Who will be responsible for 8 deaths?

Published June 18, 2014
Supporters of preacher Tahir-ul-Qadri perform funeral prayers over coffins of fellow supporters killed during clashes with police in Lahore on late June 17, 2014. — Photo by AFP
Supporters of preacher Tahir-ul-Qadri perform funeral prayers over coffins of fellow supporters killed during clashes with police in Lahore on late June 17, 2014. — Photo by AFP

Pakistan’s politicians had a very busy day yesterday, staging walk-outs, demanding resignations, calling for days of mourning and playing politics over the killing of eight people during violent clashes between police and workers of Dr.Tahirul Qadri’s Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT).

The incident took place in Lahore’s Model Town area where police had arrived to remove barriers from Qadri’s home, as part of an anti-encroachment drive.

Over 100 people were injured during these clashes, including several riddled with bullet wounds lying in a hospital.

As tragic as this incident was, the aftermath was perhaps even worse. While mayhem took over in Lahore, Qadri sat in Canada claiming that, the Punjab Government, scared of his forthcoming visit to Pakistan, was instigating all this. He somehow also managed to link his support for the army and the North Waziristan operation to the attack against his party workers, seemingly saying that the PML-N government was getting back at him for that support.


Also read 'Lahore clash: Who caused the bloodshed?'


While Qadri was busy at one end of the world trying to link together all possible reasons for the attack, quick to condemn the violence was another party chief living abroad - MQM’s Altaf Hussain.

Ever eager for a day off, his party leaders in Karachi called for a day of mourning and a strike in protest, while Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf chief Imran Khan also called for one in Bahawalpur.

So what was happening in Lahore all this time?

Oh yes, the younger Sharif, Punjab’s Chief Minister was busy offering himself for an FIR in case anyone was interested in implicating him in today’s events.

Let’s face it. Shahbaz Sharif isn’t getting into any trouble. It is very noble of him to claim that he will resign if found responsible, but really, nobody resigns in this country over a few dead bodies.


Also read 'Tribunal to determine those responsible for Lahore tragedy: PM'


While on the topic of accountability, one wonders what action will be taken against the police for their brutality against PAT workers.

We all know the script too well to be hopeful.

A sickening blame game will follow. The CCPO and DIG operations have been removed from their posts — traditional CM Punjab brand of justice — which serves more to protect perpetrators than punish them.

Responsibilities will be deflected, people fired and speeches delivered, things 'analysed' by 'analysts' and all the results buried with the dead eight.

The worst part is, very few people used to take Qadri seriously. But the PML-N govt went out of their way to affirm he was indeed justified in seeking political asylum in Canada. His followers have died for him and in a way legitimised his politics. Now we have one more politician to deal with.

I know we're used to all of this, but the question is, can we make this the last straw?

Do we, the television-watching-tsk-tsking society of Pakistan have the unity and will needed to demand actual action against these hypocrites?


Also read 'Police arrest PML-N activist for vandalism in Model Town protest'


I'd love to see this barrier business take place outside Bilawal House in Karachi, or in Raiwind, Lahore. Highly unlikely, I think.

But for now, someone should tell Shahbaz Sharif it is his fault. When eight human beings lose lives to senselessness, the blame does go to the chief of the area. Isn't that the whole point of having a CM? Isn't that how the world works?

Not for you, Pakistanis.

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