LAHORE: Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Tahirul Qadri on Wednesday demanded that the Justice Baqir Najfi Commission report on the Model Town incident be made public, asking what is Shehbaz Sharif afraid of if he is not responsible for the tragedy.
Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif was declared responsible for the incident by the report which is why he hasn’t made it public even after three years, Qadri said while addressing a sit-in held in remembrance of the 2014 incident, in which 14 were killed and scores injured.
“The thief has been caught. The murderer behind the Model Town incident is still at large,” he said in an apparent reference to the Sharif brothers.
Qadri also said that his organisation will go to any extent for getting justice for the victims of the Model Town tragedy.
He said that he will be at the sit-in for as long as the protestors decide to participate, and announced that he will take out rallies in Faisalabad, Multan and Rawalpindi after Eid-ul-Azha. However, today’s sit-in ended at about 10PM.
Lashing at the Sharif brothers, Qadri said that their party introduced dirty and corrupt politics in the country, and claimed Pakistan Muslim Lague-Nawaz (PML-N) routinely purchases MPAs and ministries.
The PAT chief said that Nawaz Sharif talks about the sanctity of votes while he himself played a role in ousting Pakistan Peoples Party government in the ‘90s.
“You yourself violated the sanctity of the vote,” thundered the PAT chief.
He also warned that the protesters should not be taken for granted just because they are peaceful.
Qadri also thanked Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf delegation and Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rasheed for extending their support for the sit-in.
Law Minister Punjab Rana Sanullah, however said that the case is still being heard by the court and the report cannot be made public till then. If the court deems fit it can make the report public, he added.
Sanaullah said that lawyers representing PAT had themselves challenged the constitution of the commission, adding that Tahirul Qadri is using the incident for political means.
Earlier in the day, PAT and local traders agreed to limit the party’s sit-in today to ensure it does not adversely affect business activity and traffic.
Moreover, the party had given an assurance to wrap up the sit-in by 10pm tonight and alter its venue tomorrow.
Earlier in the day, the PAT, traders and provincial advocate general were ordered by the Lahore High Court to find a solution after a trader petitioned the high court to stop the sit-in on Mall Road as it would disrupt public life.
The court had directed the respondents to resolve the matter after consultation or else the court would decide the issue itself. The court then went into a short recess.
After the agreement between the parties, the court dismissed the petition against the sit-in.
Sources said the PAT and traders had agreed the party would set up its stage at Mall Road’s Istanbul Chowk and keep its rally towards the Government College side to avoid disruption of traffic and business.
Qadri’s container along with other equipment was transferred to Istanbul Chowk ahead of the sit-in.
The road leading from Lahore Museum to Istanbul Chowk has been closed to traffic. Heavy contingents of police as well as bomb disposal squad have been deployed at the site to prevent any untoward incident.
Sheikh Rashid also reached Lahore for participating in the sit-in, while the Pakistan Muslim League-Q also lent its support to PAT for the sit-in.
The Lahore High Court and the city administration had barred PAT from making arrangements for the sit-in but the party maintained that whether it received the permission or not, the rally would be held as per schedule.
PAT leader Noorullah Siddiqui said on Tuesday the sit-in would be held by those affected by the Model Town incident and that it would be a peaceful protest, not a rally.