Firebrand cleric Dr Tahirul Qadri on Thursday said the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has conceded a ‘psychological defeat’ through its latest actions against Pakistan Awami Tehreek and claimed that the rulers were preparing to flee the country.
Amid reports of a crackdown on PAT workers in Punjab, Qadri claimed a victory for his revolution. “Punjab police raided the houses of PAT workers… this shows the government is panicking and is in no position to stop this imminent revolution,” he told reporters at his Model Town residence in Lahore.
The PAT chief added that the registration of an FIR against him was ‘the first step towards the revolution’ and that the “unconstitutional and illegal government” was close to collapse now.
Qadri said the PML-N leadership wanted to leave the country before the findings of the joint investigation team (JIT) probing the June 17 deaths of PAT workers were made public.
“The Sharif family, in particular, is planning to seek asylum in the United States,” the PAT chief said. “They have even applied for visas for their maid and cook… the forms were attested by Hamza Shahbaz himself.”
However, Qadri claimed, there is no place for the Sharifs to hide. “They may be ready to flee, but no one will provide them shelter… Neither Saudi Arabia nor Britain will offer any protection.”
Talking about the possibility of his name being placed on the exit control list (ECL), Qadri said, “We will place you [the rulers] on the ECL… the people will hold you accountable.” He pledged that he would not leave the country without bringing about a revolution.
The PAT chief urged the public to step outside their homes and prevent the rulers from leaving the country. He said, regardless of police harassment, people would gather in larger numbers for PAT’s ‘Shuhada Day’. PAT’s revolution, he added, would ‘provide justice to the entire nation’.
In an interview with Imran Khan, the host of the Express News programme Takrar, Qadri said: “A process of change which will see the uprooting of the present corrupt system and the emergence of a revolutionary government put in place by the people will start with Shuhada Day on August 10.”
Asked how this revolution with come about, the PAT chief said he will disclose it in his speech on Shuhada Day.
Qadri rejected the suggestion that he had been given covert assurances by certain forces.To a question regarding the installation of barricades and youngsters armed with batons in areas near his residence, he said it was the reaction to the June 17 ‘massacre’ of PAT workers. “This is all they have to defend themselves,” he said.
“I have never allowed my workers to bear or use weapons and they only have sticks to face the brute force of oppressive rulers that have usurped the basic rights of the nation.”
To a question regarding filing of a sedition case against him, Qadri said the FIR of the victims of June 17 has not been registered, but a report by an unconcerned civilian was lodged immediately and instantly turned into a case.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 8th, 2014.