Dr. Allama Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri does not wear a red cap, nor does he don a green turban, however, his aspirations are equally, if not more, ridiculous. Known for his obsession for a self-derived definition of ‘Revolution’, the great Allama has often portrayed himself as the messiah to people of this nation. The Allama believes that it is high time to create a third political entity, a conglomerate of truly democratic leaders, the grand alliance, who will bring this country out of the dank it is supposedly fated to by its current leadership. For this noble cause he has tried to woo the PTI stalwarts who, even if they shy away from admitting it, harp on to the same tune as him. The Chaudrys from Gujrat, who were with him from the start, have tried hard to emphasize their political strength to the Allama but it has been in vain. The ever-voluble Sheikh Rasheed has also joined ranks with them in this foolhardy cause but the Allama is still reluctant to take the leap. The Allama is probably not going to get any support from his brethren of faith, the political religious right, who refuse to acknowledge his credentials as a religious leader, after all the latter’s followers tend to indulge in taboos; they dance and celebrate. Has then, Dr. Allama Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri bitten off more than he can chew? Would he soon disappear into oblivion, a reenactment of his previous attempt?

The Allama is a man with no plan, at least none that he has shared with those who await his decisions. He promises a date, an Armageddon per se, when the revolution will take place. He is a man who failed to gain sympathy and support from the hoi poloi even after the unacceptable response of the Punjab government on 17th June 2014 to the reaction of his party workers on forced clearings of barricades in front of his house in Lahore. Rana Sanullah was removed from his post and Gullu Butt was apprehended, but the Allama could never really tip the political equation in his favor. He will always be an afterthought.

This brings me to the question: Should he be heard? How was it that this Allama in question was able to mesmerise millions of Pakistanis at home and thousands more who sat down onto the hard roads of D-chowk, in the cold days and nights of mid-January of 2013? Arguably there were hidden players involved and the hand in the glove could have belonged to some of the most powerful institutions in this country but what makes the common man, who can easily switch the channel, listen to what the great Allama has to say? Could this be attributed to his charisma alone? Hardly. Even the great Khan has lost his audience due to his bizarre politics. There is more than charisma that has people hear out revolutionaries and the government needs to ponder over this. The man has been able to bluntly point out the lies and delusions that we have come to accept as part of our current realities. Such revolutionary men, misguided though they may be, at times shine light onto the flaws of the system which are not innate but are repercussions of the choices we have decided to make. Although their solutions are hardly ever worth taking seriously, the factors that invite such revolutionaries in the first place, must not be ignored.

These individuals bent upon the demise of the government in power, provide a strong and rather drastic system of checks and balances. Of course there is merit to the argument that the opposition in the National Assembly is supposed to do the same job. However, in a still infantile adaptation of democracy such as the one in Pakistan, transparency in such efforts remains questionable. Moreover, the common man who has been deliberately deprived of his right to being educated and aware, cannot be expected to truly understand and appreciate the slow pace of the system’s nurturing. Neither can a country which has spent its life fantasying the brilliance of a political system which was a foundation of the movement which gave birth to it in the first place.

The mistakes of this government are many. Too many promises have been broken and the apologies hold no value now. Selfish biases and personal gains in decision making and planning cannot be tolerated anymore for the common man has been too forgiving for his own good. A culture that has further cemented the segmentation of society, religiously, economically and socially, has deprived the common man of his sleep. The democracy the guardians insist on protecting, demands complete transparency and honesty to the job. It demands that the common man truly feels the strength of his vote. Leaders who take oath of the same principles need to uphold their promises. Those who do would not be afraid of revolutionaries who spring out to create mischief, those who don’t are bound to become defensive, afraid of a community which is not unaware anymore.

 The writer is working as a health economist in a think-tank based  in Islamabad.