LAHORE: Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Dr Tahirul Qadri Wednesday said no undemocratic and unconstitutional steps would be, and vowed that they only want an end of the “Sultanate of Sharifs.”
Addressing the allied opposition rally, Qadri thanked leaders and workers from all political parties for attending the show of strength in Lahore. He said that they all had gathered to get justice for the victims of Model Town tragedy.
“Entire political leadership is here to honour humanity, to empower the weak, to give voice to the voiceless,” the PAT chief said. “We have gathered here to save the country from Sheikh Mujeeb of a new era.”
He lamented that the rights of the people were being usurped and the national treasury plundered in the country.
Qadri maintained that they do not want to sabotage peace in the country. “We only want put an end to your cruelty. If we had to take the law into our own hands, then we would not have tolerated tragedies.” He stressed the protest was aimed at getting justice for the oppressed.
“The purpose of this gathering is to get rid of the enemy. We want to end the sultanate of Sharifs,” he said.
The protest rally is being held against the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) government, in order to seek justice for victims of the Model Town tragedy. The Model Town incident on June 17, 2014, had resulted in deaths of 14 people and injured around 100 during an ‘anti-encroachment operation’ by the Punjab Police outside Idara Minhajul Quran, the PAT’s head office.
Meanwhile, Opposition parties led by the Pakistan Awami Tehreek staged an anti-government protest on Mall road in Lahore over the 2014 Model Town incident.
With the PMLN led government already facing political uncertainty, the all parties’ protest came in the wake of the government surrounded with controversies including the brutal murder of a minor in Kasur. The opposition parties demanded justice from the government over the failure to dispense justice in both the cases.
The protest was also being eyed as a show of power by opposition parties, including the PTI and the PPP –both of which recently taken harsh stances against each other’s leadership. The Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz criticised the opposition for cashing in politically over the recent unfortunate incident in Kasur. While this is not the first such protest that has been witnessed by Lahore, the recent protest is being viewed as one that is politically challenging the PMLN government at a time when it is surrounded with several threats. INP/NNI
However, the local administration had discouraged the organisers from holding the protest citing security risks. Police cordoned off the area with containers blocking several parts of the Mall Road leading to the protest site close to Charing Cross.
Despite this preparations for the protest, including setting up of stage, were already done the prior night. Political workers of all parties started making their way to Mall road on Wednesday afternoon following which each party’s leadership made its way to the protest site as hundreds of workers gathered amidst tight security.
Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari spoke to protesters and urged them to remain steadfast in their resolve to demand justice for victims of Model Town massacre besides lashing out at the ruling PML-N for taking country towards destruction.
He also reminded audience of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s statement in which he said that Bangladesh founder Sheikh Mujibur Rehman was not anti-Pakistan before being pushed to act against the country and said that he predicted that Nawaz wants to create “Greater Punjab”.
“I thank Dr (Tahirul Qadri) for inviting us all to speak to (those demanding justice for Model Town victims) so we can tell them that the only danger Pakistan faces is from Jati Umra’s Sheikh Mujibur Rehman,” said Zardari.
The PPP co-chairman said that PPP has faced a lot of hardships but he or late Benazir Bhutto never spoke against the state of Pakistan but Nawaz Sharif is doing so after a court judgment.
The PAT chief arrived at the protest site amid presence of large number of activists from various political parties. The top leadership of PPP and PTI including senior leaders Khursheed Shah and Shah Mehmood Qureshi were on stage when the PAT leader arrived at the site.
A three-judge bench of Lahore High Court (LHC) announced the reserved decision on petitions challenging protest sit-in of the opposition parties at Mall Road in Lahore.
The bench granted conditional permission to PAT leadership to stage protest sit-in till 12am at the main artery of provincial capital.
The provincial capital’s main artery has been closed for all kind of traffic movement from Governor House till Lower Mall in wake of the protest.
Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) leader Chaudhry Parvez Elahi said all major opposition parties are united to demand justice for victims of the Model Town incident. He said the blood of faultless civilians would not go in vein and the culprits of incident would be brought to justice.
Ensuring foolproof security arrangements, DIG Operations Haider Ashraf said over 6,000 personnel, including 11 SPs and 24 DSPs are to be deployed around the Mall Road. He said three entrance points have been established and all the participants will be checked through the walk through gates.
Arriving in Lahore on Qadri’s invitation, Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) chairman Mustafa Kamal condemned the Model Town tragedy.
Talking briefly to media persons, he said the people in Karachi felt disquieted over the brutal murder of PAT activists in hands of Punjab police. NNI