PM Khan calls Tahirul Qadri, promises justice for Model Town victims

Published September 27, 2018
PM Imran Khan and PAT Chief Tahirul Qadri stand together during 2014 sit-ins. — Photo/File
PM Imran Khan and PAT Chief Tahirul Qadri stand together during 2014 sit-ins. — Photo/File

Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan called Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) Chief Tahirul Qadri after the Lahore High Court (LHC) rejected revision pleas filed by PAT in connection with the Model Town case, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) media cell said on Thursday.

On Wednesday, an LHC full bench had rejected two sets of appeals filed on a private complaint of the PAT/Idara Minhajul Quran challenging a trial court’s decision regarding the 2014 Model Town incident.

The PAT, in its appeal, had challenged the decision of an anti-terrorism court to the extent of not summoning 12 people (all former or current parliamentarians of the PML-N), nominated by the party in its private complaint.

The 12 parliamentarians against whom the ATC had rejected the complaint, include former premier Nawaz Sharif, former chief minister (now Opposition Leader in the National Assembly) Shahbaz Sharif, now Punjab Assembly opposition leader Hamza Shahbaz, former law minister Rana Sanaullah, former railways minister Khwaja Saad Rafiq, former defence minister (current MNA) Khwaja Asif, former information minister Pervez Rashid, former state minister Abid Sher Ali, former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, then personal secretary to chief minister Syed Tauqir Shah, former home secretary Azam Suleman and then Lahore Commissioner Rashid Mahmood Langrial.

PM Khan, in his phone call to Qadri today, promised that he would instruct the Punjab chief minister to ensure that action is taken against those behind the Model Town massacre.

PM Khan and Qadri share a political history, having both been key influencers in the 2014 dharna in Islamabad. Khan

"There will be no compromise on the equal enforcement of the law," the prime minister was quoted as saying. "Those responsible for the bloodshed of innocent people cannot be allowed to escape the justice system."

The premier told the PAT chief that the provision of quick justice without discrimination, in both civilian and criminal cases, is one of the primary goals of the PTI government. He vowed that those responsible for the Model Town incident will be produced before the court.

Qadri reportedly thanked the premier for "giving [the victims] a ray of hope for justice" and "lauded the PM's vision to uphold justice in the country".

Qadri vows to continue 'legal battle'

Separately, PAT Chairman Tahirul Qadri said in a press conference that his party will continue its "legal battle" and will not surrender.

He said that the party had reservations over the verdict and planned to challenge the LHC's verdict in the Supreme Court.

Qadri questioned the bench's refusal to summon the former parliamentarians that were named in PAT's appeal, alleging that they were guilty of planning and ordering the massacre in Model Town.

"The punishment for both murder and abetment is defined [in the Pakistan Penal Code]," Qadri said. "Should we now erase abetment from the Pakistan Penal Code?"

He further claimed that since "planners and conspirators" work behind the scenes, circumstantial evidence must be considered to see if there is a connection between the suspect and the crime.

At least 14 persons were killed and over 100 injured during the anti-encroachment operation outside the Model Town residence of PAT chief Dr Tahirul Qadri on June 17, 2014.

A subsequent judicial inquiry report on the incident had pointed fingers at then Punjab law minister Rana Sanaullah and the Punjab police for what had transpired that day.

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