Qadri vows to take Sharifs to task for Model Town incident

Published August 16, 2017
PAT leader Tahirul Qadri addresses crowd at Istanbul Chowk. — Screengrab
PAT leader Tahirul Qadri addresses crowd at Istanbul Chowk. — Screengrab

In an effort to "request" the Lahore High Court (LHC) to make the Najfi commission report on the 2014 Model Town tragedy public, the families of the victims — on Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chairman Tahirul Qadri's call — staged a sit-in on Lahore's Mall Road on Wednesday.

Along with Qadri, the protesters were joined by Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf's Fawad Chaudhry and Firdous Ashiq Awan.

While addressing the protesters, Qadri said that the "murderers" of the Model Town victims "have only lost their position in the government" after the Panamagate case verdict, "but the time is not far when you will lose your life for murdering the innocent people of Model Town."

Assuring the crowd that he would not stop until the culprits of the Model Town incident have been taken to task, Qadri said: "The struggle is not over yet. We will continue on this path until justice is served."

Targeting former prime minister Nawaz Sharif's for his 'new narrative', Qadri said: "You tell people today that you have taken the responsibility of preserving the sanctity of the vote, but I ask you this: who trampled over the sanctity of vote [in the first place]?"

Qadri raged: "If you were truly democratic and had respected the public's vote, you would have come out on GT Road during the '90s. Instead, you contributed in ousting Benazir Bhutto from office and became PM yourself."

Levelling more allegations against the thrice de-seated ex-PM, Qadri said: "You [Nawaz Sharif] introduced dirty politics in the country. You started the culture of buying MPAs [provincial ministers] with sacks of money."

"[Punjab Chief Minister] Shahbaz Sharif says the ashrafiya have looted the country. Do you know what ashrafiya (elite) means? It is the plural of sharif in Arabic: so you are right, the ashrafiya have indeed robbed this nation," Qadri said, taking a dig at the Sharif family.

Administrative kerfuffle

Yesterday, the deputy commissioner (DC) of Lahore had turned down PAT's request to stage a sit-in on Istanbul Chowk on The Mall on August 16 due to the imposition of Section-144 in the area, which forbids more than four people to gather in one place.

A spokesperson for the DC had also said that a sit-in on a thoroughfare on a weekday would cause difficulties to the public. The local administration had asked the PAT to stage their sit-in at Nasir Bagh instead.

However, after meeting with the Lahore administration and the local business community, the Lahore High Court had allowed the PAT to go ahead with its sit-in on Istanbul Chowk provided that it ended at 10pm.

The court had also directed Lahore police to provide security to the participants of the sit-in.

Model Town tragedy

In June 2014, seven people, including members of the PAT, were killed during a clash between PAT protesters and policemen in Lahore, after several area residents protested against the barriers placed outside Qadri’s house in Model Town.

At least 80 others were injured in the clashes that had broken out when police went to the party's headquarters in Model Town and PAT activists resisted their operations.

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