The joint opposition put up its power show on The Mall on January 17 with a view to seeking justice for the martyrs of Model Town and Kasur tragedies. The protest was divided into two sessions and attended by Asif Ali Zardari, Imran Khan, Chuahdry Pervez Elahi, Sheikh Rashid Ahmad, Mustafa Kamal and the leaders of different political and religious parties in large numbers.
Asif Ali Zardari presided over the first session whereas the second session was presided over by PTI Chairman Imran Khan.
The first session of the protest demonstration got underway with the recitation of the Holy Quran followed by the national anthem. Those who addressed this session included Ms. Najmi Saleem (Chairperson All Pakistan Minorities Alliance), Liaqat Baloch (Secretary General of Jmaat-i-Islami), Abdullah Malik (civil society activist), Dr Amjad Hussain Chishti and Amir Saeed Rao (leaders of Lahore High Court Bar Association), Sahibzada Hamid Raza Khan (Sunni Ittehad Council), Raja Pervez Ashraf (PPP leader & former Prime Minister), Raja Nasir Abbas (Majlis Wahdat-ul-Muslameen), Sahibzada Abul Khair Muhammad Zubair (Head of Jamiat Ulama-e-Pakistan), Chaudhry Sarwar (Pakistan Tehreek Insaaf), Chaudhry Pervez Elhai (PML-Q), Mian Manzoor Ahmad Wattoo (former Chief Minister Punjab and senior PPP leader) and Syed Khursheed Ahmad Shah (Opposition leader).
The second session of the protest demonstration started after Mughrab prayer. Qari Zawar Bahadur (Jamiat Ulama-e-Pakistan Noornai), Mustafa Kamal (PSP), Qamar Zaman Kaira (PPP), Shah Mahmood Quresi (PTI), Ch. Aitzaz Ahsan (PPP), Sheikh Rashid Ahmad (AML) and Imran Khan (Chairman PTI) addressed the gathering.
Address of Imran Khan
Imran Khan vowed to take revenge for the Model Town martyrs. He said that he would decide on the proposal of resignation after consultation with the party, stating that it is possible that he may follow Sheikh Rashid.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
Sheikh Rashid Ahmad announced to resign from his assembly seat and said that he gave a damn to a legislature and democracy that failed to resolve people’s problems.
Address of Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri
Addressing the protest demonstration, Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri said that there is no doubt about the fact that PAT is the host of the event that has been held to demand justice for the martyrs of Model Town but added in the same breath that we now share the hosting of this event with our allies. He said that the martyrs of Model Town are the martyrs of the whole nation. He said that the live bullets were fired on the sons, daughters and the mothers of the nation. He said that he wanted to tell Nawaz Sharif and Shehbaz Sharif that this movement for justice is not of PAT alone. Rather it has become the movement of all political parties now. He said that we would not take decisions alone, rather we would sit with our friends and allies to decide the next course of action. He said that he thought of going to Jati Umra, Model Town and the Punjab Assembly. He said that if he asked the oppressed workers, they would mince the killers into pieces and teach an abiding lesson to their generations. He said that we are not weak. He said that if we desire, we would take revenge with our own hands. ‘Compliment us for our courage and restraint. We have never violated the Constitution nor will we do so,’ he commented.
Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri said that there is no doubt about the fact that peaceful protests do not yield the desired results. He said that as long as protestors at Faizadabad remained peaceful, nothing happened. However, when arson and chaos started, the whole issue was resolved within no time. He said that if we asked our workers to march towards Raiwind and all of them spit, the palaces of Jati Umra will be washed away. He said that we know how to take revenge of the martyrs, adding that our peacefulness should not be considered as our weakness. He said that if we clashed, the biggest of seas will fade in comparison to gushing out of our emotions and sentiments.
The PAT Chairman said that he would not take any individual decision anymore. Whatever decisions are taken will be taken with complete ownership of all political parties, for it is our shared struggle for justice. He said that we have decided to hold a meeting of the Steering and Action Committees in next couple of days and will take decisions about the future course of action very wisely. He said that it has been decided that no power of the world can save the oppressors now. He said that the victory will that of the oppressors and the whole world will see how the oppressors are sent home for good.
