Bang or whimper?

Source: Friday Times.

Ba Najam Sethi

Dr Tahir ul Qadri continues to hog the headlines. In ten days, however, he has progressively diluted his demands under relentless media scrutiny. Consider.

Originally he insisted that the army and judiciary were “stake holders” who had a right to inform any caretaker government. Now he is ready to accept only a “consultative” role for them. Originally he insisted elections could be delayed under Article 254 of the Constitution. But now he isn’t. Originally he focused on breaking the “monopoly of the corrupt and incompetent two-party system” via accountability and electoral reform. Now he has limited himself to further empowering the Election Commission only. Originally he clarified he wasn’t seeking any sort of military intervention. Now he is warning the army not to obey any orders of the elected government to thwart his long march. Originally he pointed to a caretaker government of technocrats led by a non-parliamentarian professional in Italy which had run the government for 13 months in order to cleanse the system before calling new elections, implying the same route could be legitimately followed in Pakistan with him in the saddle. But now he is referring to the Egyptian model where a prolonged insurrectionary situation in Tahrir Square in Cairo paved the way for a supreme military council to depose Hosni Mubarak and oversee a new round of elections.


Categories: Asia, Pakistan

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