Pakistan, cleric, Tahir-ul-Qadri, retirement, politics

Pakistani cleric Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri announces ‘retirement’ from politics

Pakistan’s well-known cleric and chief of Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT),Tahirul Qadri, has announced his retirement from Pakistani politics and from his post as the party’s chairman.

He made the announcement today (September 14).

In a tweet from his official Twitter handle the PAT chairman said that he is separating himself from the political activities of Pakistan Awami Tehreek.

“I am announcing my retirement. This decision comes as a result of my health issues and profound academic commitments,” he wrote. Qadri further said that he wants to focus on his academic commitments and writing.

Who is Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri?

Dr Muhammad Tahirul Qadri was born on Feb 19, 1951 and hails from Jhang, Pakistan. It is believed that Qadri, a Canada-based religious scholar, was exposed to Christianity and Islam at an early stage of his life as he attended a Christian school in Jhang. He studied Hadith and the fundamental principles of Islam from the Muhaddith al-Hijaz.

Later on in his academic career, he studied law at the University of Punjab and graduated with an undergraduate degree in the same discipline in 1974 as a valedictorian. He also taught at Punjab University and pursued his doctorate in Islamic law.

Qadri is a multi-linguist and can fluently speak Urdu, Punjabi, English, Arabic and Persian which makes him popular amongst religious scholars from multiple countries.

The formation of Minhaj ul Quran

Qadri founded Minhaj ul Quran in October 1981. The organisation aims to operate on the philosophy of abridging the communication gap between different communities and religions and of promoting peace by educating young minds about classical Islamic sciences. Since its inception, the organisation has spread its network in over 90 countries. In 2011, the United Nations Economic and Social Council granted special consultative status to the said organisation.

Qadri is also the Chairman of the Board of Governors of Minhaj University Lahore which provides education in multiple disciplines such as social, management and religious sciences.

Political career Qadri founded a political party called the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) in May 1989. The main objective of the party was to provide law and order measures for the general public, respect for human rights, elimination of poverty and quality education for all. In 1990, members from the PAT contested for the general elections and later on Qadri was elected as a member of the National Assembly. However, he resigned from his seat on Nov 29, 2004.

His connection with Canada

Qadri has been living in Canada since 2005 where he also acquired Canadian citizenship. Qadri says he can more effectively manage his international network from the North American country.

His sudden return to Pakistan in Dec 2012, to “save the state, not your politics”, after having spent nearly seven years in Canada, has been a subject of debate and discussion among the country’s political circles.

In December 2012, Qadri addressed a large audience at the Minar-i-Pakistan saying that the current system adopted by the government had failed and if the military intervened in the future, he would be the first Pakistani to protest against it. He gave an ultimatum to the current government and further said that if the situation failed to improve until Jan 10, 2012, he would lead a long march to Islamabad.

On Jan 1, 2013, Qadri with his newly-found ally, Altaf Hussain, chief of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), vowed to turn Islamabad into the Tahrir Square of Pakistan on Jan 14, 2013. He said that on the aforementioned day ‘millions’ of peaceful demonstrators would pour into the capital to install what was described as a neutral and independent caretaker set-up for introducing what he called long overdue electoral reforms.

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