Pakistani Cleric Qadri Energizes Calls for Reform
In case you care, Der Spiegel has this take on the news.
[VOA News] Tahir-ul Qadri returned to a hero's welcome in Pakistain in December, attracting thousands with calls for reforms ahead of this year's elections.
The Pak version of General Boulanger...
One of those characters the French try to forget.
What is Qadri's background?

The 62-year-old Sufi holy man first emerged on Pakistain's political scene some three decades ago, when General Muhammad Zia ul Haq
...the creepy-looking former dictator of Pakistain. Zia was an Islamic nutball who imposed his nutballery on the rest of the country with the enthusiastic assistance of the nation's religious parties, which are populated by other nutballs. He was appointed Chief of Army Staff in 1976 by Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, whom he hanged when he seized power. His time in office was a period of repression, with hundreds of thousands of political rivals, minorities, and journalists executed or tortured, including senior general officers convicted in coup-d'état plots, who would normally be above the law. As part of his alliance with the religious parties, his government helped run the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan, providing safe havens, American equipiment, Saudi money, and Pak handlers to selected mujaheddin. Zia died along with several of his top generals and admirals and the then United States Ambassador to Pakistain Arnold Lewis Raphel when he was assassinated in a suspicious air crash near Bahawalpur in 1988...
was in power. During that time, Qadri made a name for himself as a legal adviser on Islamic law for both the country's Supreme Court and the Federal Sharia Court of Pakistain.

In 1981, he founded Minhaj-ul-Koran, an educational, spiritual and humanitarian non-governmental agency that now has branches in more than 90 countries. Qadri later went on to create the political party Pakistain Awami Tehrik.
Ties to the Zia ul-Haq regime. That's always comforting, isn't it?
In 2002, he won a seat in Pakistain's National Assembly under General Pervez Perv Musharraf's
... former dictator of Pakistain, who was less dictatorial and corrupt than any Pak civilian government to date ...
rule. However,
man does not live by words alone, despite the fact that sometimes he has to eat them...
he resigned two years later, condemning Pakistain's political system as corrupt. He then moved to Canada, where he became a Canadian citizen and continued his religious activities.
He hadn't noticed that Pakistain's political system was corrupt while working as part of the Zia ul-Haq regime's repression machine, and it took him two entire years for that to sink in as a member of the Pak People's Assembly. The man's brilliant.
What are his beliefs?

Qadri preaches a philosophy that promotes merging modernist views with Islam and encouraging Moslems in Western countries to become fully integrated with those societies.
The fifth column works so much better when the fifth columnists aren't sporting beards down to their belly buttons and wearing dresses.
He achieved some international fame in 2010 with his fatwa - or religious opinion - condemning terrorism.
"Terrism is... bad."
According to his group's website, Minhaj-ul-Koran's goals include promoting peace, tolerance, interfaith harmony, education, integration, community cohesion, and women's rights; engaging with young Moslems for religious moderation; and providing social welfare.
"Boulangisme: 'a vague and mystical aspiration of a nation towards a democratic, authoritarian, liberating ideal; the state of mind of a country that is searching, after the various deceptions to which she was exposed by the established parties which she had trusted up to then, and outside the usual ways, something else altogether, without knowing either what or how, and summoning all those who are dissatisfied and vanquished in its search for the unknown.'
What does he want?

Qadri returned to a hero's welcome in Pakistain in December with his message that there must be reforms ahead of this year's elections.
This is the first Pak civilian govt, whatever its faults (which are epic) to make it this close to actual elections.
Analysts say this call struck a chord with average Paks, who are upset with a status quo that includes electricity blackouts, a sluggish economy and a decade-long fight against domestic Talibs.

​​The holy man and former politician is calling for the dissolution of the current government and for early elections. His most controversial demand has been for the military to play a role in picking an interim government that would take over ahead of the vote and could stay in charge longer than normal in order to implement reforms.

Why does he face opposition?

It is his call for the military to participate in the election that has left many in the political establishment worried. For the first time in Pakistain's history, the country is poised to have a peaceful handover of power from one civilian government to another. But Qadri's demand for military involvement, as well as his ties to the Zia- and Musharraf-era governments, have led critics to accuse him of being a military puppet.

man does not live by words alone, despite the fact that sometimes he has to eat them...
experts say it is still too early to tell if Qadri is a viable threat to Pakistain's political establishment. While he has drawn crowds in the thousands, it is still nowhere near the "millions" of protesters he has promised. Also, his Canadian citizenship prevents him from running for office in Pakistain.
Posted by: Fred 2013-01-16