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Supporters of Pakistan Awami Tehreek chant slogans as they wave sticks during a protest in Lahore.— Photo by Reuters
Supporters of Pakistan Awami Tehreek chant slogans as they wave sticks during a protest in Lahore.— Photo by Reuters

LAHORE: A showdown between law-enforcement personnel and the Pakistan Awami Tehreek began on Friday — much before it was expected — when hundreds of club-wielding PAT workers attempted to break through the police cordon and remove barricades put around the Model Town locality housing Tahirul Qadri’s residence and offices.

The police could not sustain the first assault and retreated as the mob beat them up with clubs, removed barbed wire on the Faisal Town roundabout, seized a crane and started removing the containers that had been placed at all entrances to Model Town the previous day.

The law enforcers had cordoned off the area in an attempt to prevent the PAT from organising a ‘martyrs’ day’ on Aug 10 to commemorate the activists killed in a police raid on June 17.

Also read: Police resort to detentions, block roads to Model Town

According to officials, the ruling PML-N became apprehensive when PAT chief Qadri asked those coming to participate in the event to carry copies of the Holy Quran.

The government feared that religious sentiments would be exploited as immediately after the Quran Khwani, the workers would be asked to march on Islamabad for joining the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf protesters there on Aug 14.

Responding to Dr Qadri’s call made while talking to media earlier in the day in which he had asked the people to take to the streets for a final push to oust the rulers, activists from various towns across Punjab tried to reach Lahore.

Clashes between activists and police took place in Faisalabad, Bhakkar, Mianwali, Khushab, Okara and Sargodha after authorities were asked not to allow any caravan to reach the provincial capital.

In Mianwali and Sargodha, policemen, including a DSP, were taken hostage by protesters.

A police station was set on fire in Khushab and arms and other government property were looted from one in Sargodha.

Entrances to Lahore, including the motorway, GT Road and other link roads, had been closed by erecting barricades. Filling stations on these roads were closed. The police were, however, barred from resorting to firing in any case, sources said.

In Lahore, PAT workers who had already made it through to the Model Town central offices of the party tried to remove the barricades around the locality to make way for their colleagues coming from outside the city.

Raheeq Abbasi, a PAT leader, said the workers got enraged when police misbehaved at barricades with women activists going to Dr Qadri’s residence. He also alleged that women had been ‘kidnapped’.

After the earlier retreat, reinforcements were sent, tear-gas shells fired and police resorted to baton charging the activists. Senior police officers were seen encouraging their subordinates to take on the charged mob.

More than 10 police personnel, two SHOs among them, and many PAT workers were injured in the clashes. Some people fainted because of tear gas.

Hundreds of activists arrested from across the province were being sent to prisons for fear of attacks on police lock-ups.

Mr Abbasi put the number of arrested workers at 5,000.

Talking to reporters, Dr Qadri claimed two activists, one of them identified as Abul Hameed, had died of gunshot wounds in Bhakkar and Khushab.

The PAT’s provincial spokesman, Mushtaq Ahmad, claimed over 100 activists either suffered baton injuries or were affected by tear gas.

Punjab Law Minister Rana Mashhood said at a press conference late in the evening that the ‘assailants’ in Lahore had been hired from far-flung areas of the province.

The ‘hired terrorists’, he claimed, had been identified through video cameras the government had installed at various places and raids were being conducted at their houses.

He said another case was registered against Dr Qadri on treason and terrorism charges. The PAT leader’s name would be put on the Exit Control List after a report from the joint investigation team on the June 17 killings, he added.

“The law will run its course and prison is Tahirul Qadri’s destiny.”

According to a TV channel, the Punjab government has decided to approach the Canadian government to get Mr Qadri’s citizenship cancelled for inciting violence in Pakistan.

Published in Dawn, Aug 9th, 2014


Comments (28) Closed



Sami Aug 09, 2014 06:44am

Real face of Shahbaz Shareef is exposed, now people can easily recognise who was behind model town killings.

Kamran Aziz Aug 09, 2014 06:47am

Only dummies like the Sharif brothers can think you can get a Canadian Citizenship 'Cancelled'. They can try what they want, Canadian citizenship cannot get cancelled, its not a Sharif family bank loan.

Ramesh Manghirmalani Aug 09, 2014 06:59am

@Kamran Aziz You are crazy, Citizen ship file can be reopened and in case Qadri lied he can be deported. Nawaz is democratically elected Prime Minister- If I am wrong try it.

Kazmis Aug 09, 2014 07:08am

What ever Dr. Qadri is planning, it can not bring revolution, and even revolution comes out that revolution will be unbearable for all. What will be salary and pensions what will be law and order, what will be Talban, what will be 4 province affairs. I am afraid people will be running here and there for basic necessities for their children...

Raja Aug 09, 2014 07:13am

Who is sponsoring this terrorism?

MSAlvi Aug 09, 2014 07:29am

This government is so foolish.

Mustafa J. Aug 09, 2014 07:31am

What is going on in Pakistan is just unbelievable and shameful. If Pakistan has to be saved from rebellion and terrorism there is no alternative but to ban all demonstrations and capture and imprison all leaders of demonstrations..

Khan Aug 09, 2014 07:39am

Things are getting crazier day by day in Pakistan. When Pakistanis will realize that damaging your own property is not going to benefit your cause. It's not only unislamic but illegal and immoral. Every single politician wants to be pm, every general want to be the dictator. I Honsetly believe that people don't care about others' rights there. We became worse than animals. Would you please wake up and act like a decent human being? Why is it so hard to realize that if you fix your deeds, you will have better leadership, you will have better place to live where your children can grow and live respectfully! Your future is in your own hands.

