Voting boycott: Qadri absent from PAT sit-in at The Mall

Published: May 12, 2013

Awami Tehreek supporters protest against the election process at The Mall. PHOTO: SHAFIQ MALIK/EXPRESS

LAHORE: 

The Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) staged a sit-in at The Mall in a protest against elections on Saturday, despite a ban on such protests on polling day.

PAT chief Dr Tahirul Qadri had promised to lead the protest and was in Lahore, but did not participate in the sit-in at the service road between Masjid-i-Shuhada and Charing Cross, disappointing many of his supporters. He addressed the protesters via a video link from his Model Town residence.

The participants stayed at the venue from 9am to 5pm, waving placards and banners and chanting slogans against the voting. They received lunch boxes from the party. Security was tight to ensure that there were no clashes with supporters of other parties. Raheeq Abbasi was the senior PAT leader at the sit-in.

In his address, Dr Qadri vowed to alter “the corrupt electoral system”. He said the PAT’s were the first “successful” sit-ins against the elections.

He said they would continue their struggle till there was “real change” in the country. He said the PAT was fighting against all parties that were trying to maintain the status quo.

He congratulated the PAT workers for their persistence.

He said that no single party could get a majority because of the electoral system. He predicted that “the party speaking about change” would “also join the corrupt”. He said that all the election campaigns had been sleazy. He said that the elections would result in “5 to 10 per cent new faces” and the rest would remain the same. He said his predictions made on December 23 were coming true.

“The political parties will start slinging mud at each other. At the end of this month, there will be massive horse-trading and the whole nation will remember what I said about this corrupt system,” he said.

Dr Qadri said that parties that had opposed the PAT were now themselves boycotting the elections, an apparent reference to the Jamat-i-Islami’s announcement in Karachi. The party forming government would only be able to do so after spending millions of rupees on buying seats.

A participant at the sit-in said that he was disappointed that his leader had not turned up. “Apparently he avoided coming to the venue because of security concerns,” he said. “But the lives of PAT activists are also at risk. We came here with our families.”

Published in The Express Tribune, May 12th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (4)

  • Muz Rafiq
    May 12, 2013 - 4:41PM

    This article has spoken without any facts and the impact of the Nationwide Protests achieved. First of all the protests were nationwide and were done all over Pakistan wth great attendance. People in their masses turned up to boycott the corrupt elections of Pakistan. People know that the same faces will come back to power and take every single resource away from Pakistan. The only way to defeat this system is to boycott and reject it.

    In regards of Dr Tahir ul Qadri he had to address Lahore and all the other protests throughout the country.

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  • Fahd Riaz Ali
    May 12, 2013 - 6:23PM

    @Muz Rafiq

    Qadri is a joke,just like your comment claiming that “protests were nationwide and were done all over Pakistan wth great attendance”

    I can’t beleive people have the audacity to just claim that “18 crore awaam hamaray sath hai”

    May Allah save us from all fitnah.Including those of Corrupt so called “scholars” which Pakistan has an abidance off.

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  • Muhsin
    May 12, 2013 - 7:59PM

    Predictions of Dr. Qadri come true. Massive rigging in elections. Corrupt officers in election commission. Use of money was at peak to purchase the presiding officers. Fake ballot papers and boxes. Yet the ECP says elections were 100% free and fair.

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  • Saj
    May 13, 2013 - 6:19AM

    Rigging in Pakistani election every one knows happens. There is no point in just saying it and hoping 4 some brownie points from supporters. Wat has qadari Saab done to prevent it. Rather then just using election to boost his own profile.

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