APC sets Jan 7 for Shahbaz, Sanaullah resignation

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PTI, PPP support Qadri’s quest for justice

Salim Ahmed

Lahore

The All Parties Conference, led by Pakistan Awami Tehreek ended with a January 7 deadline for Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, provincial Law Minister Rana Sanaullah and others responsible for the Model Town incident to resign.
This demand was made in declaration issued after the APC. The APC demanded punishment to those involved in change of oath of Khatm-e-Nubawwat.
In a bid to converge all opposition parties on one platform, an All Parties Conference of the Pakistan Awami Tehreek chief Dr Tahirul Qadri was held in Lahore Saturday to discuss the Model Town incident and Nawaz Sharif disqualification.
Representatives of Pakistan Tahreek-e-Insaf, Pakistan People’s Party, Awami Muslim League, Jammat-e-Islami, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan, Pak Sarzameen Party and dozen of other opposition parties participated in the All Parties Conference.
Dr Tahirul Qadri thanked all major political parties of the country for participating in the conference on his invitation. He welcomed the parties who had joined him, claiming that representatives of more than 40 paries were in attendance.
“The political parties gathered here have different ideologies and agendas, but have been brought together today on a single point,” he said, referring to the Model Town incident which took place in 2014.
“The blood of the innocent people killed in the incident is what unites us today,” he added. He also accused ousted premier Nawaz Sharif and his family of “investing in politics” using bribery as a means to buy loyalty and establishing a “political dynasty” that was being dominated by one man.
Moving back to the Model Town incident, Qadri said, “You (the Sharifs) ordered the police to open fire on people and then tell us to go to courts to get justice? Till you are in power, there can be no justice.”
“Your character has been revealed in the Panama Papers case and now you are planning to run away and leave Pakistan, which is why you are seeking help from foreign powers,” Qadri said while accusing the Sharifs of visiting Saudi Arabia to enlist the help of ‘old friends’ to get them out of the current situation.
“However, they cannot save you now, nothing can save you now,” he added. “You accuse these political parties that have gathered here today to be using each other’s support to forward each other’s agenda. My question is, who is using Saudi Arabia’s support to forward their own agenda, based on their own gains?” the PAT chief asked, adding that Nawaz Sharif, who keeps asking ‘mujhe kyun nikala’, was sent packing because of his own doings and not because of some grand conspiracy. “Your past is catching up with you and are getting what you deserve,” he said.
Concluding his address conference, Qadri told the media that the parties would now discuss their future course of action in-camera, after which the media would be briefed about the developments.
The PAT chief added that the APC and the nation would now work for the common cause. He said the PML-N leaders went to Saudi Arabia to hide their corruption but no power in this world could save him now.
Political leaders of different political parties held consultation meeting before attending the APC called by the PAT. Senior PTI leaders, Jehangir Khan Tareen, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar, Abdul Aleem Khan, Ejaz Chaudhry, Shafqat Mahmood and Mian Mahmood ur Rasheed attended the consultation meeting at PTI Chairman’s Secretariat before leaving to participate in the APC. PTI leader discussed the APC agenda and available options for the future strategy as per Imran Khan’s direction.
Speaking to media before the APC, Shah Mahmood Qureshi said PTI is very clear about the single point APC agenda to provide justice to the families of the Model Town massacre victims. Today’s conference is not about any sort of election alliance, he clarified.
Similarly, PPP senior leaders, Qamar Zaman Kaira, Senator Rehman Malik, Sardar Latif Khan Khosa and Mian Manzoor Watto held a meeting at the latter’s residence in Model Town. Main Manzoor Wattoo told media that PPP is participating in the APC to ensure justice for the families of the Model Town victims. As per PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari’s direction, he said, the party will support the cause to provide justice for the families of the Model Town carnage victims.
PPP Central Punjab President Kaira clarified that his party is not trying to send the ruling government in packing and garnering support before the general elections. “But if the government fails because of its own mistakes the PPP will not come its rescue,” he added. Wattoo said that as per direction of PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, party’s delegation is attending the APC to support PAT in its struggle for justice for the families of the Model Town killings. JI senior leader Liaqat Baloch said his party supports PAT because Model Town incident “is a living example of state terrorism”.
Meanwhile, APC has constituted a committee to decide the next course of action on the deadline, which will be called the Steering Committee of APC. The committee will have the authority to take action in case of an emergency. The Steering Committee will have the following members: Pakistan People’s Party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Awami Muslim League, Majlis Wahdat-e-Muslimeen, Pak Sarzameen Party, Muslim Conference. Pakistan Awami Tehreek Secretary General Khurram Nawaz Gandapur will be the coordinator of the committee and Sardar Muhammad Lateef Khosa will be the legal adviser of the Steering Committee.
Qadri said although 125 police officials were summoned, not a single one was arrested. Not only this, bureaucrats and government officials involved in the murder have not even been summoned. This shows that the incumbent government has failed to deliver justice.
APC has mutually extended the deadline of December 31, 2017, to January 7, 2018. If resignations are not given by January 7, the steering committee will organise a meeting on January 8 and decide the next course of action for protest. Leaders from PSP, PPP, PTI, MQM, PML-Q and other parties will present a joint front against the government in protest against the 2014 Model Town tragedy in which 14 people were killed and scores injured.

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