Notably, at Cairos Tahrir Square, several people died, which tuned into a battlefield. Besides, the revolution at the Tahrir Square was against ex-president Hosni Mubarak, a dictator who ruled over Egypt for 30 years by suppressing the fundamental rights of people. But in Pakistan, people are already enjoying fundamental rights and the benefits of democracy. And judiciary is quite free in redressing the grievances of the public, while media is also free to criticise any institute or inform the people of any controversial issue.

In this democratic phenomenon in Pakistan, Dr Tahirul Qadris revolutionary act by converting Islamabad Constitution Avenue into Tahrir Square of Cairo through undemocratic tactics clearly indicates that he is pursuing the guidelines of the US. He wants to conduct a bloody civil war between the military and general masses.

Surprisingly, while calling Dr Tahirul Qadri as Foreign Actor, even the spokesman of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Ihsanullah Ihsan pointed out on December 22, Mr Qadri is working upon foreign agenda and could never be patriot.

At present, Pakistan is facing multiple threats. In this regard, recently, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani repeatedly said that the country was passing through a very critical phase and is pitched against an amorphous enemy, while the conventional threat has also grown manifold. He explained that internal challenge like terrorism could be defeated through collective national efforts, and the armed forces had a pivotal role to play in harmony with other state instruments.

While in their separate speeches of November 5, 2012, both Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and Chief Justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry expressed similar views. While realisation of forgetting mistakes of the past and to take a fresh start for the protection of the homeland, they asserted about the supremacy of the constitution, strengthening the institutions, rule of law and fundamental rights.

Moreover, Qadri could redress his grievances by approaching any court of competent jurisdiction, if he wanted reforms in the electoral system. But he directly decided a revolutionary step of long march to covert Pakistan into another Somalia so as to fulfil secret agenda of the US which is already playing double game with the country.

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations.

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