The story began in the first week of June when the Chaudhries of Gujrat met with Maulana Tahir ul Qadri (TuQ), the self proclaimed Sheikh-ul-Islam (although his title is disputed by some Al-Azhar scholars), patron-in-chief of Idara-e-Minhaj-ul-Quran and chief of his political party Pakistan Awami Tehrik (PAT) in London. The outcome?

On June 10, he addressed a press conference at Lahore via video link from his home in Canada and announced that he would come back to lead ‘people’s revolution’. Having realized that they could not afford to get the taste of the revolution Zardari government was fortunate enough to get in 2013, the government got unnerved and thus occurred the bloody police violence of June 17. Eight people perished in Model Town, a posh neighborhood of Lahore, while four others succumbed to injuries later.

Although Shahbaz Sharif’s government was caught pants down in a Gullu Butt moment while trying to concoct the purported ‘damage to property by PAT followers’, nothing serious was seen happening to nab the culprits even after the unfortunate loss of precious human life. Getting resignations from a Minister and a key official would not suffice in a civilized country. In fact, the resignations are being flaunted to get points for higher moral ground.

Apart from the government’s suicide mission, there is something curious about the latest call for revolution from the Maulana. Never revealing what he meant by the ‘people’s revolution’ he said in his video-linked presser, ‘I am returning to Pakistan on June 23 for the sake of the 200 million Pakistanis, and risking my life.’

While explaining the purpose of his visit, he said, ‘Revolution is the only way out of the problems facing the country.’ What is the revolution about? His explanation was, ‘ The revolution will end monopoly of a few families on power, include one million people in decision-making, devolve powers to the grass-roots and enforce the Constitution of Pakistan in its true spirit.’ Well!

For this rather heavy cause, his method was leading a massive rally on Grand Trunk Road followed by a speech at Gujrat and then speaking to a rally at Lahore. Except his populist slogans, no one knew his specific demands. Very similar to what had happened in 2013 when one didn’t know his purpose of making his followers go through the ordeal of facing harsh weather conditions while he rested in a warm five-star container. His speeches, full of verbosity as ever, demanded that the government resign. He refused to leave Jinnah Avenue, Islamabad, unless he saw an end to the ‘undemocratic, oppressive, corrupt and incompetent government.’ He returned however, without any of this when the government-led delegation ‘negotiated’ with him.

The history of this controversial cleric is quite interesting. He came to be elected as member ofParliament in 1989, he sat on the opposition benches through 1993. In 2002, he was elected member of the National Assembly but resigned in 2004 when he accused the parliament of being ‘corrupt, unconstitutional’ etc. He enjoys good repute with the country’s persecuted Shia community because of his supposed pro-Shia tilt. In the West he got noticed after his 600-page fatwa against Islamic terrorism. But in 2009, Karen Hækkerup, the Danish Minister for Integration and Social Affairs, pulled back from a conference when she discovered Qadri was also attending. Explaining her move, Hækkerup said she was ‘very angry at being connected with something that is so contrary to my views’. She was alluding to Qadri’s double talk on his role in getting Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy laws passed during military dictator Zia ul Haq’s regime.

With this controversial background, here comes Qadri once again to pursue what he now calls ‘green revolution.’ I called many informed journalists throughout my Monday just to know if anyone knows what the scholarly Maulana means by this. No one was able to tell me with certainty whether this green revolution meant an Islamic one or an environmentally friendly one.

Amidst this confusion, Qadrism thrives. Because of the utter nonsense that the government resorted to, the Maulana got unprecedented airtime on the media and the sympathies of common Pakistanis whose agonies and mundane frustrations, resonated well with what Qadri was saying. The ruling elite is corrupt and oppressive; all of us believe this to be true. The life of a commoner is messed up more than the working of this government; all of us know. Democracy in a country where elections are rigged is more than a farce; everyone can swear upon this much.

It is very difficult for a common citizen to fathom what is so wrong with what the Maulana was saying. Nor is it quite understandable to a lot of them why ‘peaceful’ protesters were fired upon or why a revolutionary was not allowed to land in Islamabad who had to come out of the comforts of his business class seat of the Emirates flight, hours after it was made to land at Lahore.

Those of us who are convinced that the oligarchy that calls itself our democratic government needs to pack the bags, are pinning our hopes on Maulana’s revolution. We are unable to see through the ambiguity of his “revolution.” We are not hearing how innocent seekers of this revolution were repeatedly incited to defy state writ when Maulana said, ‘If police will stop us... PAT workers don’t wear bangles either.’ Apart from sickening misogyny, it was anti-state to say the least.

One however wonders, where this strong urge of revolution has been before and after last year’s elections. Why does this urge keep erupting periodically like fits of rage? Who pulls the strings remotely?

If it is being induced by familiar hands in our beloved establishment, bad planning gentlemen. You made a smart move by not intervening when the Maulana was calling you from the plane at Lahore, but resorting to this in the first place, while our jawans are fighting in the North West, is not only extremely selfish, it is criminal and negligent of the lives of not only our soldiers but also the innocent citizens who are being used as fodder by you and your pawn – the revolution.

The recently resurrected Chaudhries have delivered their part. So has the Maulana to some extent. Now kindly let an already paralyzed government work for IDPs pouring out of North Waziristan. And relieve the media of this circus so they can do something useful during this time of war.

 The writer is an Islamabad based defender of human rights and works on democratic governance.

marvi@marvisirmed.com

@marvisirmed