News / Asia

Pakistani Cleric Qadri Energizes Calls for Reform

Sufi cleric and leader of the Minhaj-ul-Quran religious organisation Muhammad Tahirul Qadri addresses his supporters from behind the window of an armored vehicle on the second day of protests in Islamabad, January 15, 2013.
Sufi cleric and leader of the Minhaj-ul-Quran religious organisation Muhammad Tahirul Qadri addresses his supporters from behind the window of an armored vehicle on the second day of protests in Islamabad, January 15, 2013.
Sean Maroney
Tahir-ul Qadri returned to a hero's welcome in Pakistan in December, attracting  thousands with calls for reforms ahead of this year's elections.

What is Qadri's background?

The 62-year-old Sufi cleric first emerged on Pakistan's political scene some three decades ago, when General Muhammad Zia-ul Haq 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 Pakistan.

In 1981, he founded Minhaj-ul-Quran, 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 Pakistan Awami Tehreek.

In 2002, he won a seat in Pakistan's National Assembly under General Pervez Musharraf's rule. However, he resigned two years later, condemning Pakistan's political system as corrupt. He then moved to Canada, where he became a Canadian citizen and continued his religious activities.

What are his beliefs?

Qadri preaches a philosophy that promotes merging modernist views with Islam and encouraging Muslims in Western countries to become fully integrated with those societies. He achieved some international fame in 2010 with his fatwa - or religious opinion - condemning terrorism.  

According to his group's website, Minhaj-ul-Quran's goals include promoting peace, tolerance, interfaith harmony, education, integration, community cohesion, and women's rights; engaging with young Muslims for religious moderation; and providing social welfare.

What does he want?

Qadri returned to a hero's welcome in Pakistan in December with his message that there must be reforms ahead of this year's elections. Analysts say this call struck a chord with average Pakistanis, who are upset with a status quo that includes electricity blackouts, a sluggish economy and a decade-long fight against domestic Taliban militants.  

Supporters of cleric Tahir-ul Qadri listen to his speech at an anti-government rally in Islamabad, Pakistan, January 15, 2013.Supporters of cleric Tahir-ul Qadri listen to his speech at an anti-government rally in Islamabad, Pakistan, January 15, 2013.
x
Supporters of cleric Tahir-ul Qadri listen to his speech at an anti-government rally in Islamabad, Pakistan, January 15, 2013.
Supporters of cleric Tahir-ul Qadri listen to his speech at an anti-government rally in Islamabad, Pakistan, January 15, 2013.
The cleric 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 Pakistan'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.

However, experts say it is still too early to tell if Qadri is a viable threat to Pakistan'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 Pakistan.

You May Like

Video Analysts: Beijing Parade a 'Bazaar' of Stolen Technology

Show commemorating victory over Japan in World War II involved long, medium and short range missiles, a range of tanks and 200 fighter aircraft More

Bernie Sanders Surge Reflects US Shift on Socialism

Although most analysts say it is unlikely he will get the Democratic nomination, Sanders' campaign opens up questions and issues that are otherwise marginalized More

Video On IS Frontline, Kurdish Fighters Ready for Offensive

Peshmerga soldiers say although they need more heavy artillery, they are poised to take the fight to the Islamic State extremists on their turf More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Nadeem Ahmad from: Lahore, Pakistan
January 15, 2013 4:05 PM
Dr. Qadri has long following within and outside Pakistan, He is modern sunni scholar, He is playing very vital role against terrorism, he is the only voice in Pakistan to fight against terrorism with true spirit. Now he is just demanding, free and fair election in which common person can also participate without heavy funds, and lawbreakers should not b allowed to become law makers, He is getting much attention.
In Response

by: Shah Ji from: Islamabad
January 15, 2013 6:01 PM
We need people like Dr TUQ and former cricketer IK to lead Pakistan out of the hands of the most corrupt PPP government, I pray for a revolution where PPP leaders will all be hanged by the people in broad daylight, I can see it coming, and I know its a matter of time when the entire Pakistan will be cleansed of all corrupt vile people.

The people will not leave any corrupt person alone. They will not be allowed to hide anywhere on the planet, their loot will be confiscated whether here or abroad.

If only the Pakistani military helped the people, all this corruption can be over within days, by killing 10,000 corrupt officials by hanging them.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outragei
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 04, 2015 11:36 AM
The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outrage

The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Russians Observe 11th Anniversary of Beslan School Attack

This week, Russians have been observing the 11th anniversary of the attack by Islamic militants on a school in Russia's North Caucasus region that killed more than 330 hostages, including 186 children. The three-day siege and massacre that started on September 1, 2004 took place in Beslan, a town in the republic of North Ossetia, and is one of the bloodiest terrorist acts ever in Russia. VOA's Mike Richman reports.
Video

Video Native Americans Debate: Father Serra, Saint or Sinner?

Pope Francis will canonize an 18th century missionary to Spanish California during a papal visit to the United States this month.  But some Native Americans have criticized the elevation to sainthood of the missionary priest, Junipero Serra. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video China Announces Troop Cuts at WWII Parade

Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday announced plans to cut the world’s largest military force by 300,000 troops. The announcement was made during a massive military parade to commemorate victory over Japan in World War II. The event was shunned by most Western leaders and for some is raising fresh concerns about China’s military ambitions. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.

VOA Blogs