Wednesday Jan 17 2018

Only threat to Pakistan is from Jati Umra: Asif Ali Zardari


LAHORE: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari on Wednesday said that the only danger to the country is from Jati Umra — the residence of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. 

“They do not care about Pakistan, they only care about Jati Umra," Zardari said while addressing a joint opposition protest rally to seek justice for the Model Town tragedy in Lahore.

He claimed that only the PPP cares about Pakistan, its soil, and the people of its soil.

"They [Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz leaders] know that they can be disqualified anytime I wish to do so, but I just think for [the betterment] of Pakistan,” said Zardari. 

The PPP co-chairman also thanked the attendees for showing solidarity with the Model Town incident victims and promised to get justice for the families of the deceased. 

"My brothers and sisters, I thank you for coming to this protest here. We will get justice for Model Town victims, and Zainab," he said, referring to the seven-year-old child brutally raped and murdered in Kasur. 

He stressed, during the address, that Pakistan has a long journey ahead. 

"Humans do not have a journey, nations do. We eat the crops grown on this soil, so our allegiance is with this country."

The former president also lashed out at military dictators taking over the country and denounced martial law administrator Zia-ul-Haq's decisions of the past.

"Dictators do not build countries, they only destroy them. The problems that we have today are gifts from Zia-ul-Haq."

Protest to seek justice for Model Town tragedy

The protest is being held against the Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N) government – to seek justice for victims of the Model Town tragedy.

The Model Town incident on June 17, 2014, had resulted in deaths of 14 people and injured around 100 during an 'anti-encroachment operation' by the Punjab Police outside Idara Minhajul Quran, the PAT's head office.

PAT chief Tahirul Qadri reached the rally venue from his Model Town residence. He was joined on stage by senior PPP leaders including Khursheed Shah, Aitzaz Ahsan, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, Nayyar Hussain Bukhari and Manzoor Wattoo among others.

Supporters of opposition parties, including PPP and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), are at the rally at Charing Cross, Mall Road.

Qadri is expected to announce the joint opposition's future strategy — which can range from a sit-in to a long march or a mix of both — in the night during his concluding speech, according to sources.

DIG Operations Haider Ashraf, told Geo News that over 6,000 police personnel, including 11 SPs and 24 DSPs, will be deployed.

He informed that participants of the rally are being checked at three points, adding that alternative traffic arrangements have been made.

Gridlock around Mall Road

The arteries around the Mall Road remain congested in the wake of the demonstration. The flow of traffic remains affected on Shahrah-e-Fatima Jinnah, Kachehri Road, Hall Road, Cooper Road, Boharwala Chowk and Egerton Road.

Similarly, nearby educational institutes, including the Punjab University, as well as surrounding markets and the Lahore Zoo are closed today.