Qadri Back in Pakistan

Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Dr Tahirul Qadri arrived in Lahore on Thursday morning. The firebrand cleric left the airport amid strict security measures and set off to visit Data Darbar en route to his party secretariat in Model Town.

Three deputy superintendent of police (DSPs), including SP Cantt, were posted along with 200 other policemen for Qadri’s security. A large number of supporters, including scores of women, had gathered outside the Allama Iqbal International Airport and were part of the PAT chief’s convoy on his journey. Qadri asked his supporters to remain peaceful and speaking to media representatives from inside the aircraft said: “The righteous shall win.” Regarding the Joint Investigation Team formed to probe the June 17 Model Town killings, he said any probe team comprising of police officers from Punjab would not be acceptable.

The June 17 incident saw the deaths of at least 11 people during a clash between police and PAT supporters. The PAT had later staged anti-government sit-ins along with the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) outside the Parliament in the federal capital city. However, PAT had called off protests on Oct 21 following which Qadri had left for Canada apparently to reorganise his party and raise funds. Recently, however, Qadri and PTI Chairman Imran were declared proclaimed offenders by an anti-terrorism court in a case relating to an attack on a senior police officer and storming of the PTV building on Sept 1.