Women protesters rise above party lines for justice for Zainab, Model Town victims

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  • PAT protesters say ready to change protest into a sit-in on one call of their leader

LAHORE: A large number of female workers belonging to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) joined the Pakistan Awami Tehreek-led (PAT) protest at Lahore’s Faisal Chowk with one “unanimous” demand: justice for Zainab and the victims of the Model Town carnage.

The united opposition gathered in a bid to mount pressure on Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Law Minister Rana Sanaullah to resign from their posts for their alleged involvement in the 2014 Model Town incident which resulted in deaths of 14 PAT members.

Speaking to Pakistan Today, PPP Gujrat Women Wing member Tanzeela said that she had come to the rally to get justice for the victims of the Model Town incident. “These people [government] are traitors and they’re looting the country. They should just resign,” she demanded.

She was attending the rally along with a small group of women led by Gujrat District President Wazirun Nisa.

“We believe that it’s time now to make a change,” she further said.

Refuting the rumours that the attendees were paid money to attend the rally, Tanzeela said, “We are here out of our own free will, and only transport was provided by the women wing president.”

A PTI worker Rabia, while talking to Pakistan Today, said that the country is in shambles and it is time that somebody stood up for it. “Everyone in this country is corrupt. Everything is just wrong,” she added.

Referring to the development projects undertaken by the Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif, she said that the traffic is in a state of mess due to mismanagement and citizens are facing difficulties left, right, and centre. “This is just the beginning, and if we stick to it, we will manage to topple the government,” she exclaimed.

Another PTI worker, Saba Butt, told Pakistan Today that she lives just half an hour away from Kasur where Zainab was brutally murdered. “I was deeply touched by the incident,” she said.

Referring to the infamous Kasur pornography scandal, she said, “We’re here not only for Zainab but for all those boys in Kasur who never got any justice.”

She said that citizens have not yet forgotten Kainat, who in a case similar to that of Zainab was raped and then left in a dump to die. “We’re here to get justice for that poor girl Kainat who is now living her life in a state of coma,” Saba said.

She further said that all these tragedies prove that the government has failed completely. “The victims will only get justice if the government goes. All the parties now stand united because we all want the corrupt PML-N government to resign.”

“They should all resign and should be replaced by PTI because Imran Khan deserves to be in power,” she further said.  “We will stay here for as long as it takes for us to get justice, and even if this protest turns into a sit-in, we are ready for that as well,” she resolved.

She said that the “protestors do not care about any court orders”. “We are with the judiciary but in matters like this, we won’t abide by any court orders,” Saba further said, adding, “We won’t stop because we are here for a good purpose.”

Another PTI worker said that the PML-N government should resign because it is obvious that “they cannot manage the country”. She said that it is ridiculous that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif is still serving as the PML-N leader.

“Why don’t they just let him go? He’s served as a prime minister thrice. It is now time for the party to let him go,” she said.

A PAT worker, while speaking to Pakistan Today, said that she was protesting to get justice for her relative Shazia Murtaza, who was one of the victims of the Model Town carnage. “We will only leave when the government resigns, not before.”

A few PAT workers who had come all the way from Gujranwala to attend the rally said that they want justice for the Kasur and the model town incidents, and will not leave unless and until they get justice.

“We are here to pressurise Shehbaz Sharif into resigning,” one of the workers said.

They said that they were there with all their belongings, and ready to change the protest into a sit-in on one call of their leader, Dr Tahirul Qadri. They said that they had done this before at the Islamabad sit-in and were ready to do this again, because “justice delayed is justice denied”.

“We will make an example out of this government so that no other girl in our country ever faces the torture Zainab did. This time we are united and we know we are going to win,” she concluded.