Ever since our latest ‘Prince Charming’ suddenly descended upon Pakistan from the ‘holy’ land of Canada, with his ‘holistic’ vision, the electronic, print and social media has been abuzz, giving their differing views on his ‘innocent’ aspirations!
I don’t want to discuss his extremely controversial past but it surely must be taken into consideration when judging his intentions! He has made himself ever so controversial by the day, if not by the minute!
What he suddenly has done is to divide the nation into supporters and non-supporters. Some are not supporting him but supporting his cause/his mission. People from all fields of life are confused as to whether to support him/his mission or not.
Social media on twitter and facebook are very much divided where famous personalities on twitter and facebook supporting or opposing the cleric. Rightist media stalwarts like Mr. Ansar Abbasi and Mr. Talat Hussain have opposed the march, the former labeling him a foreign agent, but another great right-wing journalist Mr. Orya Maqbool Jan has supported the campaign. Most left-winged media personnel including Hamid Mir, Naseem Zahra, Sana Bucha etc have opposed the cleric.
Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, inventor of the ‘Islamic Bomb’, is surprisingly supporting the self-proclaimed Qaid. Other notable supporters include the famous security analyst,
Mr. Zaid Hamid.
Even right-winged religious parties like Jamaati-Islami which often has conducted relatively successful long marches in the past under the great leadership of the late ex-Emir Mr. Qazi Hussain Ahmad, are not supporting Qadri’s movement. However notable political supporter includes Awami Muslim league under leadership of Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad (although he also seems to have pulled out). PTI under Imran Khan have laid down their similar demands and are still deliberating over practically supporting him. Muslim League (N) seems to be observing the situation very carefully and have expressed oppression to the march from the beginning.
The fishiest behaviors have been shown by the parties in government except for ANP that has been openly against the ‘Islamic Scholar’ since the start. MQM first was in full support of Mr. Qadri but then backed out practically but is still claiming moral support. Their support was the first reason for people to raise their eye-brows and questioning the vision of Qadri Sahib. Muslim League Q is playing an opportunistic, friendly negotiating game, between the government and Mr. Qadri.
The PPP has expressed verbal opposition in the form of the interior minister Mr. Rahman Malik and through talk-shows but the point to note, which has been deliberately or otherwise, been overlooked by the media, is the giving of a safe passage to thousands of marcher into the heart of Islamabad, setting a new precedent in the political history of Pakistan; such a safe passage was recently denied in the long march of Nawaz Sharif by accepting his demands of restoring the judges and previously violently oppressed in the long marches conducted by Jamaati Islami.
And it seems more and more obvious that PPP is suspiciously playing a wait and see game. A dangerous trend has been set. With Mr. Qadri’s demands changing day by day and even hour by hour and the details of his future plans uncertain, it’s an incredibly amazing risk being taken by the government vis-à-vis the administration of Islamabad.
An historian may see this as a great déjà vu: Muslim factions have historically been face to face many times before and it has often seen that a ‘third force’ takes advantage of the situation by flaming the situation by varying means, resulting in a disastrous clash between the Muslim factions. Such a scenario, God Forbid, in the heart of Islamabad could lead to enormous causalities and a resulting anarchy that would probably become unpreventable. To propound the seriousness of the situation, there are women and children among the participants. There are little doubts about the sincerity of these and many other participants of the sit-in, but there may be cats among the pigeons waiting for the appropriate signals.
And maybe it is planned like this by the cleric and his financial backers (millions of dollars spent on the long march, its maintenance as well as the TV and press advertising-which by the way could have been spent in a many multi-million projects): certainly not possible by a single person, forget a single party, without foreign or external aid. With the situation in Karachi, Baluchistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa already in turmoil, this scary scenario may prove the right ingredient for chaos and anarchy throughout the country with the help of all national and international Anti-Pakistani forces. This could ultimately lead to yet another Martial law, which many proclaim is the plan B or plan C of the long march. And fact of the matter is, it is shaping out to be somewhat like a establishment and anti-establishment divide.
Whatever happens, we all hope and pray the fiasco ends very soon, responsible people come to their senses and everything comes back to normal even though ‘normality’ has hardly existed in the dictionary of the most unpredictable country of the world.