Mr Qadri and the MQM... By Atif
03 January, 2013
Allama Tahirul Qadri has taken the Pakistani political scene by storm with his arrival and address at a huge public gathering in Lahore on December 23, 2012. He has been a social and religious figure for more than two decades. His is a centre-right ideology blended with the concept of social Islam. This ideology borrows from 'Suleh-e-Kul' from the traditional Sufi version of inclusive social and religious thought, which later on was further developed into the pluralistic Islam of the Indian subcontinent.
This moderate, inclusive interpretation has dominantly been nonviolent. The ideology has been under criticism for being a status quo force in the Indian subcontinent as being supportive to monarchs and dictators. However, Tahirul Qadri amalgamates traditional thought with social Islam and vows to eradicate conservative, historical and non-progressive social structures. He dreams of creating an egalitarian society.
The MQM's support for him manifests its keenness to represent the urban and semi-urban classes of Punjab. One of the biggest hurdles has been the MQM's secular colour, which is not acceptable to the increasingly right leaning urban middle classes of Punjab. Standing shoulder to shoulder with a man who is a strong proponent of Sunni barelvi Islam, the followers of which make more than 80 percent of the MQM's supporters, would give the MQM both internal strength as well as acceptance in the still majority Sunni barelvi Punjab. The MQM's ideological stand against the status quo forces completely overlaps Dr Qadri's agenda hence making them see eye-to-eye with each other.
Leaving the establishment's role aside, there is a lot in common and complimentary between Dr Tahirul Qadri and the MQM. No one knows what will come out of this but one thing is clear: the real ruling classes in Pakistan have once again asserted themselves in a quest to gain lost ground.
MALIK ATIF MAHMOOD MAJOKA