By Mohit Dubey
Lucknow, The Uttar Pradesh capital may be hundreds of miles away from Islamabad but the two cities have a connect of sorts in the fiery cleric Tahirul Qadri.
The 61-year-old former professor of international constitutional law does not only trace his ancestral roots to Lucknow but also visited the city in March last year.
That is when he interacted with old-timers and visited many an educational institution. His father had studied in Lucknow in 1929 and had lived here for more than a decade.
His father studied at the Tibia College and at the King George’s Medical College.
Qadri is now rallying thousands in the Pakistani capital demanding the ouster of the government.
Qadri’s visit to Lucknow was part of his four-week Indian tour. He met several eminent Muslim scholars of Lucknow and underlined that terrorism has no place in Islam.
Imam Maulana Khalid Rashid Farangi Mahali, the Imam of Aishbagh Idgah, whose house Qadri visited, told IANS that the cleric was clear about two things: Islam never had anything to do with terrorism and, secondly, that India and Pakistan should cut their military budgets and instead spend it on public welfare.
“We were mighty impressed by his peace overtures. But more than that we are happy that the Qadri saheb was very clear that Islam and terror were two separate things and Islam never allowed killings of innocent people,” Khalid Rashid said.
Remembering him as one who relished the Avadhi cuisine and loved talking endlessly on the “similarities” between Pakistan and India, he says it was heartening to note that Qadri was still talking peace — and become the rallying point of change in neighbouring Pakistan.
The cleric, the Imam said, was “fikarmand” (worried) about developments in Pakistan and was particularly critical of the fundamental forces which had wrongly interpreted Islam for their own gains.
“He was worried about the fluid situation in Pakistan and was yearning for a change,” the Imam added.