Jaweria Waheed |
The memories of 17th June 2014 still haunt the people as they woke up to an open target operation against Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) workers on their secretariat in Model Town. Every news channel was updating the latest happenings, and many of them telecasted the live show of state brutality against unarmed political workers. The police didn’t differentiate in hitting the old, young, men or women with baton charges. The air was saturated with the fumes of tear gas shells that left dozens unconscious. “Sher-e-Lahore,” the notorious Gullu Butt known for his unconditional love for PML-N, roamed like a 90’s hero of Punjabi films, twisting his big mustaches, tapping the shoulders of policemen in appreciation and later on breaking the cars with a long wooden rod.
How the day unfolded…
One after the other, dozens received the bullets, a firing of tear gas shells resumed, and the police started marching forward with cranes.
Acting DIG Rana Abdul Jabbar, SP Model Town Tariq Aziz, SP Iqbal Town Farrukh Raza, SP Saddar Owais, SP Maroof Safdar Wahla, and DSPs with heavy contingents of police led the operation. The declared agenda of the operation was to remove the barriers outside the secretariat of Minhaj-ul-Quran and Al-Qadriya, the residence of Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri. PAT leaders, Raheeq Ahmed Abbasi and Zahid Fayaz, showed them the legal documents that had approval from the Higher Court for the deployment of the barriers.
The situation seemed a bit relaxed, and it appeared as if the police was going back by rolling off the operation. But suddenly, the situation turned violent and this time police responded the unarmed resistance of the workers with direct open fire targeting the upper limbs of the people, mostly. One after the other, dozens received the bullets, a firing of tear gas shells resumed, and the police started marching forward with cranes. It wasn’t happening in an Indian-occupied Kashmir, neither was it a glimpse of Gaza, it was the capital city of Punjab and most importantly in the locality of Chief Minister of Punjab, Model Town.
Plausible role of media
The judicial commission formed by the government produced a report which revealed the involvement of Shahbaz Sharif and Rana Sanullah in the case but the report has never been made public.
The role that media played that day needs a huge applause as they recorded every possible situation no matter how hard the circumstances were. They faced the gas shelling but kept covering the minutest details possible. The news anchors, hosts, journalists, and analysts all reacted to the brutality of Punjab Police. To this day, we see that our media has played a crucial role in demanding justice for the victims of Model Town incident.
Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) has tried their best to stand with their workers, both by assisting the victim families financially as well as continuing a political struggle against the killers of innocent workers. A comprehensive strategy has been adopted by the party for reaching out to the needs of the victims by all means. PAT has continued a vigorous political struggle to seek justice against the killers by establishing a strong anti-government party alliance, initially.
After a short period, it carried out a historic “Inqilab March” to the streets of country’s capital, creating pressure for the resignation of Prime Minister until the justice is served. Months-long sit-in ended, and all the institutions failed to address the grievances of the victims. Several demonstrations have been staged by the party so far, but nothing shook the institutions. The judicial commission formed by the government produced a report under Justice Bakir Najfi which revealed the involvement of Shahbaz Sharif and Rana Sanullah, the Law Minister of Punjab, in the case but the report has never been made public. Losing all hopes from the state institution, the party has now decided to take the case to international courts.
Keeping the political differences aside, we will help the cause and will continue our fight until the killers are trialed under the law, and justice is served.
The civil society has kept a moral support with the victims by highlighting the issue on social media and has created a cyber pressure on the government to declare the Najfi Report publicly. But, it’s sad how all the human rights NGOs maintained silence and no one made any effort to raise their concerns over the massive violations of human rights in the incident which left 14 dead and more than 90 people injured.
Common wisdom says that justice delayed is justice denied but we all, as a civil society, cyber activists, media channels, writers, news anchors, analysts, and journalists, will never stop our unconditional support to the victims of Model Town incident. Keeping the political differences aside, we will help the cause and will continue our fight until the killers are trialed under the law, and justice is served.
Jaweria Waheed is a graduate in International Relations from Kinnaird College. She is a member of the Editorial Board for the magazine ‘Voice of Students’ and has been a blogger with media organizations ARY News & Dunya News, Pakistan. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.