Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Tahirul Qadri on Wednesday said that Prime Minister Imran Khan’s set was “stained with the blood of Model Town martyrs”.
On June 17, 2014, at least 14 people were killed and over 100 sustained injuries when the Punjab Police opened fire on PAT workers during an anti-encroachment operation outside the residence of Dr Tahirul Qadri in Lahore’s upscale neighbourhood, Model Town.
Addressing his party supporters via audio link in the Punjab capital today, Qadri expressed concern over delay in delivering justice in the case and demanded of the premier to end criminal cases against the party workers through executive order while ensuring speedy justice.
"The seat of power is stained with the blood of martyrs… PTI is in power. When will the justice be served? What is the obstacle now? [former army chief General (retd)] Raheel Sharif had promised serving justice to the victims of Model Town tragedy, [former chief justice] Saqib Nisar had promised Bismah for justice, [PM] Imran Khan had also made same promises but seven-and-a-half years have passed and promises are yet to be fulfilled," he added.
The PAT chief said that he had vowed against staging more street protests before the Supreme Court and still stands by it today. "We would only approach the court. I have already announced my retirement from politics and have no intention of returning to it," he clarified.
The firebrand cleric further said that it was not his party's way to seek justice by resorting to gun violence or terrorism. "Those against whom you used to deliver speeches are now your guardians. I hope the prime minister will do justice," he said while addressing the premier.
No heads rolled despite the devastating incident and all those involved are still running their offices, lamented Qadri. "The powerful are not afraid because they know that no action will be taken against them."
Tahirul Qadri reiterated that his party will not make any compromises on the issue. "I want to remind the nation that if justice is not served, we will continue to fight the legal battle," he announced.
PAT Secretary General Khurram Nawaz Gandapur, speaking on the occasion, said that they would protest in front of Nasir Bagh on June 13 to remind the ‘institutions’ to provide justice.
Following allegations of massive rigging in 2013 general elections, PTI and PAT had staged joint protest against the PML-N government a few years ago, when Qadri and Khan were considered "political cousins".
PTI chairman Imran and Qadri never merged their protest marches but also did not disavow each other. Although the marches were organised on different routes, mirroring each other, it became apparent that the parties had similar objectives.