The International News: Time to unfold Tahirul Qadri's gains from sit-in

Mumtaz Alvi
Friday, January 18, 2013
From Print Edition

ISLAMABAD: Tehrik-i-Minhajul Quran (TMQ) chief Dr Muhammad Tahirul Qadri staged an unprecedented sit-in on the Jinnah Avenue.

Majority of those who attended the march belonged to poor and middle classes; they came here in hope of a better life through a real change. How much their leader achieved for them is to be seen in the coming weeks and months, and may be years.

Though the sit-in had many dimensions and aspects, the most significant was the active participation of housewives and school, college and university (female) students. They braved an alien setting in the bone-chilling weather. All the participants were not TMQ members — a reasonable number of them joined the sit-in after listening to Dr Qadri’s speeches and the resolve of his supporters on TV channels and reading newspapers.

This correspondent met around 60 men, women and students, who were from Islamabad and had never been the part of the TMQ or any other political party.

The majority represented those facing financial hardships; their miseries have compounded in the recent years and they blame the PPP-led government for this sorry state of affairs. Needless to say, this compelled them, including women and young students, to pour into the federal capital in thousands and paralyse the corridors of power through their completely peaceful protest.

The issues Dr Qadri focused on during his speeches here and on December 23 at Minar-e-Pakistan are of common nature but bite the masses hard. Almost all these will be the part of every political party’s election manifesto to woo voters such as provision of commodities and availability of gas and electricity, etc. The timing of this show may be debated, but the issues he came up with are genuine and can motivate the teeming millions to march on Islamabad anytime.

“We are confident that our Quaid forced these rulers to accept his legitimate demands, which will go a long away towards lessening the deep-rooted problems people like us face and have been facing for decades,” said Qazi Muhammad Anwar, who headed a procession of 40 Hiace vans from Chakwal to be part of the march and the sit-in.

Asked how he and those who came along with him felt when Dr Qadri announced the government’s readiness for talks with him, he said they were confident that their Quaid would emerge as the winner.

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