Can a Canadian Cleric Overthrow the Pakistani PoliticalEstablishment?
Dr. Tahir ul-Qadri speaks at a conference in 2011. Photograph by Servingislam.
In late December 2012, an obscure religious scholar and humanitarian took the stage in Lahore, pledging to overthrow the political order of his native Pakistan
such as it exists in a countrywhere the sitting, elected government is about to complete its five-year term and possibly initiatea democratic transfer of power for the first time in t
he nation‟s history.
Dr. Tahir ul-Qadri is a dual Canadian-Pakistani citizen and former politician who left the country
after resigning from Pakistan‟s national assembly in 2004 and taking up residence in the Greater
Toronto Area. Upon his return, he marched with tens of thousands of people from his charity'sheadquarters to the capital of Islamabad, calling for the establishment of a caretaker governmentin advance of May elections. Estimates of his number of followers at the march vary; whatever