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ISLAMABAD: Announcing that his party will participate in the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) protest with “full force” on Jan 18, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan on Thursday urged Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Saqib Nisar to take notice of the Model Town tragedy.

Speaking at a news conference at his Banigala residence, Mr Khan said the chief justice should immediately take up the matter as the government had failed to provide justice to the victims of the incident.

“Mr Chief Justice, as a Pakistani, I demand of you to kindly take suo motu notice of the Model Town incident because four years have passed and the case is heading nowhere,” Mr Khan said, adding that as long as Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and Law Minister Rana Sanaullah stayed in office, the victims would not get justice.

Mr Khan also asked the chief justice to take notice of the spending of what he claimed Rs7 billion in four years on providing security to the Sharifs. He said that on the one hand the life and property of citizens was not safe, but on the other 2,500 policemen had been deployed to provide security to the “royal family”.

Referring to Sharif’s remarks about Mujeeb, PTI chief says it appears former PM wants to send some message to India

The PTI chief said that when people would not get justice then they were left with no other option but to come on the streets. He regretted that no action had so far been taken against the police officials involved in the killing of 14 PAT activists. “The whole nation was watching the policemen open fire on innocent people in Model Town. As many as 100 people received bullet wounds and 14 were murdered. Four years have passed and the family members of the victims still remain without justice.”

PAT chief Dr Tahirul Qadri has given a call to launch an anti-government movement from Jan 17 after expiry of the deadline (Jan 7) given by him and other opposition parties for the resignation of Shahbaz Sharif and Rana Sanaullah over their alleged complicity in the Model Town tragedy.

Mr Khan said that Dr Qadri was bringing his people out on Jan 17 and he would join him along with his “tigers” the next day.

“I ask my tigers (workers) to be ready,” Mr Khan said. The PTI chief evaded a question whether his participation in the protest would be symbolic or he would stay with the PAT chief till the acceptance of the latter’s demands.

Speaking on the murder and rape of six-year-old Zainab in Kasur, he said the people, including the victim’s father, had been looking towards the CJP and the army chief for justice because they had lost faith in the Punjab police and the government.

“It is not as if these kinds of crimes do not happen in other countries, but a civilised society takes steps to prevent such incidents from happening in future,” he said, adding that it was the 12th such case reported from Kasur. He said this incident might not have happened had stern action been taken against the culprits involved in the 2015 Kasur child abuse scandal.

He condemned the police for opening fire on the protesters in Kasur, terming it a follow-up of the Model Town incident. “Does a professional police force do this?” he asked.

Referring to Nawaz Sharif’s recent remarks likening himself with East Pakistan leader Sheikh Mujeebur Rehman, the PTI chief said it seemed that the former prime minister wanted to send some message to India.

He said that Nawaz Sharif had no stakes in the country’s politics as he could not contest the elections in future. Therefore, he alleged, Mr Sharif wanted to disrupt the system. He reiterated his demand for early elections in the country.

The PTI chief, whose party is heading the coalition government in Khyber Pakhtnukhwa, claimed that the law and order situation had significantly improved in the province due to police reforms. He presented statistics to prove his claim about decline in crime rate in the province.

“Despite spending 19 years in government in the province, not a single institution has been reformed by the Sharifs,” he alleged, adding that with the introduction of the reforms, the performance of the Punjab police could also be improved.

Published in Dawn, January 12th, 2018