Salman Aug 09, 2014 07:41am

Pakistan needs Evolution not revolution, we are way too corrupt as a nation for revolution ... GO for Evolution survival of the fittest.

nsk Aug 09, 2014 07:42am

I don't understand why people such as IK and TUQ know very well that Pakistan is going through a very delicate period with the Waziristan operation and so many IDPs, so why would they want to make Pak's internal situation worse? Can't they wait until the next elections and then they can stand to be elected? Why are they so 'baechan'? No politician in the history of Pak is totally clean and corrupt free, but at least unite for the betterment of the nation.

The people are being manipulated to believe that by protesting and resorting to violence that it will bear fruit. The leaders take advantage of those members of society who are from the lowest education and economic classes, because these people are intellectually challenged and it is easier to use them to fulfill their own agendas. Ask yourself does TUQ really give a damn about any of the deaths of his workers? It's only public appearances for these leaders and they will go off to their nice luxurious homes, while the protesters will return to their katchi abadis.

Whether a policeman or a protester is injured or killed, just remember they both are somebody's son, husband, brother, or father and both lives are precious. I feel sorry for their families who are the ones who really suffer their loss. May Allah guide us through this difficult time and hope common sense prevails.

Muhammad Shoaib Aug 09, 2014 07:44am

Punjab Govt reaction is shameful. Hiltler will not do with jews in 2014 what Shahbaz Sharif is doing with PAT. Naked show of hubris and arrogance by SS which is causing more trouble than protest of TUQ would have caused.

Najib Aug 09, 2014 07:49am

The current Pakistan government is a democratically elected one and has the peoples mandate to pass laws. Why not revoke Dr Qadri's Pakistan Citizenship for inciting violence and disorder in Pakistan. Then expel Qadri.

A Kashifi Aug 09, 2014 07:55am

Sharif bros should call a dhandali free election instead using police undemocratically.

Amir Mahmood Aug 09, 2014 08:07am

Tahir ul Qadri should join his party workers on the street rather than sitting in his generator powered air conditioned living room.

stoptyranny Aug 09, 2014 08:09am

Honestly, while I do support the right to protest, pat is really taking it too far. If setting police stations on fire were to happen here (in America) the police would definitely open fire.

Syed Husain Aug 09, 2014 08:10am

After reading about all the dumb actions taken by Shareef brothers against Dr. Qadri and his followers, Shareef brothers should be ashamed of themselves. The two brothers need to be tried in court for murder and destruction of private property.

hakan Aug 09, 2014 08:38am

This is not revolutionary

This is same old gulluism from both sides

We don't need this specially during zarb-e-azb

noobguy19 Aug 09, 2014 08:44am

Until now I was thinking Qadri can handle Pakistan. But this guy is really a coward!

Faisal Aug 09, 2014 08:46am

Real sad state of affairs,no wonder there is so much chaos in Pakistan.to establish the state writ you attack north waziristan and here police couldn't take care of people with sticks.if the court issued the arrest warrant I don't think anything should come in the way to stop that.

taemoor khan Aug 09, 2014 08:49am

I can see another egypt emerging. I hope it does not become libya though.

Adeel Aug 09, 2014 09:12am

Qadri always use women as as sheild.I don't understand what is this guy up to.He is just trying to destroy Pakistan.If Imran will let him join his march then forget about peaceful protest.The supporter of qadri are mostly illiterate and always want to take law and order in hand.

Allahditta Aug 09, 2014 09:24am

Isn't incitement by a foreign national punishable under the Terrorist Act.

Kazi Aug 09, 2014 10:00am

Qadri and Imran Khan are agents of India and the west that are trying to incite violence in Pakistan to break it up. They should be arrested and tried in court of law.

Khalid Aug 09, 2014 10:27am

TUQ has no plan and agenda. he is playing with the fate of Pakistani nation to please his covet bosses. He is biggest dictator himself and even doesn't consult his party leaders. He will fail miserably because 1. He doesn't have any solid agenda. 2. He doesn't have second line leadership. 3. He can only shout and impress his followers/mureed's. (Mureed's are generally blind people who see god in their PEER). 4. He has support of all dejected players of Musharraf and probably all of them are united to free him. 5. See the participants, Chaudharies, MQM, PAT and PTI. 6. All of them are beneficiaries one way or the other. May Allah bless Pakistan and release us from clutches of opportunist people like TUQ and his associates.

jude Aug 09, 2014 10:27am

Dear Nawaz Sharif, please handle the protest wisely. We are on your side, we believe you are a better leader than the mullah who wants to take over any day.

ranganath Aug 09, 2014 11:00am

You do not succeed beating people in uniform, for without the uniform they too are ordinary citizens.

Blizter Aug 09, 2014 02:34pm

While we are at it, let's also approach the British gov't to get the citizenship of both the Sharifs cancelled for being directly responsible for the murder of 14 PAT protestors on June 17th in Model Town, Lahore.

There are no limits to the stupidity of the PML-N leadership. They are digging themselves a deeper grave with each passing day. And, Mr. Rana Mashood, please also get an FIR registered against your daddy, Mr. Shahbaz Sharif, your grand-daddy, Mr. Nawaz Sharif, and your clansman, Rana Sanaullah, for ordering the ruthless crackdown and the subsequent murder of the PAT activists last month.

Khwaja Aug 09, 2014 07:23pm

@Salman Do you even know what those two words mean? It's nigh on impossible for a thing gone bad to 'evolve' into something better. It always needs restructuring.