I want entire nation to rise for change: Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri’s interview with ARY News

Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul- Qadri gave an exclusive interview in ARY News’ popular programme ‘Khara Sach’ hosted by renowned anchor Mubasher Lucman a few days ago. Keeping the importance of subjects in view, the English version of the interview is being produced here for the readers.

Mubasher Lucman

We have Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri with us in the programme today. I was showing you a few clips of Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri in which he had talked about this system, the Election Commission, and Articles 62, 63 and 218. He had also said that those who would be repenting later on should take some preemptive step now. He had also predicted that programme ‘Khara Sach’ would be taken off air and the attempts would be made from time to time to shut down all similar programmes because no one wanted to bear criticism and listen to truth.

I am asking this straight away without mincing my words. Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri, whatever you had said at D-Chowk in Islamabad has proven to be true both in the run up to the and after the elections. What are the particular reasons which convinced you that all that you said was bound to happen? Today, we can witness without any exaggeration that it has become next to impossible for a common man to live a respectable life with his family. Rather he cannot even think of pulling along in his meager resources. What is future of Pakistan and on what basis did you make these predictions?

Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri

Mubasher Lucman sahib, if all people in the media start showering praises and there is none left to call evil an evil and there are no people who can differentiate between light and darkness, the rulers think that it is good for them. It is not less than lack of wisdom. This ‘all-being-okay’ attitude has caused many a shipwreck and brought about decline of many rulers who were once master of all they surveyed. Indeed, the power comes from one’s capacity to see reality and the ability to listen attentively. It makes you realize your shortcomings, and weaknesses. You can only get to know about your shortcomings if someone tells you about it and you are ready to listen to him. People do show you the picture but it depends upon you whether you are ready to see it or not. If you are willing to see the reality, only then you can know where you are making mistakes and what you can do to put things back on track.

There is a culture of reform and accountability. It applies as much to individuals as to the nations. It is important for this culture to grow that balance is maintained and those pointing out shortcomings and weaknesses are not muzzled. Such criticism is constructive in nature and in the very interest of the powers that be if they are interested in the well-being of the state and the people. As for your question as to the basis of my conviction and what I stated categorically, it was no prediction as such. It was what was and is still written all over on the wall.

You see, I am a student. I have spent more than 50 years of my life as a student and learner. Anyone who is a student of law, sociology, democracy, economics and politics and who has studied the underlying principles responsible for rise and fall of societies and how systems get strengthened and undermined can easily discern this fact that change is inevitable. Nothing is static in the universe. Our ruling elite and our politicians have thrown spanners in the works of change since the country came into being. The part of the world we live in today underwent the process of change only once when the British India was halved into two sovereign states and Pakistan emerged on the map of the world under the dynamic leadership of the Quaid-e-Azam.

Starting from that fateful day onwards, the people who have held the reins of power in their hands have ensured that the status quo stays intact and no change comes about. They have not done anything else except employing all tricks in the book including the use of coercion and violence to block the way of change. They have branded the ritual of elections as democracy. All the big land lords whose forefathers supported the British and consequently shared spoils of power have continued to retain influence in their respective rural constituencies. Likewise, the industrialists who rose to power through tax frauds, corruption and oppression have empowered themselves through plunder of national resources.

Today, these influential people have the top district administration officials like Deputy Commissioner and Superintendent of Police in their pockets. They have their firm grip on all levers of powers as those responsible to administer choose to dance to the tunes of their masters. These influential people get district bureaucrats promoted, transferred and rewarded for playing the ball with them. They hold parties for them to appease them. Both of them are protector of one another.

It is an exclusive group of the elite who thrive on state resources and political patronage. Normal rich people and middle class are out of this club and process. The privileged group retains its monopoly on the urban and rural areas respectively. Whenever elections are held, the same breed of people gets elected to assemblies with a negligible difference. The same is true in case of electoral outcome of Elections 2013.

I had said that the same families would be returned and what I said proved true. Thus those who sought to bring about change were left high and dry to rue the day after the conclusion of the elections. The people did not listen to me then considering that change was at hand. Look what has happened. Remember there is an accepted principle of science and physics. If you continue to act in one particular manner and expect the result to be different, then be ready to be proven wrong. Such an act repeated over and over will end up with the similar result.

