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Islamabad sit-in ends after agreement with govt

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Qadri portrays himself as a reformist cleric bent on ensuring that Pakistan's current corps of politicians, which he asserts is steeped in corruption, isn't allowed to stand for election in national polls. He has won praise in the West for his condemnation of terrorism and promoting anti-Wahabi Barelvi brand of Islam. But like most religious party leaders, he has won scant support from voters in past elections. He launched a political party in 1989 but was able to win a parliamentary seat only in the 2002 elections that were widely seen as tailored by the then military ruler, Gen Pervez Musharraf, to suit his own political aims.

In 2006, Qadri announced that he was disillusioned with the country's political scene, moved to Canada and obtained citizenship there.  His sudden return to Pakistan in mid-December surprised the nation, and his speech in Lahore on Dec. 23 denouncing rampant corruption at all levels of government galvanized a segment of the country deeply frustrated with Zardari's corrupt regime.

His arrival was heralded by an expensive television ad campaign touting the slogan "save the state, not your politics" - an apparent broadside at the major political forces. The campaign promised a long march on Islamabad to achieve two objectives: get rid of the "corrupt" government and pave the way for electoral reforms under an interim government of "honest" people.

Last week, Qadri had vowed to continue the sit-in protest in Islamabad until the government gave in to his demand for a pre-election caretaker administration appointed with the input of the country's judiciary and military. That demand has led many observers to speculate that the country's powerful military could be behind Qadri's agenda.

Who financed the million dollar march

The Islamabad siege ended peacefully but many questions remained unanswered.

Why Allama Qadri suddently descended on Pakistan rather suddenly, nearly seven years after he moved his hearth and home to Canada?

Who financed the Long March from Lahore to Islamabad and the four day sit-in in Islamabad where tents were provided for women and food was arranged. Long March participants were provided free ride to their home in different part s of Pakistan.

Many see a hidden hand behind the whole episode.

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Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
 

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