- Say PAT chief wants to revamp country’s ailing system, doesn’t want to be PM
The “committed” and “devoted” supporters of Pakistan Awami Tehreek chief Dr Tahirul Qadri staged a sit-in at Lahore’s Mall Road on Friday to commemorate the second anniversary of the Model Town tragedy in which 14 PAT workers were killed and more than 100 wounded in a clash with the Punjab Police on June 17, 2014.
Originally the sit-in was supposed to begin at 6:00 pm, but participation of the demonstrators was very low even after Iftar, as Qadri was not there on the stage till 10:00 pm.
Most of the participants Pakistan Today spoke to said their leader (Qadri) did not want to get the reins of the country into his hands, as he just wanted to revamp the country’s ailing system.
An ardent supporter of Qadri since 1990, Muhammad Ameen Chisti who comes from Okara district, told this scribe that he was present at the secretariat of Minhajul Quran in Model Town when 14 innocent PAT workers were brutally killed by personnel of the Punjab Police.
“These rulers are corrupt. Everything is clear now after the Panama leaks. They will not give us justice. The only figure in the country who can give us justice is Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif,” said the 78-year-old.
Another PAT worker, Hafiz Muhammad Asad of Gujranwala, said he would not leave for his home till the order of his leader Tahirul Qadri and would remain present at the venue of the sit-in.
“I spent 70 days in Islamabad during our (PAT’s) sit-in. I was completely enlightened by the speeches our leader delivered,” said Asad who was also beaten up by the Punjab Police in Model Town in 2014. “I cannot erase those bitter memories from my mind.” he went on to say.
Muhammad Akram, another PAT worker from Sahiwal division, said, “Qadri is the only saviour of this country. His heart beats with every citizen of Pakistan, even when he in Canada.”
“Our organisation has also made arrangements for Sehr meal. The meal is being cooked at our Model Town secretariat,” he said, and vowed to remain present at the venue till the last orders of Qadri.
Sabeeha Akhtar, a female demonstrator told Pakistan Today that the government had committed barbarism two years ago and the blood of the martyrs would not go in vain. “We have come here with our families to show our allegiance to Sheikhul Islam Dr Tahirul Qadri,” she said. Criticising the rulers, Sabeeha said that “they have failed to dispense justice, but justice will be served by Allah Almighty on the day of judgement.”
Meanwhile, all markets and shops at The Mall remained closed the whole day due to the sit-in. Muhammad Saleem, a shopkeeper at the Panorama Shopping Centre, said his business had already suffered a lot due to frequent protests at Mall Road. He said political and religious parties must not be allowed to stage protest at Mall Road. “These are our peak days since Eidul Fitr is inching closer, but we were forced to close our shops due to the sit-in which is completely unfair,” said the dejected Saleem.