LAHORE: In a bid to seek justice in the Model Town case, the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) is going to re-launch its protest campaign against the PML-N government.
A decision taken a couple of days ago was announced here on Tuesday. The first rally in this respect will be held in Lahore on Jan 17 where schedule for the next phase will be announced.
Interestingly, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), a partner of the PAT in the Islamabad sit-it, is also going to announce on Jan 18 the next phase of its protest to seek a fair probe into alleged rigging in the 2013 general elections.
A PAT spokesman, however, said resumption of protests by both parties was a “mere coincidence”.
“Ours is just a re-scheduling of the Dec 17 rally that was to be taken out to mark six months of the Model Town incident and was postponed in the wake of the Peshawar school attack,” Muhammad Nurullah said, negating the impression the two “cousins-in-protest” were out for another ‘joint venture’. The party was likely to raise four demands at the rally, venue for which was yet to be finalised.
It would also seek making public the judicial commission report in the Model Town incident, disbanding of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT), which according to the PAT was formed by the government without consulting it, and referral of the case to a military court, said party President Dr Raheeq Abbasi.
He said so far they were planning to gather workers outside the Lahore Press Club. The venue could change if a bigger event was planned and requested Chairman Dr Tahirul Qadri to address protesters through video link from Canada.
Families of the Model Town victims would initiate a signature campaign against former principal secretary to the Punjab chief minister Dr Tauqir Shah, one of the accused in the Model Town case, at the PAT Secretariat on Wednesday (today). The petition along with a brief description of his alleged role in the incident would be sent to the World Trade Organisation secretariat in Geneva where Dr Shah had been nominated for its Pakistan representative, Dr Abbasi said.
He lamented that the government was forcing them to take to the streets as it was not making public the report of the judicial commission let alone prosecuting the suspects.
“To get the commission’s report we had to approach the high court but to everyone’s surprise, the home secretary has not yet sent it to the court despite strict orders. In the presence of this government we don’t believe we can get justice.”
He reiterated his party’s stance that Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif should resign before any inquiry commission started its investigation. The PAT, which refused to join proceedings of the present JIT, would fully cooperate if investigators were nominated after consulting the party, he added.
Published in Dawn, January 14th, 2015