The International News: Victory at hand: Qadri

Victory at hand: Qadri

Vows to stay put till demands met; says only judiciary, army working properly; present system benefits 1pc ruling elite; says supporters can occupy power corridors within one hour; claims bullets fired at his container

ISLAMABAD: The Tehrik-e-Minhajul Quran (TMQ) leader Dr Tahirul Qadri on Tuesday said he had delivered half of his speech and half of the job was done as the Supreme Court had orderedthe arrest of the prime minister, and on Wednesday (today), God willing, the remaining job would be done.

In a speech tinged with emotion to a cheering crowd of hundreds of thousands, he greeted the audience on hearing the SC order for the arrest of Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf in connection with Rental Power Projects (RPPs) corruption case. He offered two Nawafils (thanksgiving prayers) and advised his supporters to do so on the development. Dr Qadri described it as his victory.

During his speech, Dr Qadri clarified that his sit-in was for the supremacy of the Constitution and to pave the way for true democracy as per the provisions of the Constitution. He added he was in favour of real democracy in Pakistan, and claimed only two institutions — the judiciary and the armed forces — were functioning, and paid tributes to them for their services.

He asserted he would not leave the sit-in venue without the fulfilment of his demands and warned that his supporters could occupy the corridors of power within an hour if he ordered them to do so but insisted they were not there to occupy Islamabad.

Dr Qadri said there should be no more representation without taxation, and noted that his sit-in was to rid the country of thieves, dacoits, tax evaders and corrupt politicians, who always pursued their own interests instead of serving the hapless masses. He added assets of politicians had grown by one thousand percent during the last 25 years while the poor become poorer.

A majority of the audience apparently hailed from the lower middle class and the working class. The youth, both males and females, seemed excited and anticipated a real change within days. Dr Qadri dispelled the impression that he had paid people for the march and sit-in and asked them to swear on oath whether or not he had paid them anything for their trip to Islamabad: there was a loud no and a waving of hands to signal negative from the gathering.

Dr Qadri said the present democratic system was to the benefit of one percent of the ruling elite while 99 percent were living in abject poverty and deprivation. “The deep-rooted political system is based on three Ms i.e. money, mind and manipulations,” he noted. He added that 70 percent of lawmakers did not pay taxes, and noted that in the West those who did not file their tax returns could not be allowed to run for legislatures.

He claimed that one million persons were staging the sit-in at the Jinnah Avenue, whereas in his earlier short speech, he had claimed to have gathered 4-5 million people at the venue.

First half of his speech, made from a bullet-proof white box, was in English, which forced some to lose interest and walk away. This he said was meant for the world community. He repeatedly took oath from the gathering not to leave him. However, he offered that anybody who wanted to leave could do so in the darkness of night. But he vowed not to leave Islamabad until he achieved what he had aimed at.

Dr Qadri warned that if his supporters left him, there would be no possibility of the elimination of terrorism and coercion; there would be no accountability of the corrupt, and there would be no stability, no democracy and no progress and prosperity.

He made repeated references to the tragedy of Karbala and asked his supporters to follow the sublime role played by Hazrat Imam Hussain (SA), his sister Syeda Zainab, Ali Akbar, Ali Asghar and Syeda Sakina to rid the society of exploitation, corruption and the trend of flouting the Constitution and the law.

The TMQ head delivered his address, which he had promised to as his first of the revolution, over two hours behind the schedule time: he had given an ultimatum till 11:00am for the dissolution of the Parliament and the provincial assemblies besides the packing up of the governments in the Centre and the provinces. He did not repeat the contents of his speech that the president, prime minister and ministers and legislators had lost their status after his million march and the sit-in.

He made it clear that he had no enmity with President Asif Ali Zardari, Mian Nawaz Sharif, Asfandyar Wali, MMA or any other political parties but with the tyrannical system, as thieves and dacoits formed the Parliament.

“We want to subjugate the corrupt rulers to the law, we want to subjugate them to the supreme judiciary and the real democracy,” Dr Qadri said, whose tone and tenor was quite different from his defiant mood during his brief speech in the wee hours of Tuesday after reaching the venue at 2:15am at the conclusion of the long march.

He questioned was it democracy what happened to Hazara community. There was a brief clash between some of his supporters and the security forces that saw aerial firing and use of teargas by the later. Dr Qadri showed to the audience bullet shells, which he claimed were fired at his container. He also tried to show marks of the same on the container.

He said the government had appointed the NAB chairman whereas the Ogra chief had fled Pakistan after looting Rs84 billion. He lamented that majority of those disqualified again returned to the assemblies due to corrupt political system. “Our lawmakers are lawbreakers. Lawbreakers must not be lawmakers,” he asserted.

The TMQ leader regretted that the reason why killings were not halting was because those sitting in the government ran networks, protected and hid them, and resort to corrupt practices by terrorising public by the acts of terrorism.

Under Article 40 of the Constitution, he said, it was the responsibility of the State to promote peace within and outside the country and asked the audience, was Pakistan doing so, and there was a chant of no from them.

Again focusing on corrupt political system, he said that it suited the politicians that masses remained illiterate, poor and in need of shelter and food.He recalled that during a meeting in London, the president had once told him that Benazir Bhutto Shaheed’s certificate of TMQ membership was still hanging on one of the walls of Bilawal House.

Dr Qadri said like Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, he wanted to rid Pakistan of exploitation and other social ills. He urged those sitting before television channels at home to come out and join his sit-in. He claimed to have rejected offers of provision of suitable accommodation for his night stay, saying he wanted to stay with his people.He claimed that the size of his sit-in had doubled within few hours and would grow four times by today (Wednesday) and eight times by tomorrow (Thursday).

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