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Imran and Zardari to join PAT protest against Model Town massacre

Model Town

News Analysis |

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) will join Pakistan Awami Tehreek’s (PAT) protest on 17th January. The leadership of both parties had previously announced their support of PAT’s cause; the formal announcements came soon after. PAT will be holding a protest on 17th January, to demand justice for the ‘Model Town Killings’ in Lahore.

14 people were killed and more than a hundred were injured when Punjab Police opened fire on PAT workers in Model Town Lahore. PAT held an All Parties Conference (APC) last month to devise a strategy against the PML-N government over the issue of the Model Town killings. PAT chief Dr. Tahirul Qadri demanded the resignation of Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Law Minister Rana Sanaullah after ‘Baqar Najafi’s Judicial report’ on Model Town killings was made public by the Lahore High Court’s (LHC) order.

It is interesting to see how Imran Khan will share the same stage with PPP because he has often accused their leadership of corruption and weighed PPP and PML-N on the same scale.

The report pointed the blame at CM Sharif, minister Sanaullah and the Punjab police. The PAT chief earlier gave a deadline of 7th January for the resignation of the two leaders but after the deadline passed, on 8th January, he announced that he wants to take down PML-N governments all across Pakistan.

Read more: PTI & PAT’s political movement…!

A seven member action committee was formed to discuss the 17th January protest. The committee includes Qamar Zaman Kaira from the PPP, Aleem Khan from the PTI, Kamil Ali Agha of the PML-Q, Sheikh Rashid, Khurram Nawaz Gandapur of PAT, Nasir Sherazi from the Majlis Wahdatul Muslimeen and Liaquat Baloch of the Jamaat-i-Islami.

The protest will rally at Charing Cross on Mall road. The action committee has submitted a formal request to the district deputy commissioner and division deputy commissioner of Lahore. The DC officer Lahore has confirmed the request but hasn’t granted approval yet.

On the other hand, PPP leadership has shown interest in forming an alliance with the PTI, two former senior leaders of PPP, Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Babar Awan, joined PTI in the past.

Justice for seven year old Zainab who was murdered and raped in Kasur is also part of the agenda of the protest. Lahore High Court (LHC), earlier today, has rejected an application to ban PAT from protesting in Lahore. While the agenda of the meeting is still under discussion, it is not sure whether it would be a one day protest or would it continue till the demands are met.

PPP leader Qamar Zaman Kaira said that PPP would not be following any political agendas and their only goal was to show solidarity to PAT and seek justice for the innocents killed in Model Town. PPP chief Asif Ali Zardari announced on Friday that PPP will not become part of any undemocratic move.

Read more: PTI to join Qadri in Model Town massacre protest

He said that PPP was the founder of the 1973 constitution and they would not make any moves that would threaten the constitution. Kaira elaborated on Zardari’s statement, saying that PPP was supporting PAT’s demand of resignation but they don’t want to topple the government of PML-N and want the democratic process to continue. He also announced that it will only be a one day protest and PPP does not plan on a sit-in.

The action committee has submitted a formal request to the district deputy commissioner and division deputy commissioner of Lahore. The DC officer Lahore has confirmed the request but hasn’t granted approval yet.

PTI Information Secretary Shafqat Mehmood said that his party will be fully participating in the 17th January protest. They are ready to sit-in if the protest will continue for more than a day but it is not in the plan. He also confirmed that Imran Khan will be addressing the protest. Answering a question regarding Asif Ali Zardari’s presence on the stage, Mehmood said that he cannot say anything about the PPP’s chief but he can confirm that Imran Khan will be there.

Read more: Will Dr. Qadri achieve justice for Model Town victims?

PPP and PTI have been arch-rivals for quite some time now. PTI chief Imran Khan has accused PPP of corruption on multiple occasions; he went so far as to call PPP chief Asif Zardari the ‘imam of corruption’. Imran Khan has also filed graft petitions against the PPP leadership in the Supreme Court (SC). He declared that there can be no alliance with PPP as long as Asif Zardari is the chairman of the party.

On the other hand, PPP leadership has shown interest in forming an alliance with the PTI, two former senior leaders of PPP, Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Babar Awan, joined PTI in the past. It is interesting to see how Imran Khan will share the same stage with PPP because he has often accused their leadership of corruption and weighed PPP and PML-N on the same scale.


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