By: Wasi Abid
Lahore represented the war-like situation on Saturday. The clashed which erupted between PAT workers and policemen left scores of cops injured while entire nation watch SSP jumping in his jeep to manage escape from the wrath of angry people carrying baton in their hands Though Pat CHJIEF Tahirul Qadri is also to blame for the clashes but the provincial can not escape the blame as the concerned authorities failed to come out with a concrete plan to deal with the pre as well post- Youm-e- Shuhda, situation being observed by the Pakistan Awami Tehirk (PAT) .on Sunday and Azadi March being organized by the Pakistan Tehrik Insaf on Aug 14.
Saturday’s clashes between Pakistan Awami Tehrik activists and police have proved that neither government nor the opposition parties are ready to demonstrate flexibility. The clashes between police and PAT’s workers have sent a wave of fear among the masses again. Now they fear for the worst in days to come. Those sitting on the helm of affairs should have lodged FIR against the PAT chief on the very day when the later delivered ‘provocative’ speeches. There was no need to cordoned off the PAT Chief’s residence and sealing off the roads leading to Tehrik Minhajul Quran. Angry over the arrests of PAT workers, now Dr Tahirul Qadri seems firmed in toppling the government even at the cost of his life etc.
Now there are reports that provincial government is going to arrest PAT chief thus leaving no choice for the opposition but to opt for clash. The government’s wizards perhaps did not take the determination of the protestors’ commitment into account as the arrest would not make any difference at this time as they want nothing more or less but to topple the PML-N government and ready to pay any price for getting the job done.
Punjab government is also to blame for making the situation worst. By placing containers, calling rangers, imposing section 144; the government has added fuel to the fire as the PAT chief as well PTI Chief Imran from the day one are keep assuring government that they would hold peaceful protests and none of their workers will resort to any violence.
Despite efforts on the part of various political parties to find ways acceptable to both government and the protesting parties, the chances of any positive development on the political front seem next to impossible.
PM Nawaz Sharif no doubt did not pay any heeds to the PTI’s demands of recounting of votes in four constituencies. Now the government tried to calm down Imran Khan by inviting him in the national security meeting but to no avail. PM Nawaz through JI leaders sent a message to Imran Khan that government is ready to allow PTI to hold Azadi March in the federal capital if he refrain self from demanding resignation from the Prime Minister. Now it is too late for the offer as the reports are also pouring in that government is going to put Imran Khan under house arrest too. Now Imran Khan categorically refused attend national security meeting and hold any talks with the government over the issue.
Imran Khan clearly told the government that his party would hold Azadi March at every cost arguing that he had been saying from day one that he would take to the streets if justice was not served. PTI chief has also announced that he would disclose the names of those who were involved in the rigging in 2013 general polls on Aug 11.
The situation is no doubt getting out of hands and now a showdown between government and protesting parties seems eminent On one side government trying to convince Imran Khan that time is not ripe for any confrontation while on the other side the law enforcement agencies personnel are combing each and every area to arrest the PTI, PAT’s leaders in order to make Azadi March nothing but a failure.
Dr Tahirul Qadri and other leaders of his party are calling the workers to actively take part in Youm-e Shuhda even they have to take down the containers etc.
Imran Khan and Dr. Tahirul Qadri demanded of the government to take action against corruption, injustice, poverty, vote rigging and other issues, but the government failed to fulfill their demands as no significant move has been witnessed in these regard.
There is no place in imposing section 144, using policemen and calling in Rangers to quell the opposition rallies, sit-in in a democratic society. Had the Govt’s managers acted wisely in removing the genuine grievances of PTI then the situation would be much different today.