People will not return empty handed on December 23: Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri

Mainstream Pakistani electronic media continues to interview Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri ahead of his historic arrival in Pakistan on December 23. The latest of a series of interviews of Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri was conducted by Saifan Khan of TV News One at 10 p.m. on December 10, 2012.

Talking to the anchorperson, Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri said that everyone was raising slogans of change and revolution to turn things around in the country but there was a discernible difference between making a claim and translating your slogan into concrete reality.

He said that if you were part of parliament and got voted into power through current electoral system, it meant that the system was perfect and did not need any change. He said that almost all political parties were part of the system and its direct beneficiaries. Hence, they did not have any right to claim that they wanted to change the system. He said that such slogans were designed to fool the people.

Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri said that he founded Pakistan Awami Tehreek in 1989 in a big public gathering at Mochi Gate Lahore. He said that he made it clear in his address that PAT would take part in one or two elections and if the experiment failed, we would not continue with the electoral process. He said that consequently, PAT took part in elections of 1990 and 2002. He said that he got elected to National Assembly in 2002 but none of candidates of his party could make it to the assemblies.

Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri said that he did not give party tickets to the winning horses, feudal lords, and corrupt people. He said that his fault was that he awarded party tickets to PhD scholars, journalists, doctors, lawyers and intellectuals. He said that electoral system threw his party out and caused its defeat. He said that as long as this electoral system stayed intact, it was impossible to think of change leave alone make it happen. He said that hundred of elections held under the present system would fail to bring about any change whatsoever.

Replying to a question, Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri said that the public gathering at Minar-e-Pakistan would be a representative gathering of 180 million people and would not be a show of a single party. He said that the people would not have witnessed such a big and peaceful gathering in the entire history of the country. He said that the public gathering would truly be national in character, which would be attended by workers, farmers, the poor, shopkeepers, labourers and representatives of all walks of life. He said that he would not allow people to return empty handed. He added that he would give them a ray of hope and optimism for a bright future. He said that no party would be criticized on that day. “We would weave disparate people into a one unified national whole and thus save this country from dangers through national unity,” he added.

Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri said that the expenditure being incurred on advertisement campaign regarding his arrival was borne by the people themselves. No trader or a businessman was involved in spending his money on advertisement. He said that all segments of society were taking part in this campaign. He said that these were very people who sold their houses, their jewelry, and their belongings to book buses to transport them to Minar-e-Pakistan on December 23. They were of the view that if their contribution could be instrumental in changing the destiny of the nation, these sacrifices were worth it.

Answering a question about democracy, Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri said that we did invoke democracy in the country but confined ourselves to observance of its form and ritual instead of imbibing its spirit and essence. He said that if the western world boasted of developed democracies, they took long to reach this stage and every segment of society contributed to it. He said that we did nothing to provide enabling environment for the nurturing of democracy in the country. He said that our democratic system was alienated from people, which was designed to protect the interests of a select few at the cost of millions of people who were real stakeholders.

Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri made it manifestly clear that he was neither a representative of any western government nor was he bringing any western democratic model with him. His endeavour was that the democratic values should be promoted in line with Pakistan’s political, cultural, civilizational, social and ideological basis. He said that he wanted to give Pakistan a democratic model in consonance with genius and conditions of people of Pakistan, adding that his model was a combination of western and Islamic democratic values and principles. He said that China nurtured its version of democracy. China stands its ground when western countries criticize her, saying that its democratic system was home-grown and indigenous and others had little right to comment on it.

Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri said that he was coming to Pakistan on the 23rd of December to tell the nation that Pakistan was in need of a democratic model, which suited the genius of the people and was an outcome of local conditions.

Commenting on the completion of tenure by the present government, Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri said that it was not a big achievement as it mattered little. What mattered to people was the performance of the government. He said that the government stayed in power for close to five years, further asking as to who stopped it from eliminating corruption, reducing inflation, unemployment and poverty, improving law and order situation, and legislating to eliminate terrorism from the country? He asked as to who stopped the government to make arrangements for unhindered supply of water, gas, and electricity.

Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri said that it was unfortunate that there were little opportunities for the common man to serve the nation, be he an educated fellow or a skilled worker. He said that due to bleak situation currently prevailing in the country, the country’s skilled workforce were forced to try their luck oversees. He said that this brain drain was the outcome of failure of the present electoral system. He said that if the government was interested, it could stop the brain drain by announcing perks and privileges for this segment of society.

In reply to a question, Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri said that there should be legislation in Parliament that if the elected representatives chosen by the people failed to come up to expectations of the electorate, they should have a right and a reason to throw them out of legislature. He said that those who were part of present system had no right to raise slogan of change to hoodwink people. He said that we wanted to save the state, not politics and it was not correct to compare MQI with other parties.

Concluding the programme, the anchorperson asked that the public meeting on December 23 at Minar-e-Pakistan was being held at the behest of some hidden forces. To this question, Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri replied that he did not know any Establishment. He knew only Pakistan. He said that he was doing everything for the sake of Pakistan and 180 million Pakistanis. He said that he neither had any contact with any Establishment nor was he interested in it. He said that he was coming back to Pakistan for the sake of downtrodden people. He said that he wanted to save the future of the succeeding generation. He said that his programme would bring about improvement in every area of national life.