LAHORE: The day dawned early at the Pakistan Awami Tehreek camp in Model Town on Thursday as more than 16,000 party workers and their children prepared to set out on the Inqilab March.
There was no time for breakfast however PAT president Raheeq Abbasi said the level of enthusiasm at the camp had never been higher. “Our workers haven’t had breakfast and we don’t have medicines to give to the elderly in our camp, but we have gathered here to bring about true democracy and topple the government. That is what we are geared for,” Abbasi said.
He said their party’s head Dr Tahirul Qadri had issued a 10-point agenda to bring down the present corrupt system. “His method will help overcome the economic crisis and create job opportunities for the unemployed youth.”
Abbasi said that the Inqilab March would be peaceful and they would return after their demands were met.
By the time baton-wielding men, and women and children packed up their belongings and prepared to march, law enforcement personnel had blocked all 11 entrances to M-Block in Model Town.
At around 10am leaders of all political parties supporting the PAT, including Raja Nasir Abbas Jafri of the Majlis-i-Wahdatul Muslimeen and Sahabzada Hamid Raza of Sunni Tehreek gathered to consult with Qadri.
At around the time, the roads leading to Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid’s Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Chaudhry Pervez Elahi’s residence were packed with party workers, some of who had travelled all the way from Gujranwala, Kharian, Gujrat and Faisalabad.
PML-Q leader Majida Zaidi told The Express Tribune that their preparations were complete and they would fully support Qadri’s call for a revolution.
The containers surrounding Model Town were removed after 1:30pm when Qadri gave the government a written understanding that the march would remain peaceful. Muttahida Qaumi Movement also gave assurance, on behalf of PAT, that the march would remain peaceful.
At around 2pm a kilometre-long cavalcade headed by Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi left for Model Town. However, they were advised to wait for PAT workers to join them at the Canal. At around 2:15 pm more than 16,000 PAT workers marched from the Minhajul Quran Secretariat in Model Town in buses, cars and on foot.
PML-Q Punjab president Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi told The Express Tribune that they did not expect the march to arrive in Islamabad on Thursday. He said such marches could take days at times but “we are prepared for any eventuality. We will not abandon Qadri”.
Elahi said this time the police had refused to take action against PAT workers despite pressure from the government because they had been unfairly blamed for the June 17 operation in Model Town. “This time, they refused to use force,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 15th,2014.
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