- PAT chief says he and his followers will join Imran Khan’s Azadi March to overthrow ‘corrupt govt of Sharifs’
- Tells followers to kill Khan or him if either of them returns home without achieving objectives
- Tells workers to take revenge from Sharif family if he’s assassinated by govt
- Asks followers to resort to violence if they are stopped by police
Addressing a mammoth crowd of followers and political workers of various opposition parties during the Youm-e-Shuhada event here, Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) and Minhajul Quran chief Dr Tahirul Qadri Sunday announced that his ‘Inqilab March’ will begin from Lahore on August 14, the same day Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) led by cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan has announced to take a “million-man” Azadi March to Islamabad to topple the Nawaz Sharif-led Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government.
“We will overthrow the government,” Qadri told a charged gathering of an estimated 10,000 people at the Minhajul Quran Secretariat where his organisation had hosted Youm-e-Shuhada (Martyrs Day) to pay homage to those killed in the June 17 police violence in Lahore’s Model Town area, and the soldiers who have sacrificed their lives in the ongoing military operation, Zarb-e-Azb in the tribal areas.
“The Azadi March and the Inqilab March will both be held on the same day,” Qadri said, urging his followers to stay at the venue for three days and pray and then take to the roads on August 14 to oust the “corrupt regime”. The preacher also took oath from his followers that they would not retreat until “revolution” was achieved, and mentally prepared them to be ready for hardships like insufficient food and improper lodging.
The PAT chief also called on his followers and workers of the PTI to “kill” their leaders if either of them struck a deal with the government and returned from Islamabad “without bringing the revolution”.
Claiming that he had information that the government wanted to assassinate him, Qadri told his followers to avenge his murder from the Sharif murder. “I’ve information that the government is conspiring to eliminate me. If that happens, you will take revenge from the ruling family,” he said.
Stepping up pressure on the government and raising fears of violence on Independence Day, the PAT chief told his workers to remain peaceful but said they were free to retaliate if the police and other security agencies provoked them.
Lashing out at the police, the PAT chief said that those who committed the murders of his workers on the orders of the Sharif brothers would no longer be able to hide behind Shahbaz Sharif and Nawaz Sharif.
Reiterating that he was a firm believer in democracy, Qadri said that he had given his struggle for “true democracy” the name of Inqilab March, which would be “non-violent and democratic”.
“The Sharifs are establishing global business empires while the people in Pakistan are deprived of basic necessities,” he said, adding that “we want the culture of democracy which is transparent and has a system of accountability and is free of corruption”.
“Our struggle is for true democracy in Pakistan. We want devolution of powers. Power should go to the union councils, to the districts, to the tehsils through devolution,” he added.
“We want high courts at the district headquarters and magistrate courts in union councils so that justice arrives at the doorsteps of every person living in this country. We are totally against the imposition of martial law,” said Qadri.
He said the entire nation will have to step out for this revolution,” Qadri said, adding that the efforts of PAT, PML-Q, AML, SIC, PTI workers will not be enough.
“We want proper punishment through law,” he said, rejecting accusations of violence against his workers. “My followers have never committed a single act of violence anywhere,” Qadri claimed.
“Our workers did not torture anyone or cause any damage but more than 25,000 PAT workers have been arrested,” he said.
Referring to the FIR registered against him for the death of police constable Muhammad Ashraf, Qadri says his workers cannot kill anyone.
“It has been proven that the constable died in an accident with a motorcycle,” he said.