Dr Tahirul Qadri, the charismatic leader of Pakistan Awami Tehreek, (PAT) who had streaked across the dark political skies of Pakistan last year and held the nation glued to their television screens for almost 20 days, returned to our television screens last week, this time through a video link from Canada.

In his First Coming, the good doctor had played a star role in a dramatic soap opera, preformed from inside a  steel container parked in front of the Parliament Building in Islamabad, mesmerizing millions of viewers with his electrifying, Oscar winning performance.

And in his Second Coming, the good Doctor again tried to inspire the citizens to launch an Egyptian type Thariq Square, People’s Revolution, to remove the newly elected government, which he described as ‘corrupt and failed’. 

 He spoke to his followers, gathered at Nasir Bagh, Lahore, through the video-link, vowing to continue his Mission Impossible, of reforming the electoral system in the country and rooting out the corrupt, the tax dodgers and establish a just social order.

He said the lavish lifestyle of the ruling class was continuing, though the country was facing severe crises and instead of providing relief to poor people, the rulers were facilitating the corrupt and the dishonest.

He slammed the failed government policies and accused the state of exploiting the masses, for the benefit of a 100 families and termed the existing democratic setup, a “political dictatorship”. In his usual firebrand, finger waving speech, he asked ‘exactly how many families in Pakistan possess Rs50 billion rupees?”.

Continuing his tirade, he went on to accuse members of parliament of tax evasion and said the time was ripe for the nation to snatch its rights from the clutches of usurpers and save the federation.

“PAT would bring about a revolution in the country and implement Article 38 in letter and spirit to ensure a government for the people and by the people. The time is ripe to take the road towards waging a revolution”. A touch of Déjà vu here?

No doubt, a majority of the elected members of parliament do not file tax returns and keep their assets benami, i.e., in the name of others, to avoid taxes, whereas, in India, the government has banned all benami transactions through the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 1988.

Unfortunately, in this Land of the Pak and the Pure, which is governed by corrupt parliamentarians,  we still have no such law and even in the presence of Article 19A of the constitution, the public has no access to assets of top military brass, the honorable judges of Supreme and High Courts and grade 21 and 22 civil servants. As such, corruption thrives. In the past, some of our retired generals have been considered the richest in the world by Time magazine.

The good Doctor has accused the elected representatives of being very efficient at creating personal wealth, but very bad in increasing national wealth. While the two former PMs, have been accused of making huge fortunes through shady deals during their tenures.

At the same time, the taxes collected from the masses are shamelessly wasted on the PM’s luxurious and palatial bungalows, fleets of cars, army of servants, foreign tours, etc. At the same time, income inequality has increased sharply during the last 30 years, despite tall claims of poverty reduction from official quarters.

The single most important factor for increased income and wealth inequalities is the regressive tax system. Taxes on the poor since 1991, have increased to 30%, while the rich are paying no tax on their colossal income and wealth.

The rich-poor divide between the haves and the have nots has been increasing at an alarming rate in the country, which are backed up by studies conducted by the World Bank and the Centre for Research on Poverty and Income Distribution (CRPID).

According to latest figures compiled by the WB, Pakistan ranks most exposed to poverty risks among 43 countries, with the poverty rate jumping from 23.9% to 37.5% in three years, which the World Bank describes as devastating.

The studies confirm that the great divide in today's Pakistan relates to income and wealth disparities between the rich and the poor and that the entire wealth of the nation is confined to a few families.

While the burden of taxes, 70%, in the form of indirect taxes, is  collected from the less privileged classes, while the rich are not ready to share a very negligible portion of their colossal wealth with the have-nots.

The country is facing economic disparities, undernourishment, scarcity of food, power shortages and lack of essential services and if the divide between the rich and the poor is not reduced through immediate curative measures, this Land of the Pak and the Pure may face a bloody civil war.

Dr. TQ states that he wants to change this situation through a “Peaceful revolution in the country and implement Article 38 in letter and spirit, to establish a government that is for the people and by the people.

Sadly, all past, self-elected leaders have promised us the same, including ZAB, but unfortunately things have remained the same for the ‘have nots’. While, at the same time, Dr. TQ expects the citizens to join his crusade, based on the teachings of the Quran, forgetting that most of the established religious parties have lost their appeal with the voters.   

So, will 2014 be the year of Dr. TQ and will we see the change that the good Doctor promises, or will 2014 be the same as the past year, only time will tell.

While the final episode of Gen. Musharraf’s saga, has been delayed, as the iron fisted commando suddenly got cold feet and developed a heart problem. Instead of presenting himself in front of the court, his cavalcade did a brisk U-turn and headed for the Army Hospital in Rawalpindi, where the General was admitted for examination.

How long can the former president delay his final Day of Judgment, is not clear, but if the Rule of Law is to be established in this lawless country, then the Hon. Court will have to decide, on merits of the case, as to what action should be taken against the former dictator who abrogated the constitution, irrespective of the consequences.        

n Email: trust@helplinetrust.org