Qadri threatens another sit-in to seek justice in Model Town case
* PAT chief demands Supreme Court to hand over Model Town case to same JIT which is investigating Panama Papers issue
by Kashif Hussain
LAHORE: Addressing a gathering at Nasir Bagh following his return to the country on Tuesday, Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chairman Dr Tahirul Qadri came down hard on former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for his planned return to Lahore in the form of a rally via GT Road.
In what was a veiled threat to the former premier, the cleric-turned-politician said his workers were waiting for his orders to take action against the Sharifs.
Seeking justice for victims of the 2014 Model Town killings, Qadri said that the Joint Investigation Team that probed the Panama Papers leaks should be tasked with the responsibility of investigating Model Town killings as well. As many as 14 people, including PAT workers, had lost their lives in clashes with the police in Lahore’s Model Town on June 17, 2014. The PAT later registered an FIR nominating 21 people, including then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif.
Addressing Nawaz Sharif, Qadri said that instead of pretending that he did not know why he was disqualified Sharif should answer questions put to him regarding the Model Town incident. “What was the mistake of the 14 people who were killed and the hundred others who were injured?” he said. “Shahbaz Sharif ordered the formation of a commission headed by Justice Baqir to probe the Model Town killings. The commission had held the provincial government responsible for the killings. Why have you not resigned Shehbaz Sharif,” Qadri asked.
On the Panama Papers case, Qadri said Supreme Court gave Nawaz Sharif 273 days to prove himself innocent. Instead of doing that, “You gave speeches to the people and in the Parliament where you lied and fooled the people,” he said, “then you lied in the SC by submitting fake documents and papers. If someone submits fake papers or lies to the court, they can be jailed for up to seven years,” he said. “Today, you tell the people you were mistreated. The truth is, the SC was soft on you. They could have thrown you into the prison but they only declared you dishonest and removed you from power. Be thankful they did not send you to jail,” he asserted.
He said if Sharif had any honour he would have bowed his head in shame and stayed home instead of coming out on the roads.
Qadri also challenged Sharif to “speak openly”. “Who has shown heavy-handedness with you? Who are you protesting against? Name the person or else your efforts will be deemed at targeting Army and Supreme Court,” he said.
Referring to the PML-N statements that democracy was in danger, Qadri said Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was the prime minister and other ministers in the cabinet were also nominated by Nawaz Sharif. “Even today, the government is yours, the PM is your PM. The ministers are yours, power is yours, and you say no one respects the mandate in this democracy?” he noted.
“The SC did not break your assemblies or steal your right to rule from you — the SC made a decision according to the Constitution and gave you permission to form a new government. Your reaction shows that it is you who doesn’t believe in democracy,” he said. “If you and your family are in power, only then it is democracy? But if your family is removed even if the party is yours you don’t accept it as democracy. Rule over hearts all you want, but for the love of God, please leave Pakistan alone,” Qadri added.
“When we held protests, they would say development and progress on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor will be affected. But if they do the same, it is permitted,” he said, “They have been reared by the army and now they go around spitting insults at those who raised them,” he alleged.
Qadri said if his followers agreed to ‘welcome’ Nawaz Sharif he would have to “tell the administration that the matter was not in his hands anymore.”
Threatening Sharif, he said if he would let loose his workers nothing will remain of him. “These people will be ready to act on any orders I give them,” he said.
Speaking at the occasion, Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rashid alleged that Nawaz Sharif’s GT Road procession was an attempt to seek a National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) from the Army.
Those who attended the rally included PTI’s Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Samsam Bukhari and Chaudhry Sarwar, PML-Q’s Ch Zaheeruddin, Sunni Ittehad Council’s Hamad Raza, and Majlis Wahdat-ul-Muslameen’s leaders.