Upon Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s instructions, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif ordered the removal of all shipping containers used as barricades on roads across the province immediately in order to allow Pakistan Awami Tehreek leader Dr Tahirul Qadri to observe ‘Youm-e-Shuhada’ in Model Town, Lahore, The Express Tribune has learnt.
According to sources, Chaudhry Nisar, who was in charge of strategy to deal with the scheduled Youm-e-Shuhada on August 10 (today), has submitted his initial report to the prime minister as he arrived in Lahore Saturday evening to attend the wedding ceremony of his nephew’s daughter at Jati Umra, Raiwind.
According to the report prepared by Chaudhry Nisar and Shahbaz Sharif, the Punjab government arrested around 1,525 PAT workers from across the province. The prime minister was informed that the Punjab police, with the support of commissioners and district coordination officers, have arrested key PAT activists from the province, sources said. The report further suggested that if Qadri decides to observe Youm-e-Shuhada, it will be a peaceful event as these key activists will be unable to participate.
Sources said that Chaudhry Nisar suggested that PAT workers be restricted to their native districts. On Friday, the interior minister presided over a meeting in which commissioners, regional police officers, the IG Police and chief secretary participated in order to discuss this plan.
Sources said that Qadri’s possible arrest was discussed but the idea has been dismissed for the moment. The interior minister, prime minister and provincial chief minister have reportedly agreed to initiate legal proceedings against Qadri for the deaths of two police constables at Bhear (Sargodha) and Babo Sabo interchange in Lahore. On Friday, police registered a case against Qadri in Jhang and these two additional cases will be registered under Section 302 of the PPC.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 10th, 2014.
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