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Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri (born 19 February 1951) is a Pakistani politician, former law professor and SufiIslamic scholar.[3][4] He was a former professor of international constitutional law at the University of the Punjab.[5] Qadri is also the founding chairman of Minhaj-ul-Quran International

Early years 

Qadri learned from a number of classical authorities in Islamic sciences, including Abu al-Barakat Ahmad al-Qadri al-Alwari.[citation needed]

Qadri studied law at the University of the Punjab in Lahore, where he graduated with an LLB in 1974, gaining a Gold Medal for his academic performances.[6] Following a period of legal practice as an advocate, he taught law at the University of the Punjab from 1978 to 1983 and then gained his PhD[7] in Islamic Law (Punishments in Islam, their Classification and Philosophy) in 1986 from the same university. His supervisors were Bashir Ahmad Siddiqui (‘Ulum al-Islamiyya) and Javaid Iqbal.[8][9] He was appointed as aprofessor of law at the University of Punjab, where he taught British, US and Islamic constitutional law.[citation needed]

Political career 

On 25 May 1989, Qadri founded a political party, Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT). This party aims to introduce the culture of democracy, promote economic stability, and improve the state of human rights, justice, and women's roles in Pakistan. The PAT also aims to remove corruption from Pakistani politics. Its official website contains its formal manifesto.[10] In 1990, Qadri participated in the national election. In 1991, PAT and TNFJ (Tehreek-e-Nifaz-e-Fiqh-e-Jafria A shia political group), now known as Tehreek-e-Jafria,[11] introduced the idea of political working relationship. From 1989 to 1993, Qadri continuously worked as an opposition leader.[12]

He was also elected as a Member of the National Assembly for his constituency. On 29 November 2004, Qadri announced his resignation as a Member of the National Assembly.[13] Qadri views an Islamic state as a Muslim-majority country which respects freedom, the rule of law, global human rights (including religious freedom), social welfare, women's rights and the rights of minorities.[14] He also claims that the Constitution of Medina "declared the state of Madinah as a political unit". He also mentions that the Constitution declared the "indivisible composition of the Muslim nation (Ummah)".[15] With respect to the Constitution of Medina, Qadri says: "This was the constitution, which provided the guarantee of fundamental human rights in our history." He believes that "a constitution is a man-made law and by no means it can be declared superior to a God-made law."[15]

Pakistan's blasphemy law 

Qadri apparently made contradictory statements regarding his role in the making of Pakistan's blasphemy Law. In an Urdu-language speech he said: "I would like to lift the veil that this blasphemy law ... it was I who had this law made, that no matter who commits blasphemy, whether Muslim or Non-Muslim, man or woman, Christian or Jew, whoever commits blasphemy should be killed like a dog!" Yet in another video he says: "Whatever the Law of blasphemy is, is not applicable on non Muslims, is not applicable on Jews, Christians, and any other non-Muslims. I was never a part of shaping this law in the parliament made by Zia-ul-Haq.".[16][17][18][19][20] After the disclosure of this apparent contradiction in the Danish Media, the Integration and social affairs minister, Karen Hækkerup, pulled out of a conference on religious radicalism after she discovered that Qadri helped to fashion Pakistan’s anti-blasphemy law. She said she would not share a stage with a controversial Muslim scholar who helped to create that law.[21]

Long March 

In December 2012, after living for seven years in Toronto, Canada, Qadri returned to Pakistan and initiated a political campaign which called for a "democratic revolution"[this quote needs a citation] through electoral reforms. Qadri called for a "million-men" march in Islamabad to protest against the government's corruption.[22] On 14 January 2013, crowds marched down the city's main avenue. Thousands of people pledged to sit-in until their demands were met.[23] When he started the long march from Lahore about 15,000 people were with him.[24] He told the rally in front of parliament: "There is no Parliament; there is a group of looters, thieves and dacoits [bandits] ... Our lawmakers are the lawbreakers."[25] After four days of sit-in, the Government and Qadri signed an agreement called the Islamabad Long March Declaration, which promises electoral reforms and increased political transparency.[26] Although Qadri called for a "million-men" march, the estimated total present for the sit-in in Islamabad was 25,000 according to the government.[24]

Critics have charged that the protests were a ploy by the Pakistan Armed Forces to delay elections and weaken the influence of the civilian government, citing Qadri's close ties to the military, dual nationality and foreign sources of funding.[27][28] Lawyers for the Supreme Court of Pakistan claimed that Qadri's demands are unfeasible because they conflict with the Constitution of Pakistan.[29] The Tribune reported on 17 February 2013, that Qadri seemed to have capitulated on most of his demands in the Islamabad Long March Declaration.[30]

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