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Long march call versus election

January 10, 2013

WHEN it seems that for the first time in the history of Pakistan an elected democratic government is about to complete its five-year term and the country is moving towards the next general election, all of a sudden Allama Tahirul Qadri appears on the scene with a number of plans : (a) to topple the government by staging a long march, (b) to form an interim government, (c) to have electoral reforms before the general election.

Athough one agrees with his ideas, one totally disagrees with the procedure of implementation which he has given. There are a few questions which need to be answered: Why did it take the Allama five years to decide on the long march as the government is being run the same way since day one?

In what capacity is the Allama calling this march when he has no stake in assemblies-- he has no constituency nor has he any seat-- when all political parties are on same page of holding the general election on time? Everything is being done so far with a sense of right and wrong: the best example is the appointment of the chief election commissioner. If after that anybody has any objection, he can always go to court. With such a vigilant court, this demand of the long march seems totally unjustified as it can create chaos and can lead to derailment of the electoral process.

Instead of spending money on advertising the long march, this money should be spent on educating the people of Pakistan and let them decide through the ballot what is good for them and what is not. If anybody thinks he can lead Pakistan in a better way he is more than welcome to come through the electoral process.


Extraneous forces at work? TWO loyal subjects of Queen Elizabeth II — Tahirul Qadri and Altaf Hussain-- have undertaken it upon themselves to teach 190 million Pakistanis how to govern their country. I am very sceptical, about Tahirul Qadri’s sudden qualms of conscience, about correcting Pakistan’s electoral system, on the eve of elections, after living in Canada, for a few years in plush semi-retirement. There seem to be some extraneous forces providing a nudge. Altaf Hussain has decided to support Qadri’s long march against a government of which the MQM has been a part of for the last five years, even holding ministerial berths in the government. This is perhaps unique to the history of collective responsibility, a sine qua non of a cabinet form of government, in a parliamentary system.

The MQM, in my opinion, can still take a U-turn and leave the good doctor in a lurch before Jan 14.

Another ally of the government, the PML-Q, led by deputy prime minister Pervaiz Elahi, is also not much behind, in its hypocritical politics. Short of pledging their support for the march, a PML-Q delegation called upon Tahirul Qadri and congratulated him, according to press reports. I wonder what warranted these congratulations.