LAHORE: On the directives of Lahore High Court (LHC) for an amicable settlement over protest venue, the Punjab government has granted permission to Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) to hold its protest after successful negotiations with Mall Road Traders Association (MRTA) and change in sit-in venue.
The PAT has given assurance to conclude the sit-in by 10 pm tonight after the public speech of party chief Tahir-ul-Qadri while altering its sit-in venue tomorrow. The permission to hold sit-in came after the amendments with regard to protest venue.
Demanding justice for families of Model Town victims, PAT has made all arrangements to hold sit-in. Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rasheed will also take part in the PAT’s protest and he has reached the provincial capital besides Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q) lending its support for the sit-in.
After the settlement between traders and PAT leadership, the court dismissed the petition.
Earlier today, advocate Asad Manzoor Butt on the behalf of the MRTA filed a petition, seeking prohibition of PAT’s sit-in on Mall Road while adopting a stance that the protest would affect the routine business activities of local traders and shop-keepers.
Hearing the petition, the court queried PAT’s counsel to apprise it how long party’s sit-in would continue while inquiring PAT’s counsel the motive behind the protest since the Model Town incident was subjudice before a court.
“If any untoward incident takes place who would be responsible for it,” the court asked.
To which, PAT counsel Ishtiaq Chaudhry said it is the fundamental right of every citizen to stage a protest.
It merits to be mentioned here that the high court had already banned protests and processions on Mall Road and the provincial government had also imposed section 144.
PAT is holding sit-in against the injustice in Model Town massacre at the core of the city on August 16 and Punjab police operation at Minhaj-ul-Quran office which not only injured several people but also damaged property and resulted in the loss of over a dozen lives.
Meanwhile, PAT chief Qadri’s container along with other apparatus was shifted to the venue of sit-in in Lahore in the wee hours of Wednesday.