LAHORE: Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Dr Tahirul Qadri has asked his supporters to observe the ‘martyrs day’ and hold sit-ins in their own districts on Sunday in case they fail to reach Lahore because of restrictions put in place by the government.
The Punjab government’s decision to remove containers from some roads in the city and elsewhere has given hope to the PAT that a good number of its workers may make it to Model Town, Lahore, on Sunday.
Know more: Qadri’s demands
Sources in PAT told Dawn that Dr Qadri was likely to give a call for “revolution march” to his supporters on Sunday and the main procession might set off from Model Town on Monday.
Dr Qadri met PML-Q leaders Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Pervez Elahi and Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid and discussed with them his future course of action.
PML-Q, AML leaders consulted about future plan
“Dr Qadri will have another round of consultations with the Chaudhrys and other allies on Sunday at his residence to decide whether he should lead the march or stay back in Model Town,” a source said.
He said there were two opinions in the Qadri camp — first, he should lead the march and second if he leads the march the government will arrest him, which can result in bloodshed.
“The tempo Qadri’s supporters have set will be picked up by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf in the coming days. And this appears to be a mutual plan of both parties,” he said.
“We will be more than happy if up to 10,000 PAT workers manage to reach Model Town,” the PAT source said.
Dr Qadri told a news conference that the ‘martyrs day’ would be observed at any cost. “Seeing police brutality, I ask my party workers to stay in their towns and observe the day and hold sit-ins there. However, those who manage to make it to Lahore can take their chances,” he said.
He said Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had issued orders to the authorities to open fire on his party workers who were trying to come to Lahore.
“This is worst kind of atrocity the rulers are committing against innocent people. The government has besieged Model Town for five days. It stopped the supply of food and medicines to the area turning it into Gaza,” he said.
Dr Qadri said the rulers should be tried for committing treason because they had violated articles 9, 15, 16 and 6 of the Constitution.
“The incumbent rulers are the enemies of people and I wonder why the other state institutions are silent over their brutality,” he remarked.
Chaudhry Shujaat, Pervez Elahi and Sheikh Rashid were stopped by police two kilometres from the residence of Dr Qadri. After an argument of about half an hour, they were allowed to proceed on foot.
Chaudhry Shujaat said: “How many people the civil dictators will kill.” He asked why the judiciary was silent and not taking notice of the killing of innocent people and suspension of fundamental rights.
“We will succeed in our objective ahead of Aug 14. We have not given up patience as yet. We are trying that Imran Khan and Dr Tahirul Qadri run the movement together.”
Pervez Elahi said Punjab had been sealed and people made hostage, even ambulances were not being provided petrol. “Food items and other articles of necessity are gradually finishing. The civil dictators should tell as how many they wanted to kill.” He said there was no example of such oppression, brutality and violence in Punjab. “It seems as if unannounced curfew has been imposed. Model Town has been turned into sub-jail through use of force,” Mr Elahi said.
Sheikh Rashid termed the National Security Conference meeting a “photo session of Nawaz Sharif’s own security like Z.A. Bhutto had held such a meeting with the army generals in 1977”.
He said he wanted to make it clear on behalf of Imran Khan that there was no talk about 10 seats with Sirajul Haq.
However, whosoever had enforced Article 245 it had not benefited him.
“The PML-N wants to keep Imran Khan and Dr Tahirul Qadri separate. Dr Qadri commands respect and Imran Khan is the name of national sentiments and love,” he said.
Published in Dawn, August 10th, 2014