Mubasher Lucman

Dr sahib, since you spoke in a great detail, I did not want to interrupt you. There were many questions that I wanted to ask but you answered them in your single reply. Technically speaking, I have been left with two questions to ask you.

Before I come to this, I want to tell my viewers that Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri who said that he is a student for last 50 years is the person who has authored more than 1000 books and I am talking of major books here. He is the one who has authored about 24000 research papers. He is the one who has addressed thousands of conferences the world over. Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri is the person on whose advice the American universities have revised their syllabi. We should certainly listen to him very carefully.

In reply to a question, Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri said that MQI is a worldwide organization with its branches located across continents. There is no other organization of the stature and volume as is enjoyed by MQI throughout the world. Pakistan Awami Tehreek and others are its offshoots and branches which are operating in their respective domains.

Mubasher Lucman

Dr sahib, there are no two opinions on what could have been the outcome of the historic sit-in, had Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and its head Imran Khan heeded your call and joined it. The promises that the PPP leadership and other top politicians made with you and the marchers were forgotten. So much so that children like Bilawal are saying that they resolved the ‘impasse’ in Islamabad through politics. If backtracking is politics then I do not know it but the fact remains that they turned their back on the pledge they made with the people who braved extremely harsh weather and rains. Had Imran Khan joined the sit-in, it would have strengthened the movement for change and created space for change in the system. Had Imran Khan chosen to be part of sit-in, it would have benefited him politically, for you had decided that neither you personally, nor any member of your family would contest the elections in any manner. What could be the plausible reasons which made Imran Khan waver and dilly-dally and that he did not join the Long march in Islamabad as a result?

Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri

I agree to the first part of the analysis that you have done. Certainly Imran Khan and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf would have been the major beneficiary of the long march and sit-in. I had already made my intentions very clear that I was not interested in electoral politics. But as to the factors and forces that stopped him from joining the sit-in, I do not consider it morally appropriate to comment on it. He can himself answer this question. I would only restrict myself to saying that he made a big mistake by staying away at that time. I am using word ‘mistake’, for Imran Khan has himself said it many times during his press conferences. Had he not said so, I would not have used this word. I have my own level and I have great respect for those who strive for good of the people.

However, the joining of forces by both parties would have mattered and created a new dynamic. Allow me to say that change is an evolutionary process and is bound to happen one way or the other. No power can stop the change now. Nothing is static in the universe. Allama Iqbal has said the same thing in his poetry. The change would definitely come in Pakistan. It does not matter much whether the status quo forces are ganged up to maintain and safeguard the system or not. Despite their unity, resistance against and rejection of the movement for change, change has to occur. You cannot postpone it forever.

Another thing I would like to mention here is that the crimes that are spreading in Pakistan at such a mass scale were unheard of in previous years. I have spent my entire life here. There is a flurry of news about violation of honour and rapes of the girls on TV channels. We never saw such a horrible display of barbarism in Pakistan’s history. People are becoming shameless, beastly and animals after the committal of such evils. Such is the level of degradation to which we have stooped. The crime rate is on the increase. There are incidents of robberies and kidnappings every now and then.

The educated unemployed youth are becoming robbers and dacoits. They kidnap people coming from airport for two/three hours, settle on amount of ransom and get away with the money. Crime has become source of income for such people. There is rampancy of robberies, theft, plunder of resources, selling of honour, and prostitution. Thousands of people have been compelled to commit suicides due to lack of economic opportunities. People have turned their homes into brothels to survive.

There are, of course, various factors responsible for spread of all these evils currently afflicting us. I have thrown light on them many a time. Intellectual, religious, social and ideological reasons behind these phenomena are separate. They have their own political explanation. But the aspect I am concentrating on now is socio-economic aspect. When dispensation of justice does not happen; when wealth continues to remain concentrated in a few hands; when people do not get opportunities for educational, health and employment opportunities; when all sources of support, which make life thrive and institutions grow are shut down and all doors of anger, grief, misery, and worries open up and a man concludes that it is futile to live a respectable life, he turns to such practices for the sake of survival.

