It is no secret that over the past few years, Shaykh ul Islam Dr Muhammad Tahir ul Qadri has become one of the most discussed personalities throughout Pakistan and beyond. Where there is love and adoration, there also stems hatred, confusion and despise. This is in no way a recent development; throughout history those who have raised their voice against oppression have always been met with a violent clash of opposition. Unfortunately, one of the greatest problems of the nation of Pakistan is its inability to identify the true worth of those amongst them, one of such an example being His Eminence, Dr Muhammad Tahir ul Qadri. Praised and revered from the Eastern to the Western World, he still remains a man who is yet to be understood by his own nation. It is therefore no surprise that when Dr Tahir ul Qadri re-emerged in Pakistan’s limelight and brought with him the message of change, of a better Pakistan, the nation became dubious of this unexpected emergence. Who was he? And why now? He came with a heartfelt message which touched the most grief-stricken of hearts, yet where was he before and what had made him change his mind? Had he come on someone’s agenda? The answer to these questions lies in understanding who Dr Tahir ul Qadri was whilst he was still in Pakistan, studying his Masters in the University of Punjab, and had not moved to Canada.
A Revolutionary History
Dr Tahir ul Qadri kept a diary in 1973 in which his revolutionary thought process is detailed; this collation of ideas and a recordings of what was to inevitably become the future, began in 1971 and thus began the initiation of revolution. Dr Qadri spent his days of youth in rigorous study of various figures throughout time who changed the course of history, understanding their revolutionary perspectives and ideologies.
Dr Tahir ul Qadri benefited greatly from the revolutionary thoughts of Dr Burhan Ahmad Farooqi, a lecturer at the University of Punjab; Dr Farooqi’s attitude towards revolution provided Dr Qadri an awareness of the purpose of revolution which stemmed his desire for revolution. He studied Western revolutionaries, such as Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Vladimir Lenin and Mao Tse-Tung, as well Islamic ideological authorities, such as Imam Ghazali, Shah Muhaddith Dehlawi, Mujaddid Al-Fisani and Maulana Ubaidullah Sindhi. The study of Mao Tse-Tsung, the Chairman of China’s Communist Party, was a particular inspiration; he sparked a passion in Dr Qadri which became fiercer as the want for revolution grew. Dr Qadri was stunned by the beliefs of Tse-Tsung, a non-Muslim, who was so clear and precise in his vision, so dedicated and committed to his faith, believing that change and revolution was a definitive achievement whilst we, as Muslims, had fallen prey to doubts and uncertainty. It astonished Dr Qadri that the faith of the authorities of Islam could not begin to rival the certainty of Mao, which was ultimately the reason for which the Muslim world had become hopeless, losing faith in Almighty Allah. A passion of certainty was inspired within Dr Tahir ul Qadri, developing an indestructible confidence in his success. To understand the progression of ideologies in the more modern times, Dr Tahir ul Qadri then studied various figures such as Jamaluddin Afghani, who developed and opportunity for Dr Tahir ul Qadri to begin to think of issues as a steadfast Muslim citizen; Mufti Muhammad Abduhu, Allama Rasheed Raza and Hasan Al-Banna. Moreover, the philosopher Allama Iqbal, provided Dr Tahir ul Qadri with the lesson of love for the Islamic state, further enhancing his passion and dedication for the welfare of Islam.
After having consulted the revolutionary approaches of those before him, Dr Tahir ul Qadri then began an in-depth study of the Qur’an and Sunnah for the sole purpose of revolution. The Qur’an’s message was a guarantee of the victory of truth over evil, proving that there was still hope for a better future for Islam. The teachings of the Holy Prophet (saw) and the Sunnah informed Dr Tahir ul Qadri of the guidance and knowledge which would be necessary to understand the routes to take for a revolutionary pathway.
Having completed this, Dr Tahir ul Qadri was sure that bringing revolution in the Islamic world was his purpose in life, which he would strive to achieve till the very end. Reaffirmed and reassured, he took another oath at the hands of his spiritual guide, Shaykh Tahir Alauddin Al-Qadri Al-Gilani (May Allah be pleased with Him). This was the bay’ah of revolution [Bay’at-e-Inqilab] which took place on Tuesday 26th July in 1972, at Darbar-e-Ghousia in Quetta, and Dr Tahir ul Qadri vowed to struggle for the path of truth. Before the oath took place, Shaykh Tahir ul Alauaddin (ra) advised Dr Tahir ul Qadri with words of guidance in regards to the upcoming struggle; after the vow, Shaykh Tahir Alauddin (ra) offered a heartfelt prayer for Almighty Allah to grant Dr Tahir ul Qadri the success and strength that would be needed in order to make revolution possible. Upon hearing this, Dr Tahir ul Qadri became overwhelmed and kissed the blessed feet of His Guide, knowing that his revolution was now blessed with the prayers of His Shaykh. Dr Tahir ul Qadri was soon to become an unrelenting power, and no force on this earth, other than the will of Almighty Allah, could hinder his victory. These were the favours of Almighty Allah and the blessings bestowed upon him by the Holy Prophet Muhamamd (Saw), which strengthened the theoretical grounds of a revolutionary foundation, and later became the focal point of the Tehreek of Minhaj ul Qur’an.
