The million-man march that Tahir Ul Qadri is leading to Islamabad has gained strength in numbers and has undoubtedly clouded the political future of Pakistan. Coupled with the Supreme Court directives to arrest the Prime Minister, what really is the agenda of Qadri, who some tout as Pakistan’s Anna Hazare?
“His (Tahir Ul Qadri) agenda is very clear, ” said M K Bhadrakumar, ex-envoy to Pakistan, on a late night discussion with Rajdeep Sardesai on CNN-IBN. He said, ” For him elections are not a priority. This crisis (the one that he has been spearheading) will derail the kind of dialogue between PPP (Pakistan People’s Party) and Nawaz Sharif’s party.”
Commentators agreed that there are a lot of questions that remain to be answered about Qadri – one of which is his proximity to the army. And the second, was the huge amount of financial resources committed to him. Bhadrakumar said, “He was praising only two institutions: judiciary and the army. It could be a soft coup.”
Siddharth Varadarajan, editor of The Hindu agreed with Bhadrakumar. He said, “Its astonishing that a person who stresses on the importance of democracy praises the army. Especially in Pakistan where there are no two ways about it.”
Did Qadri want a situation of anarchy to derail the political process in Pakistan given that the elections are going to be held in March this year?
“It’s not anarchy. It’s a carefully choreographed when elections are held the situation will be so vitiated and then if they want to cut down the military to size, then they will be silenced.”
He is seen as being close to the army and some experts also go to the extent of saying that he is being propped up by the army. “He can’t mobilise so many people if he does not have covert support (of the army) given the kind of security blanket in Islamabad, ” said Varadarajan.