- PP co-chairman says his party will abide by all decisions PAT-sponsored huddle takes
- Qadri says Arab authorities should not interfere in Pakistan’s internal affairs
Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari on Friday demanded Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Law Minister Rana Sanaullah resign for their role in the 2014 Model Town tragedy, while ousted premier Nawaz Sharif stands trial for the tragedy which left 14 people dead.
Addressing a press conference along with Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Dr Tahirul Qadri at the Minhajul Quran Secretariat in Lahore, the former president, who was accompanied by Opposition Leader in National Assembly Khursheed Shah, threw weight behind the PAT-sponsored All-Party Conference, saying his party would abide by all decisions taken in the huddle scheduled for December 30.
“We have been with him on the matter from the start. It was all on television how people were martyred. People say 14 were martyred but I say 100 were martyred because many ended up with permanent disabilities on that day. This happened in the age of media,” said Zardari.
Zardari said his party had always struggled for justice, adding that “Nawaz Sharif should face trial for murder, while Shehbaz Sharif and Rana Sanaullah should resign and surrender themselves before the law.”
The workers of Pakistan Awami-e-Tehreek (PAT) were killed on June 17, 2014 in a police action during an encroachment operation outside the residence of PAT chief Tahirul Qadri.
While Zardari offered his party’s full support to Qadri on the matter at hand, he discouraged speculation that it would lead to anything beyond. “We are with him on this matter, but everyone has their own politics,” he said.
Asked why he has repeatedly turned down the PML-N’s overtures for reconciliation, Zardari said, “They have indebted our future generation, so even if I stand with them, the nation will not accept.”
Zardari also said that Khawaja Saad Rafique’s recent remarks about Pakistan Army were an attempt “to hurt democracy some more so they can claim that there was a conspiracy against them and that ‘I did nothing’.”
Khursheed Shah echoed Zardari’s sentiments on the Model Town incident, saying: “Everyone should get justice. Only the rich get justice here. Now all eyes are on whether the poor get justice in this country or not.”
Several members of the ruling party, including Nawaz Sharif. Shehbaz and even Rafique have recently flown to Saudi Arabia, with some suggesting that a new National Reconciliation Ordinance, courtesy of the kingdom, could be in the works.
But Qadri discouraged such speculation, saying that neither Arab authorities should nor they would interfere in Pakistan’s internal matters.
“Nothing of this sort will happen; Saudi authorities will do nothing for them,” he said.
“We have our departments. We don’t believe in others making decisions for us. You hear them every day saying that political decisions should not be taken to courts. And now they have gone to other countries’ courts for themselves. They should be ashamed.” Coming down hard on former president Pervez Musharraf, Zardari said the former military ruler couldn’t substantiate his claims as he always made his own decisions during his tenure. “Musharraf should return to the country if he is as brave as he claims,” he added.
Meanwhile, speaking of the APC, sources told Pakistan Today that the huddle was meant to highlight the involvement of the provincial government, mainly Shehbaz Sharif and Rana Sanaullah, in the Model Town incident.
The source said that to make the APC successful, the PAT chief had done several courses of discussions with the leaders of opposition parties, including Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan, PPP’s Asif Ali Zardari and others.
Unveiling the APC declaration’s draft, the source said it would demand resignations of Shehbaz Sharif and Sanaullah by December 31 and formation of a joint investigation team (JIT) under the supervision of a Supreme Court justice with officials from all the provinces except Punjab drawn as its members.
“Since the government is involved in the killings of innocent people in Model Town for political motives, it is essential for those responsible to step down to give way for a free and independent investigation,” the draft reads.