It is clear that Dr Qadri’s desire for revolution was neither coincidental and nor by chance. The initiation in the early 70’s began to emerge practically in the 90’s, when Minhaj-ul-Qur’an and Pakistan Awami Tehreek were founded. This dream of a Mustfavi Inqilab reflects the wisdom of Dr Tahir ul Qadri and his greater purpose in life; henceforth it would be incredibly naïve to think that it initiated in 2012. It is striking that at the tender age of 20, Dr Tahir ul Qadri had taken on the burden of improving the future of the entire Ummah. Any other young man of 20 would think of his education, his livelihood, his future and family, but Dr Tahir ul Qadri was selflessly engaged in finding a solution to improve the progression of the poor, the miserly, the stricken and the oppressed, which he believed could only occur through Islam. But in order to reinstate Islamic beliefs and values, an outstanding revolution would be needed. Dr Qadri further writes in his diary, that he had now given himself to revolution for the nation of Islam, declaring war against the forces fighting against Islam. He vowed that no worldly power would detract him from achieving this higher purpose and neither would any condition put him astray from his ultimate goal.
The first vow which Dr Tahir ul Qadri took was by holding the Qur’an, and the second was at the hands of his Shaykh; the vows recalled the blessings of Almighty Allah and the guarantee that revolution would surely come. Such a revolution would change the future of the Muslim nation; it would be a revolution whose truth would be vouched for by history. Dr Qadri knew that people would hear him and mock him at first, not believing his words, but that would soon come to change and they would be the ones to stand by his side when revolution came. The mockery of the world would never change the destination of his revolution.
Dr Tahir ul Qadri wrote in his diary that nothing was possible without revolution, a thought shared by all revolutionaries prior to him; it is neither a game and nor does it happen overnight. The life, body and soul must be submitted for revolution and such an immense achievement can never occur without the sacrifice of blood. Dr Qadri wanted that revolution would commence in every aspect of life; that peace and prosperity became the norm of not only Pakistan but the Muslim world; that wealth and hard-work became the asset of each and every person; for loyalty and commitment to become the self-adopted policy of every human being. If this was achieved, the Islamic world would unite and form an Islamic block, or, in his own words, an “Islamic Commonwealth.” Although a magnificent thought, Dr Qadri knew that a political revolution and struggle was needed. Only then could Pakistan be given the platform of the head of all Islamic states and Deen-e-Haq would be revived and restored to the same pride as it had upheld in the past, becoming an exemplary leader for the entire humanity.
Pakistan Awami Tehreek
The next step for Dr Tahir ul Qadri was then to launch his struggle by becoming involved in Pakistan’s politics. Pakistan Awami Tehreek was founded in 1989 and Dr Tahir ul Qadri, the founder and chairman of PAT, participated in national elections in the 1990. He worked as an opposition leader, aiming to improve the social, political, educational and economic situation in Pakistan. In 1992, Dr Qadri produced a conclusive working-plan, which would enable Pakistan to employ an interest-free banking system; this plan covered angles of national and international transactions which would benefit all sectors of Pakistan’s economical society, particularly the industrial and banking professionals. After the general elections in 2002, Dr Qadri was elected as a Member of the National Assembly of his Lahore constituent.
In 2004, Dr Qadri became the first person in the history of Pakistan to resign as an MNA. He expressed his disappointment at the grave travesty which was occurring in the National Assembly and how the Government was doing nothing but fooling the nation. A lengthy 41-paged statement was published in which Dr Qadri explained the reasons for his resignations. The crux of the problem which led to the resignation was the shackled voice in the Government, preventing serious issues that affected national sovereignty and integrity from being discussed on the Assembly floor.
