Fiery cleric Dr Tahirul Qadri, who galvanised his Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) followers in a campaign to oust Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, called off his Inquilab sit-in on Tuesday after a record 67 days in the nation’s capital.
“I announce the end of the sit-in at the D-Chowk,” Qadri told his supporters. The PAT leader said that the sit-in had morphed into a revolution which will be spread to each and every corner of the country.
“I allow you to pack your belongings and proceed towards your homes. God bless you”, said Qadri, saluting the courage and commitment of his supporters.
Despite the government’s brutalities against PAT workers and the hurdles it placed in their way, hundreds of thousands of people lined the streets of Islamabad to voice their demands and play their part in the unfolding revolution, he said.
Dr Qadri’s decision to end the sit-in is expected to test the resolve of its partner in the cause, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), which is continuing its campaign against the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz at D-Chowk.
Not too long after the PAT leader’s announcement, PTI made it clear that it would hold its ground till Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s resignation. “I will not leave this container unless Prime Minister Nawaz Shairf resigns and there is an independent inquiry into rigging in the 2013 general elections,” PTI chief Imran Khan said while addressing the sit-in at D-Chowk of the Constitution Avenue.
Imran justified his party’s sit-in saying “we have been denied justice” and the government was formed through rigged elections in violation of the constitution.
Earlier Qadri said that government is not ready to form a neutral and independent Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe into the Model Town incident.
“We cannot sell the blood of 14 martyrs by striking any deal with the government which is responsible for the killings”, the PAT chief said.
Future PAT strategy
While announcing his party’s future strategy, he said, there will be a sit-in in every city for at least two days each, where people will be mobilised for the cause of revolution. “The revolution has reached each and everyone and each corner of the country due to your struggle and commitment”, he added.
On October 23, he will address a rally in Abbottabad and then PAT will continue its rallies and sit-ins in different cities after Muharram. According to one of his tweets, the revolution sit-in will take place in Bakkar on November 23, Sargodha on December 5, Sialkot on December 14 and Mazar-e-Quaid in Karachi on December 25.
Dr Qadri had taken PML-Q into confidence at the time of calling off the sit-in. PML-Q secretary general Mushahid Hussain Sayed told The Express Tribune that there was a meeting between Dr Qadri and PML-Q President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain at 5 pm on Tuesday.
Sources said that the allied parties of PAT had met in Lahore and agreed to end the D-Chowk sit-in before Muharram.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has directed all parliamentarians from the ruling party to show grace and not to pass any negative comment against PAT following Dr Qadri’s decision to abandon the Islamabad dharna.
He also instructed his PML-N ministers and other party leaders not to be arrogant. Instead, he said, they should focus on their work to make Pakistan prosperous and successful in the comity of nations.
Imran challenges NA speaker
Addressing National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq who defeated Imran Khan in Lahore, Imran asked, “how long would you delay the recounting of votes in your constituencies because I am not leaving this place until the audit of votes starts.”
Talking about the resignation of the PTI not being accepted by National Assembly, he said “what is this drama that you are not accepting our resignation? Neither we recognise you nor this assembly, so accept our resignation.”
He also announced that PTI would file case against the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for not displaying form 14 (result sheet at a polling station) and form 15 on its website. In order to substantiate his point, he referred to a constituency of Sargodha from where Prime Minister had contested elections and said “the total numbers of votes in polling station number 104 was 1,500 but 7,800 votes were found in the ballot box.”
“If there was an error then the elections should be declared null and void,” he added.
Imran asked people of Islamabad to get ready for a protest demonstration in front of Pemra against its decision to shut down ARY NEWS. “The rulers have dented democracy and we will hold a protest demonstration in front of the Pemra office,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 22nd, 2014.
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