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LAHORE, Jan 11: Dr Tahirul Qadri emphatically stated on Friday his Jan 14 march on Islamabad would be held as scheduled despite the Muttahida Qaumi Movement having retracted its pledge to join the Qadri caravan.

“It is our long march and not of the MQM. We consider their withdrawal as their democratic right and we are very grateful to the MQM leadership for extending support to us till to date. But there should be no confusion about our move as the march will be held at all cost. We will not return from Islamabad till acceptance of our demands,” Dr Qadri said at a press conference at his party’s central secretariat in Model Town.

He said that since high courts of Islamabad and Lahore had rejected three petitions and declared that the long march was not against the law or the Constitution, those trying to stop or sabotage it would be committing contempt of court.

He accused the authorities of forcing transporters to return the advance paid to them by the Tehrik-i-Minhajul Quran (TMQ).

Terming Islamabad a Karbala and his march a battle between right and wrong, he said he was mentally prepared to ‘do or die’ by following the example set by the caravan of Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA). He said he didn’t know whether he would remain alive and how many people would be with him till the end, but he would request his workers to remain peaceful and always avoid avenging his ‘assassination’, if done by someone.

“Before leaving for the long march, I will also give some instructions to my family members through a will what they will have to do if someone kills me during this move,” the TMQ chief said.

He condemned the bomb and suicide attacks in Quetta and Swat and he said it was a total failure and inability of the government. Rather, he said, rulers were themselves promoters of terrorist activities across the country.

“In developed countries the governments resign if they fail to cope with such situations. But the rulers here don’t follow this good practice and prefer enjoying the rule in these circumstances. So it is evident that despite having all resources, they are encouraging and promoting terrorism that has been frequently claiming the lives of many people for 10 years,” he said.

Dr Qadri said as the rulers might attack the peaceful marchers through hired assassins, they would be directly responsible for any sort of untoward incident.

“If I, or any of the marchers, was killed, the TMQ will nominate President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, Interior Minister Rehman Malik, PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and Law Minister Rana Sanaullah as prime suspects in the FIR,” he said.

Answering a question, Dr Qadri said he didn’t know about the ‘political drone’ of MQM chief Altaf Hussain before his speech. He said journalists should better ask the MQM about Mr Hussain’s remarks about Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah.