General

Qadri set to begin countrywide protests next month

Following the release of Justice Baqar Najafi’s report on Model Town incident, the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) has finalised plans to begin countrywide protests to force the incumbent government step down and announce early elections.
The movement, set to be initiated in January 2018, includes a sit-in in front of the Parliament House besides blocking major roads in all four provinces and Gilgit-Baltistan.
PAT chief Dr Tahirul Qadri had announced launching a movement if Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah do not resign for their alleged involvement in the 2014 incident in which 14 PAT workers were martyred following a clash with police.
Sources said the party’s leadership will hold protests in Islamabad, Karachi, Quetta, Lahore, Peshawar and Gilgit simultaneously.
According to insiders, Qadri has directed party’s central, provincial and district leadership to begin consultation with other parties. He has also asked them to arrange food, tents and emergency medicines to make the sit-in lasting and successful.
Sources, however, added that blocking roads and highways will rest with the leadership as the last resort. Qadri will make the final call on such a move after holding consultation with like-minded political parties.
More drastic steps may include Qadri holding a hunger strike, a civil disobedience movement and offering mass arrests.
Parties including Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid, Awami Muslim League and Pak Sarzameen Party have assured PAT full cooperation, including provision of manpower.
Sources said that chances of Pakistan People’s Party’s participation are slim in the backdrop of its seemingly improving ties with the ruling party.
Thhe PPP, however, is closely monitoring the situation and would make a final decision based on that.
In this situation, sources said, the PML-N leadership will utilise all political options, including talks with the protesters.