LAHORE: Major opposition parties including Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) demanded justice for the 2014 Model Town Massacre victims from the same stage in a protest rally organised by Tahirul Qadri-led Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT), ARY News reported.
The movement is aimed at mounting pressure on Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and Law Minister Rana Sanaullah to resign for their alleged role in the incident.
The day saw rivals PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and PTI chief Imran Khan pointing fingers at the ruling PML-N for their alleged anti-state activities and police brutality in Kasur and Model Town.
PAT chief Tahirul Qadri in his concluding remarks, said that the fight for justice for the 2014 massacre victims is now every opposition party’s fight and now decisions will be taken after mutual consultation.
Qadri declared Sheikh Rasheed the “Man of the Match” for announcing his resignation during the rally and said that the future strategy will be announced soon.
Imran Khan says resignations from assemblies under consideration
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan, during his speech, heavily criticised the federal and Punjab governments but did not announce resignation from assemblies despite being urged by Sheikh Rasheed.
“Sheik Rasheed, your idea is great, I will put this suggestion before my party and it is very much possible that we all join you too,” said Imran Khan.
The PTI chief however announced that the suggestion is under consideration as this parliament allowed a disqualified man to lead a party.
Criticising Punjab government over the 2014 Model Town tragedy, he said nowhere in the world police fires upon public rallies or protests like in Punjab as Sharif family has turned the law enforcement agency into their personal security company.
Sheikh Rasheed announces to resign from his NA seat
Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rasheed, during his short but fiery speech, announced to resign from his National Assembly seat and also urged PTI chief Imran Khan to do so.
Amongst other accusations, Sheikh Rasheed dropped a bombshell by claiming that it was former prime minister Nawaz Sharif who gave Ajmal Kasab (Mumbai Attacks suspect) to a foreign news organisation.
PTI’s Shah Mehmood Qureshi says democracy under threat by Jati Umra
Tahirul Qadri speaks to protesters
PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari speaks to protesters
Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari spoke to protesters and urged them to remain steadfast in their resolve to demand justice for victims of Model Town massacre besides lashing out at the ruling PML-N for taking country towards destruction.
He also reminded audience of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s statement in which he said that Bangladesh founder Sheikh Mujibur Rehman was not anti-Pakistan before being pushed to act against the country and said that he predicted that Nawaz wants to create “Greater Punjab”.
“I thank Dr (Tahirul Qadri) for inviting us all to speak to (those demanding justice for Model Town victims) so we can tell them that the only danger Pakistan faces is from Jati Umra’s Sheikh Mujibur Rehman,” said Zardari.
The PPP co-chairman said that PPP has faced a lot of hardships but he or late Benazir Bhutto never spoke against the state of Pakistan but Nawaz Sharif is doing so after a court judgment.
Tahirul Qadri arrives at protest venue
The PAT chief arrived at the protest site amid presence of large number of activists from various political parties.
The top leadership of PPP and PTI including senior leaders Khursheed Shah and Shah Mehmood Qureshi were on stage when the PAT leader arrived at the site.
Two different sessions for Asif Ali Zardari, Imran Khan
The protest rally has been divided into two different sessions.
Former President and Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari will address the rally in the first session, while Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan will deliver a public speech in the second session.
Tahirul Qadri departs for protest site
Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Tahirul Qadri departed for the protest site at Charing Cross from his residence in the provincial capital in a convoy of 20 vehicles.
No media coverage after 12am
Unveiling a reserved verdict, the Lahore High Court (LHC) ordered media not to cover the sit-in protest after 12am.
LHC grants conditional permission for protest
A three-judge bench of Lahore High Court (LHC) announced the reserved decision on petitions challenging protest sit-in of the opposition parties at Mall Road in Lahore.
The bench granted conditional permission to PAT leadership to stage protest sit-in till 12am at the main artery of provincial capital.
Traffic suspended on Mall Road
The provincial capital’s main artery has been closed for all kind of traffic movement from Governor House till Lower Mall in wake of the protest.
Opposition united to demand justice: Ch. Parvez Elahi
Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) leader Chaudhry Parvez Elahi said all major opposition parties are united to demand justice for victims of the Model Town incident.
He said the blood of faultless civilians would not go in vein and the culprits of incident would be brought to justice.
On the occasion, he extended his party support to Qadri-led movement.
Austere security measures
Ensuring foolproof security arrangements, DIG Operations Haider Ashraf said over 6,000 personnel, including 11 SPs and 24 DSPs are to be deployed around the Mall Road.
He said three entrance points have been established and all the participants will be checked through the walk through gates.
Mustafa Kamal’s arrival in Lahore
Arriving in Lahore on Qadri’s invitation, Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) chairman Mustafa Kamal condemned the Model Town tragedy.
Talking briefly to media persons, he said the people in Karachi felt disquieted over the brutal murder of PAT activists in hands of Punjab police.
Political rivalry between Zardari and Imran Khan amidst joint-protest
PTI Chairman Imran Khan and PPP co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari are expected to address the protest rally at different sessions by virtue of their mutual animosity towards each other.
According to sources, Khan will take over the stage after evening prayers followed by Zardari’s public speech.
Qadri’s future course of action
On the other hand, PAT chief Tahirul Qadri is expected to make a key announcement pertaining to the party’s future course of action.
“Our original plan for the day is a one-day protest, however, this may convert into a sit-in. All our measures have been taken with complete consensus of all the parties and there is no disagreement on any point at any level,” he said on Tuesday, adding, the last steering committee meeting constituted an action committee.
Political figures to address protest rally
Earlier on Tuesday, Qadri announced the names of political leaders who will address the protest rally. Qadri said apart from him former president Asif Ali Zardari, Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan, Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q) leader Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain or Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi or maybe both, leaders of Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP), Sunni Ittehad Council, Wahdadul Muslameen, and other parties would also address on this occasion.
The PAT chief also said most probably Amir Jamaat-e-Islami Siraj-ul-Haq would also address. “He has though not confirmed yet but I had conveyed to him,” he said.
Model Town massacre
Model Town tragedy or the Lahore massacre was a violent clash that ensued between the Punjab Police and Pakistan Awami Tehreek activists on 17 June 2014 resulting in the death of at least 14 people.
The standoff lasted for almost 11 hours when the police′s anti-encroachment squad launched an operation to remove the barriers from the road leading to the offices of Minhaj-ul-Quran and the residence of PAT founder Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri in Model Town, Lahore.
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