In the resignation, Dr Qadri outlined some of the core issues which had been forbidden from being discussed in the National Assembly, such as:
- The dismissal of the influence Constitution of Pakistan within the National Assembly
- The absence of democracy
- The decrease in the ideal performance of the National Assembly; this failure in delivery was due to the political corruption and blackmailing. The Assembly had begun working on a foreign agenda, and the so-called lawmakers had no will of their own, being guided by external sources instead
- The ignored discussion of terrorism, failing to discuss questions such as who is responsible for it, why terrorism had not been eliminated despite military presence and dictatorship, what was causing its uprise and why were terrorists being allowed to contest in elections despite being blacklisted?
- The sad state of affairs of the institutions of Pakistan, such as the judiciary
- Global issues which were having a direct impact on the welfare of Pakistan, such as Pakistan-America relations, the process of foreign funded terrorism, the manipulation of Pakistan by the USA in its global domination, Israeli aggression and Iraq’s war and our involvement
- Geo-political situations and regional issues
- The development of Pakistan-India relations and the backdoor diplomacy
- Islamabad-Delhi relations, including the Kashmir dispute
- Pakistan-Afghan relationships
- Pakistan’s nuclear programme
Instead of becoming a helpless witness to such blatant crimes, Dr Tahir ul Qadri left the system altogether and launched his struggle outside of the corrupt system. It was impossible to ignore that the cause of such problem was the electoral system, which brought such spineless leaders in power to lead Pakistan; the system was the ultimate enemy of Pakistan and, remaining a part of the corrupt system, would be no less than a sin.
Save the State, Not the Politics
Continuing his battle against the corrupt system, Dr Qadri became the only person who raised the slogan of “save the state, not the politics.” Several ongoing campaigns were raised to increase awareness amongst the masses of their true enemy: the monopolistic system. In 2012, Dr Tahir ul Qadri announced his return to Pakistan, gathering a crowd of 2 million people at Minar-e-Pakistan; Pakistan was starved for the sight of a leader who finally cared for them and not for winning elections. In this speech, Dr Tahir ul Qadri demanded that electoral reforms were needed before the upcoming elections, in order for free and fair elections to occur.
The historic march on 23rd December was then followed by the Long March on 14th January, in which millions from all over Pakistan took part in one the largest, peaceful marches to ever occur in history. The millions who gathered in Islamabad did so to demand a reform in the electoral system, and for a caretaker government to be set up which was neutral and had no stake in the outcomes, whatever they may be. On the 17th January, the Government officials entered D-Square, obliging to the demands of Dr Qadri, and signed the Islamabad Declaration. This was an agreement which was to implement not only electoral reforms under the guidance of a caretaker government, but also a scrutiny of electoral candidates in accordance with Articles 62 and 63. Unfortunately, the Government broke their treaty and made a mockery of every clause in the agreement, humiliating the constitution of Pakistan and tarnishing the very thought of democracy.
Dr Tahir ul Qadri then approached the Supreme Court, presenting his case to the judiciary to ensure free and fair elections were to be carried out in May 2013. However, it became apparent very soon that even the judiciary of Pakistan was a victim of corruption, succumbing to the desires of the elite and the corrupt. The petition was dismissed on unfair, undemocratic and unconstitutional grounds, stating that Dr Qadri was a “Dual National” and could therefore not interfere with the politics of Pakistan, despite the permissibility given to a dual national in the constitution of Pakistan to not only vote, but to challenge the authority of leaders who were not complying with the rules of democracy.
This was the corrupt, monopolistic, elitist system of Pakistan which favoured corruption over democracy, falsehood over truth and would never bring change favourable to the poor and the weak. Thus PAT launched a nationwide Vote 4 None campaign, and several thousands of citizens did not vote, and instead made their mark in history by staying away from the corruption which the rest of the nation had yielded to.
Elections are now over, and the new Government has come into power. What has changed? If anything, the changes seem to be driving Pakistan faster and further into a dark hole of corruption and destruction. Had we heeded the call of our saviour, who has not thought of revolution on a whim, but has thoroughly studied the process and understands what a huge game is being played with Pakistan and the Muslim nation as a whole, we may not have been in the situation we are in today. However, it is perhaps Pakistan’s fortune that Dr Tahir ul Qadri is a man of iron willpower and is not easily swayed. He knows not the word failure and his faith in victory is as firm as it was in 1971. It is for this reason that the call of Dr Qadri’s revolution is still echoing in the hearts of the masses; revolution will come and it will come at the hands of Dr Qadri.
Change cannot occur overnight, that has been proven, but years have now passed, and the Mustafvi Inqilab is reaching its final destination. Now is the time to take action and to stand against the forces of oppression. Now is the time to stand by the call of Dr Qadri, a man of manifest wisdom and a revolutionary leader which history will forever salute.
by Mariya Qadri
Team Operation Pakistan