Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Dr. Tahirul Qadri has predicted the fall of the government before the end of August. “Nawaz Sharif has to decide which government – federal or provincial – should go first,” Dr. Qadri said while speaking at a news conference at the Minhajul Quran Secretariat in Lahore on Sunday.
Over a dozen PAT workers were killed and scores more injured in a police crackdown at the Minhajul Quran Secretariat in Model Town on June 17. Dr. Qadri announced that his party would observe a Youm-e-Shuhada (Martyrs Day) on August 10 to honour those who had died in the tragedy.
The PAT chief lashed out at the government for ‘mishandling the Model Town incident’, saying that the matter would have been dealt with differently if it had happened in the West. “The police have not registered the FIR on our complaint even one-and-a-half month after the incident,” he lamented.
Dr. Qadri blamed Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif for the killing of his party activists on that fateful day, claiming that he has a complete record of the telephone calls made by and to the chief minister during the entire episode.
He said his party activists could stage a massive vigil with the bodies of the victims outside the Punjab Assembly and the Chief Minister House and demand the sacking of the provincial government. They could also seal off Lahore city, if not the entire country. They could even ransack the Jati Umra palaces. “But we didn’t do that because we didn’t want chaos, we wanted peace,” he added. “We adopted the legal course to seek justice.”
Talking about the government crackdown on PAT workers on June 23 – the day of his homecoming – in Islamabad, he claimed that 1,400 of his followers were arrested, some of them on terrorism charges, who haven’t been granted bail yet.
He said that they have two cases against the government: the mass murder of PAT workers in Model Town, and the political, social and economic murder of 180 million people of Pakistan. “The first case demands Qisas and second, a revolution,” he added.
Dr. Qadri warned the administration against creating hurdles for PAT workers coming from different parts of the country to participate in Youm-e-Shuhada at Minhajul Quran Secretariat. He also threatened to observe the day at Jati Umrah, the residence of the Sharif family, if the provincial administration and police tried to thwart their plans.
“You’re the servants of the state, not of the Sharif brothers. There will be no one to save you by the end of this month because the government will be gone by then,” Dr. Qadri said directly addressing the police. “Our activists will drag you out of your homes and thrash you up.”
The PAT chief said if the Sharif brothers wanted to save their palatial mansions, they should stop repressing the people. If the Western world thinks there is democracy and rule of law in Pakistan, it’s wrong or doesn’t have understanding of the situation here, he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 4th,2014.