DECEMBER 23 was hammered in the minds of the people through different ways: posters, hoardings, electronic and print media. In short, his address on Dec 23 was publicised in every conceivable manner.
It had a unique slogan: ‘Siasat nahin, riasat bachao’. A couple of interviews on TV also gave glimpses of what he was going to talk in the public address at Iqbal Park under Minar-i-Pakistan. His publicity campaign was so vigorous that everyone noticed the huge expenditure on it and thought of its possible source.
On the D-Day one could see scores of cars, vans, buses, trucks and trolleys making a beeline towards the sprawling lawns of the Iqbal Park where a huge stage was set with a bulletproof rostrum.
In fact, some groups had arrived a night earlier and spent the ice-cold night in the arena. The entire area of the Iqbal Park was filled to its capacity by the people who came from all over the country and one could see a human sea all around.
His address was well-prepared and he was very eloquent in the delivery. He has a great following in his own sect of religion and he has enough practice in public speaking.
He talked nothing knew which was not known to intelligentsia. He talked of various clauses of the Constitution which are not being implemented either by the government or by the Election Commission.
He talked of corruption by the rulers which is already known to the public through media. He talked of basic needs of the common man which are not being provided by the government. All these things have been election-winning points by the potential candidates of the opposition parties in their election campaigns.
Now the most important point of his address is his deadline given to the rulers, i.e., Jan 10, failing which he would muster the support of four million people to reach Islamabad.
He said that gathering would be his parliament of people. But he did not give his plans what he would do with that parliament. Is he thinking of a replay of Imam Khomeini who returned from France after a long absence and was able to remove Emperor Reza Shah Pehlavi and brought a great revolution in his country?
The only difference is that Imam Khomeini was respected by all sects of Iran, while Dr Tahirul Qadri is a controversial religious leader. There is a video where his followers are bowing before him and kissing his feet and hands which is not allowed in Islam. It is considered ‘shirk’.
Anyway, what he talked in his address was well-received by the people and the intelligentsia equally. We also wish that the government mends its ways and ensures good governance by Jan 10 and the ECP takes cognisance of his points to avoid any possible law and order situation which is already at its lowest ebb.
M. AZHAR KHWAJA Lahore