Qadri says PAT-led protest achieved objective of unifying opposition

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  • PAT unlikely to bring opposition on a single platform after Imran’s anti-parliament tirade
  • Pir Sialvi says he will hold sit-in outside Data Darbar till the resignations of Shehbaz, Sana

LAHORE: Despite reported fissures in the Pakistan Awami Tehreek-led opposition alliance only a day after the ‘grand sit-in’, PAT chief Dr Tahirul Qadri expressed that the rally achieved its target by bringing together the political leadership of all opposition parties.

It may be mentioned here that a major alliance of political parties, including Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), had gathered at Mall Road outside the Punjab Assembly on Wednesday to demand justice for the murder of 14 political workers in Model Town, in 2014.

Snubbing the mentions of empty chairs in the rally, Dr Qadri told PAT core committee’s meeting held on Thursday that it was not his job to count the chairs, as his opponents were there doing that.

“I can bring out whatever number of people I want,” he said, adding that his protest at the moment is in the first stage, and he is satisfied with it.

Commenting on the future strategy for the protest, the PAT chief said that the second phase of the protest will be decided after detailed deliberations with the stakeholders—PPP, PTI and other parties.

Over the course of the meeting, Qadri said he was satisfied with the first round of the movement that seeks justice in the Model Town killings case, adding that the next plan of action would be announced after convening the meeting of the steering committee.

Lauding the display of harmony by the PAT-led political parties, he said, “All the parties are free to give any statement on a certain issue according to their manifestos and party policy, but Wednesday’s show has made one thing clear that they are united over the massacre of Model Town that was truly an inhuman act of the government, he claimed.

Although, it seems that Qadri remained successful in bringing almost all the opposition parties to his rally, but joint-opposition protests may not be repeated after the PPP had developed differences with the PTI over Imran Khan’s diatribe against parliament.

In the PAT-led protest rally, Imran Khan had publicly cursed the parliament after the speech of Awami Muslim League’s (AML) President Sheikh Rasheed who also repeatedly criticised parliament, as he announced to quit as a member of the assembly.

Both, Imran Khan and Sheikh Rasheed, were strongly condemned during the session of the National Assembly on Thursday, wherein a resolution was passed that unanimously condemned the publicity stunt.

NA Opposition Leader Syed Khursheed Shah, who was sitting on the stage during the PAT-led protest rally along with his entire leadership of PPP, delivered a fiery speech in the session and condemned the anti-parliament remarks of Imran Khan. He asserted that only the parliament can save Pakistan.

SIALVI TO HOLD SIT-IN ON SATURDAY:

Meanwhile, the custodian of Sial Sharif shrine, Pir Hameedud Din Sialvi, said that he may not be joining the protest movement of Dr Qadri, but he, along with his thousands of disciples, is coming to hold a sit-in outside Data Darbar on January 20. He said the sit-in outside the shrine will only be wrapped up when Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Law Minister Rana Sanaullah tender their resignations.

It may be mentioned here Pir Sialvi and his followers had initiated a movement against the Punjab law minister for what they termed as Sana’s “controversial remarks on the issue of finality of prophethood”.

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