“It’s alive”, commented a social media activist on Tahirul Qadri’s acronym ‘TuQ’ that acquired a life of its own during the five-day long march-sit-in.

According to Nilofer Qazi, a policy analyst based in Islamabad, the acronym was originally coined by a Radio Jockey (RJ), which went viral on social media during the march.

It was derived from a biscuit commercial ‘halqa phulqa (light-fluffy) TUC’, said Ms Qazi.

But there was nothing light and fluffy about the threat that Tahirul Qadri delivered on January 17 giving the government hour and a half to negotiate or else…

The ultimatum ratcheted tensions in the city, forcing a 16-year-old to SMS his school friends to not worry and to “TuQ it easy”.

Later, according to a political analyst, what TuQ everyone by surprise was how easily Mr Qadri agreed to negotiate with the politicians.

Media were quick to make fun because it diametrically opposed the good and bad guy historical narrative that Qadri had woven into his speeches, in which politicians were incorrigibly bad.

A city-based educationist, however, offered a different TuQ on the classic good and bad guy stories prevalent in society.

She said stories are the foundation of any society but they need to be reframed at times, especially in Pakistan, because it’s a pluralistic society and is constantly changing.She gave the example of how in the West, at an academic level, old stories were being reframed to meet modern-day requirements, giving the example of a children’s story: red riding hood and the big bad wolf.

In the reframed version the big bad wolf diversifies his diet – eats berries – and loses weight by running after rabbits, instead of teenage girls and emerges as a grandfatherly figure.

Lots of residents during the march were apprehensive and feared that Lal Masjid –quintessentially an Islamabad based story – might be replayed on the streets of Islamabad. Many residents now believe that the government by not conducting an operation just might have reframed the old narrative as it ended peacefully.

On the other hand, a retired bureaucrat based in the city from the onset of the march had given a big “TuQ off” to chances of an operation.

“Qadri might have courted arrest for face-saving but he would not have done anything to invite the wrath of the State on women and children,” the bureaucrat had predicted. The entire prediction was evinced from seeing Qadri sit in a luxury container, while his followers roughed it out in a tent.

“If Qadri had slept in a tent and eaten boiled chickpeas with his followers, then one could have imagined him to be like one of those cult leaders in the West, who end up leading their followers to their death,” said the bureaucrat, adding, “But the luxury container meant that he was into the good life…life in general.”

So if one TuQs at the long march in a positive light then the message of the “Good life…life” has gone out to extremist groups, who might be planning to head towards Islamabad next.

At least this is what Ayesha Ali, a city-based event manager, who went out everyday to distribute food among women and children participants, thinks.

She said that the message gone out to extremist groups simply reads: “If you want to win the hearts and minds of Islamabad residents through a protest, then make sure to TuQ-in women participants, ensure its peaceful, speak up for minority rights, condemn extremism and most of all support democracy.”

“And what a TuQ-TuQA-TuQ the whole exercise has been for democracy,” said a city-based politician, adding “Qadri came in abusing politicians but went out praising them.”

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