Generally a long march is a shortcut to bringing change in the government. Now, keeping in mind this view the agenda behind of the chief of Minhaj-ul-Quran International (MQI) is to have ‘electoral reforms’ and a formation of ‘a totally impartial caretaker government’. But what everyone is thinking is what his hidden agenda is? Since December 23 flamboyant Lahore procession, Dr Qadri has reversed many of his statements. He talked about ‘delay of elections’ but after several queries from the media and analyst about whether he wants a delay in elections; he was unable to justify his statement, knowing that everyone including the political parties want timely elections.

In this regard, it is important to highlight that bringing change is not bad but a proper channel should be used that is, through the parliament instead of questioning democracy. Long march should be taken on against dictatorship regimes and not against democratic rule, especially when Pakistan is about to complete its five years of elected government. Even if they manage to reach Islamabad, the long march may not be successful because of several factors; MQM has already chickened out. Secondly, the MQM is too puzzled about Dr Qadri ’s real agenda.

Long march indirectly aims for military intervention by putting an end to the government nevertheless; military would not intervene, if a peaceful protest is carried out. It was also a matter of great concern as to why military establishment was still quiet but Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asim Saleem Bajwa finally denied “the military’s involvement in the re-emergence of Tahir-ul-Qadri and his political move”. The fact says that military establishment has given several clear statements that it is not interested to intervene in any Pakistani political conspiracies.

It is also being questioned whether there is any foreign hand behind this agenda. However, one should not forget the US backing over NRO issue; the same situation can be repeated since international community is already familiar with the two big leading political parties. The US and Britain for meeting their interests do not want PPP and PML-N to come to power again whereas Dr Qadri is more liberal, ‘enlightened moderate scholar’ and Altaf Hussain secular; both are momentous to US (their status of dual-nationality adds to it).

In this context, President Zardari has already given clues stating ‘Egyptian Model’ would not work here. MQM jumped on Dr Qadri bandwagon at the same time pledging the government not playing against the administration. The shift of the MQM has been taken as opportunism but the offer of full support from PML-Q to Dr Qadri further raised suspicions. This extraordinary arrival of Dr Qadri and the joining of hands by the MQM and the PML-Q, might lead to widespread confusions about the involvement of Pakistani establishment behind this unexpected phenomenon.

PML-N stance is crystal clear as they said that country does not want any imported leaders. At present, Imran Khan has not supported the demands of ‘Electoral Reforms’ but as far as elections are concerned, he like everybody else wants to have them on time. Ultimately all the on-going complexities have a very positive outcome where each party may have to lose a little bit but gaining a pure and fair democratic government at the end.

BEENISH ALTAF,

Lahore, January 8.