Address of Asif Ali Zardari
Addressing the first session, former President and Co-Chairman of PPP Asif Ali Zardari said that Nawaz Sharif wants to become Sheikh Mujeeb-ur-Rehman. He said that the country is threatened by Jati Umra. Talking about change of chief minister in Balochistan, he said that he only prayed for the political leaders in Balochistan and gave his blessings to change. He said that the PML-N did not think when it sought to appoint the current Chief Minister Balochistan as the deputy speaker of the Assembly, asking as why is he being taunted of bagging 500 votes?
Asif Zardari said that Shehbaz Sharif would abuse us in the past, threaten to drag us on streets of Lahore but we did not respond because we did not want to derail democracy, adding that we are being forced. He stated categorically that he could kick out the PML-N government in Punjab if he wanted so but stated in the same breath that he thought of Pakistan and its long-term interests.
The former President said that Pakistan has to move ahead. He said that we will die but the country has to stay forever. He said that our succeeding generations have to live here. He asked as what Nawaz Sharif was thinking when he took oath of office as the prime minister with the mindset of Sheikh Mujeeb-ur-Rehman? He said that we are bound by the oath we take and have to abide by it whether we are in or out of office. He said that Shaheed Benazir Bhutto never spoke against the country in her international appearances and interviews. She would criticize dictators but never came out with a word against the motherland.
Talking about the Sharif family, Asif Zardari said that they have no relationship or concern for Pakistan. He said that he was pained by the mess the country found itself in. He said that we would get justice for the Model Town victims.
Address of Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri [1st session]
Addressing the first session, PAT Chairman Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri said that the blood of Model Town victims brought all the political parties, holding different ideologies and orientations, together. He said that the situation has come to such a pass in the country where getting together for a moral cause in aid of the oppressed has become a rare thing. He said that the whole leadership got together to give voice to the voiceless and extend support to the oppressed of Model Town and Kasur.
Dr Qadri said that his only aim is to awaken the public consciousness and make the people aware of their rights. He said that he wanted the masses to identify their enemies whose police kills them with live bullets and who loot and plunder state resources. He said that the purpose of the protest is to rid the country of the enemies of the people.
The PAT Chairman said that we do not want to take any step against Constitution, democracy and peace. He said that the Sharif Empire is against the Constitution and we want to break the Empire, stating that we did not want to disrupt peace. He said that had we wanted, we would have made sure that Nawaz Sharif and Shehbaz Sharif did not step out of their Raiwind palace.
Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri said that he gave the education of peace, love and restraint all his life. In the international seminars, workshops and conferences, he showed peaceful face of Islam to the western world. He said that we want the law to come to the aid of the Model Town victims in the same way as it does in case of the ruling family.
Dr Qadri said that it is the movement for justice for all martyrs and a movement for restoration of Constitution and real democracy. He said that the Sharif Empire have committed innumerable crimes. He said that the Punjab police has been turned into militant wing of PML-N. He said that police is protecting the ruling family while the people have been left at the mercy of terrorists. He said that Rs. 750 billion was given to police during 10 years for protection of Jati Umra. He asked as to why the people are not given protection. He asked are they lowly creatures of earth and was Pakistan made for the Sharif dynasty?
The PAT Chairman said that there is not even a single party in the whole world whose name starts with name of its leader. He said that the PML-N is the only party that has name ‘Nawaz’ attached to it, which shows that the party is a limited company and personal fief. He said that if the Sharifs remain in power, there will be no rule of law, no constitution, no peace and no smile on the face of the poor. He said that the Dawn News leak scandal was against army and now ‘Tehreek Adl’ is being threatened against the Supreme Court. He said that Nawaz Sharif has no qualm of conscience when he accepts Sheikh Mujeeb-ur-Reham as his ideological leader. He said that they protect the Indian agents in their factories.
The PAT Chairman said that if we do not stand up to oppression, history will not forgive us. He reminded that history forgets nations who suffer oppression but do not rise against oppression and corruption. He said that the Sharifs did media trial of PPP founding-chairman Zulifkar Ali Bhutto, indulged in character assassination of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto and Imran Khan, killed PAT and political workers in Islamabad and Lahore; and introduced the culture of terrorism. He said that terrorists are their allies and they will have no problem if Punjab is named as Pakistan.
Dr Qadri said that the Sharifs have left the Sicilian mafia and godfathers of Italy behind in their quest for wealth through corrupt practices. He said that they used the nexus of power and business to perpetuate their interests. He said that today’s public meeting was the beginning of a democratic struggle, adding that we have to take it to logical conclusion, which means putting an end to the night of the oppression and corruption.