Pakistan’s politics has taken a dramatic turn at a juncture when general elections are already around the corner. Emergence of Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri has ostensibly caused ripples in the already charged waters of Pakistan politics giving birth to new controversies and conspiracy theories, whether elections will take place on time or not. Tahir-ul-Qadri’s sudden appearance of course is not without purpose.Qadri’s major thrust seems to be on election reforms and holding of upcoming elections under a caretaker set up that is free from all sorts of pressures and which do not take sides with any political party.
While this objective turns out to be a Herculean task but even then he is determined to achieve this goal and that too in a very short span of time. Qadri’s alliance with MQM and PML Q unequivocally suggests that his support base comes from both external and internal factors that are not happy with the performance of the sitting government. These factors want reforms to take root in this country and they had even pushed the sitting government for this. This is an open secret now that the Americans especially are not happy with the way Pakistan’s taxation system works. According to them and for us as well, this system has failed to generate revenues that are needed to run the affairs of the state efficiently. Consequently respective governments have to go to international monetary institutions with begging bowl.
Donor countries too are faced with a difficult situation because funds they provide for public welfare often go down the drain or in the coffers of a handful of officials. So under such circumstances external interference into Pakistan’s internal affairs seems legal however this is yet another debate whether these external factors should interfere in another country’s internal matters or not? The scenario becomes clearer when we see both MQM chief and Tahir ul Qadri happen to be British and Canadian nationals respectively.
While PPP may not have much to lose even if long march call proves successful for PPP has already completed five year term and they are perhaps have an idea they will not come to power again, keeping in view their performance in five years, PML N appears to be in a real fix as it was girding up loins to take charge of the prime minister house. In case of any misadventure as a result of long march and sit-in in front of the parliament, the elections process is likely to be derailed, though Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri has said on more than one occasions that derailment of the system was not his objective. So in that scenario PML N and PTI as well will be the biggest losers.
Dr. Tahir ul Qadri announced on January 1 while addressing a big rally of MQM workers that Islamabad will be made the biggest Tehrir Square however he himself was not sure as to how Islamabad is to be turned into Tehrir Sqaure when Allama sahib does not have popular support. Dr. Qadri, unlike Imran Khan, does not have street power and his party lacks power base especially in Islamabad where the final showdown is likely to take place. How thousands of people, coming from far off areas, will be able to survive in the freezing temperatures that too without local support?
Regarding military’s support to Dr. Qadri’s long march, it is still not clear whether they have army’s support or not, but one thing is for sure military would not mind if electoral reforms are put in place before the elections because sagging economy of the country has always been a source of concern for the military establishment as well.
Summing up, people of Pakistan want a change. They want somebody who could deliver and rid the country of particularly of economics problems. Therefore they are always ready to side with those who come up with slogan of reformation and change. But unfortunately they have still not been able to find a right person. The question is will they be able to find one now??