When society opens doors of all these evils and makes respectable living impossible to achieve through legal and legitimate means, it leads to initiation of negative change. The political leaders and powers that be use their energies and time to strengthen status quo and stop the way of positive change through lawful means. In that case, people are pushed towards negative change marked by rampancy of evil and sin. People have been compelled to conclude that they could not end their poverty through honest living and legitimate means. There was a time when one got one’s degree in engineering and medicine, one did not remain jobless even for a day. What to speak of MA, MBA, IT professionals, and technologists, even engineers, doctors and people with PhD degrees are jobless today, roaming around in search of jobs.

On the other hand, the less educated and illiterate breed with fake degrees, who know the art of speaking in talk shows, adept at using foul and abusive language, and are master in working their way up on the ladder of power through terrorism, appeasement, nepotism and corruption are holding the destiny of the nation in their hands. They are the ones who have held the nation hostage by usurping power in the name of elections and so-called democracy. This crop of people makes hay while the educated ones have the door of employment shut on them.

I know a number of doctors and engineers who are taxi drivers in foreign countries because they could not find jobs. It is a different matter that Pakistan’s educational and health institutions suffer from shortage of skilled workforce. The lack of opportunities generates frustration, which renders one into criminal. Frustration leads man to terrorism, militancy, and suicide bombing forcing him to put a price tag on his honour as well. It forces parents to kill their children and commit suicide.

When society have come to such a pass, you are stopping the way of a positive change and paving the way for a disastrous, merciless and destructive revolution, which will sweep away everything. Have a look at the nations which are former British colonies like us. I want to give example of Malaysia here. The poverty rate in Malaysia was 57 per cent in 1970. Today it has been reduced to less than 5 per cent. Where have these people come from? I am telling this to 180 million people of Pakistan through your programme. One’s heart bleeds to see this happening in front of one’s eyes. Allah Almighty has given us eyes to see what is going on. China won freedom at about the same time as ours, two years after we came into being. Look at the height of progress China has achieved in last six decades.

Malaysia was a British colony like us. It reduced phenomenal poverty ratio from 57 per cent in 1970 to merely less than 5 per cent today. It focused on development of industrial, manufacturing sectors and human resource. It equipped its workforce with necessary skillset and tools. They worked on war-footing to revive economy, reduce inflation and control price hike. They undertook five-year, ten-year and fifteen-year planning keeping in view their demands. The people holding the reins of power in Pakistan do not even know what planning is and what the word means. Do they really know what is going to happen in this country during upcoming five, ten and fifteen years? The nations plan for 100 years. Unfortunately, our rulers are devoid of vision.

You have a fair idea of how the PPP-led government fared in last five years. I am giving you a new dimension to analyse. You bring out the names, pictures, education, and professional experience of the ministers of the last government. Compare and contrast their credentials with the performance of their respective ministries. Likewise, undertake the same exercise and have the names, pictures, educational qualifications, and professional competence of the incumbent ministers before you. I can tell you there will be little difference. They are two sides of the same coin and cut off from the same cloth. The present team is no better than the old one in terms of competence and integrity.

Mubasher Lucman

The last government had illiterate people like Sheikh Waqas Akram and the present cabinet has ‘stalwarts’ like Abid Sher Ali. There is little I can do by way of comparison. It is all about choosing from the worst evil.

Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri

The point I am making is that when this is the standard, how will such a country progress, carry out futuristic planning, improve education and health facilities for the teeming millions, create job opportunities, revive economy through fundamental structural reforms and attraction of investment, and put an end to terrorism and militancy? How will such a country deliver socio-economic and legal justice to its people at their doorsteps? You need to have vision, in-depth study and thinking mind to overcome these problems. These things are a dodo here. People know only one art of cracking jokes on TV programmes, speaking out aloud, resorting to character assassination, using abusive language against their opponents and controlling their respective constituencies through hooliganism and coercion. Will Pakistan change for the better in these circumstances?

Those who wanted to bring about change have been so caught up in the quagmire that the longer they stay in the system, the little they would be able to speak or do. I had said some time ago that this system is like a salt mine. Even if you put a dozen of diamonds in it, you would see that they would lose their identity and become salt after some time. This system does not let human beings be human beings. It eliminates those who seek to bring about change.

Mubasher Lucman

Dr sahib, you led a long march ahead of elections. It was indeed a good step. People heeded your call and hundreds of thousands of people supported you despite unfavorable circumstances. Now we can witness that there is a good number of masses that want real change in the system thoroughly from upside down so that they could have the right to breathe if nothing else. Will you wait before you give call for long march or you would like to lead a long march a few months ahead of elections?

Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri

So far as the last portion of your question is concerned, there is a clear ‘no’. There would be no call to long march before elections. We would not delay that much. We would not wait for the ship of the county to get drowned or God forbid, God forbid dissolve into pieces or society turn into society of the beasts. We would not want it to go down the drain lest it should impossible to retrieve it back from the quagmire or revive it socially and economically. We would not brook inordinate delay but at the same time, I am in no hurry either. I do not say anything categorical about its nature but one thing is clear whether it is one long march or many, we would certainly rise for revolution. It is too early to comment on the exact nature of the final course of action.

I do not want to hasten because I want people, who have voted the present set of rulers into power, to see for themselves how their ‘leaders’ have fared.

Mubasher Lucman

These votes have been given by none other than Fakhar-ud-Din G Ibrahim with the support of some people from judiciary. The people of Pakistan have not voted. How many more instances of rigging will we show to prove the ‘efficacy of vote’?

Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri

I agree to what you have said. Three kinds of votes have been cast. However, I would disagree a bit with what you have said with your permission, for I believe in saying whatever is fair and avoid exaggeration. You are true to the extent that the votes cast during the last elections were managed by Fakhru Bahi, corrupt and unconstitutionally composed election Commission. This part is correct. The rest of the job was completed by the Returning Officers who were responsible for holding elections. NADRA has now proven the ‘efficacy of votes’.

By the way, I would refer to two constituencies here where NADRA said that more than 75% or 80 % of votes could not be verified. The votes are not verifiable. This is the height of rigging. There was no prescribed ink, paper, ID cards, or thumb impressions. Why did all this happen?

It happened because it was part of the overall planning and grand design. A man was allowed and facilitated to cast multiple votes for even dozens of times without any let or hindrance. The Returning Officers were there to oversee corruption and rigging. They were paid for it. Here I want to make an important point. I also want to apprise Imran Khan, for he has been talking of verification of votes in 40/50 constituencies by NADRA. Let me make it clear that this approach is not correct as NADRA is part of the same process. I think a neutral and independent international Commission should be established to verify finger prints, and ID cards on which votes were cast. NADRA is also staffed by people who thrive as a result of this system. They have told the truth about two constituencies so that you hand over the verification process of dozens of constituencies to them. They would okay the electoral process and put their seal of approval, who can tell? There should be an independent international Commission to verify elections and validity of this election. Such a Commission should be composed of representatives from NADRA, NGOs and political parties.

My demand is that this independent neutral Commission should select 40/50 constituencies of national and provincial assemblies from across the four provinces and give its verdict on the reality of elections. This is what I wanted to correct and put things in correct perspective. The third part relates to the fact that a large number of people also voted. I would not say that the people did not vote at all.

Mubasher Lucman

Can we expect that you would give call for long march or revolution on 23rd of March 2014?

Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri

You please delete the date of 23rd of March but as I said before, we would cause any inordinate delay that people begin to die. I want the entire nation to rise because my conception and understanding of revolution is devolution of power to the masses.

Mubasher Lucman

Revolution and cold weather apart, you held the long march during intense cold last year. I also intend to join you. That is why I want that call should be given during good weather.

Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri

No, it would not be cold, intense cold. I want to tell you that it would be pleasant and bearable weather. You would also come along with other anchors who looked at the elections as a last ray of hope. I want the entire nation to rise.

Mubasher Lucman

I would not come as an anchor.

Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri

I understood what you want to say. I welcome you. I have a request. I want the nation to rise. I want the nation to realize and start saying what the political leaders are already saying that whatever I had said before elections had proven to be true. They should take to the streets and act. It does not give me pleasure to find people saying that whatever I had said has happened. My happiness lies in the fact that the nation is ready and willing to reject the incumbent system. We rise for the revolution. We would not rest till we send the system packing. I want the nation to say that they stand for revolution not elections. When the people would come out in the name of revolution, they would find me standing amidst themselves. I would continue to fight on till revolution becomes the destiny of this country and great nation. We have to save the state of Pakistan. We have to save this gift of the Quaid-e-Azam. We have to save this blessing of Allah and His Prophet (Saw) that we have in the form of Pakistan.