Tahirul Qadri Refuses to Stop March

LAHORE: Allama Tahirul Qadri, who has vowed to turn Pakistan’s federal capital into world’s biggest Tehrir Square,  on Saturday once again said he would lead the long- march on Islamabad to get his demands met as government continued its frantic efforts to woo the cleric to cancel his plan, Geo News reported. 

Tehreek-e-Minhajul Quran (TMQ) Chief said that he would lead a long-march on Islamabad at any cost as per schedule and there should be no illusion in this regard.

Affirming his resolve to lead the march, he told a news conference that the incumbent government had lost legal, moral, and Constitutional authority to govern the country after Thursday’s carnage across the country which led to killing of over 100 people. He said Quetta and Swat blasts are a further phase of terrorism.”Wrong policies of the government caused corruption and terrorism”, said Qadri.

He made it clear that the rulers who proved failure to halt terrorism are either ineligible or aids of terrorists.

He said no one is safe in the country; either he is Muslim, Hindu, Christian or anyone else.

Qadri applauded the judiciary for dismissing writ petitions against his march and declaring them legal.

“The courts declared long-march lawful democratic and according to the fundamental rights provided by the Constitution of Pakistan,….I would request the local and foreign media that they should speak of the judiciary rejecting these writ petitions,” he added. “The judiciary has put no check on the long march; so any step to discourage it is equal to contempt of the judiciary”,

He took exception to the Punjab government measures to create hurdles in the way of his long-march and said that the administration was directing the transporters to return advance money which they received to transport the participants of the march to Islamabad.

He said that the Punjab government is using cheap tactics in order to put stumbling blocks in the way of long march to be held on January 14.

“The media as well as the wretched of the earth and majority of poor people will stand by me in struggle of restoration for peace and eradication of corruption from the country.

Without naming the minister for interior, Sheikhul Islam said that government is disfiguring the facts of in the name of politics labeling false allegation against the sincere workers of Minhaj.

He said that autonomy of the judiciary was restored by dint of untiring struggle of the lawyers, media persons and political parties.

He said if any attack is carried out on Long March than P. Qadri said that to call the long march ‘undemocratic’ is like insulting the judiciary and the constitution.

The TMQ chief said that ministries in the federal and the Punjab governments had been backing terrorists with providing them with safe havens.

He announced that he would make a will before his family members (Friday) today and advised them as to how they would continue his mission.

Qadri said that President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Mininster Raja Pervez Ahsraf, Interior Minister Rehman Malik, Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif and Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah would be responsible if any untoward incident occurred during the long-march.

Meanwhile, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira and Interior Minister Rehman Malik have separately advised Minhajul Quran chief Dr Tahirul Qadri to take back his decision of the long march‚ as did the Muttahidda Qaumi Movement.

Talking to media persons in Islamabad on Friday‚ Kaira welcomed the MQM’s change of mind and decision of not taking part in the long march. He hoped that Dr Tahirul Qadri would listen to the MQM and the people.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik, in a statement on Friday, also welcomed the decision of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement for staying away from Dr Tahirul Qadri’s long march on January 14.

He said the MQM chief took the decision to disassociate his party from the long march in the larger interests of the country. Malik asked Dr Qadri to withdraw his decision of holding the long march, which would be largely appreciated.

He expressed the hope that Dr Qadri would positively respond to his request to drop the idea of the long march in the larger interests of the country.

Kaira, when asked what course the govt will take if Tahirul Qadri went ahead with the long march‚ said everybody had the right to protest and assemble. He‚ however‚ made it clear that nobody will be allowed to disrupt the public life. It is the responsibility of the government to protect the lives and property of the people‚ said Kaira.

He said the government will try to secure the long march participants but could not guarantee their security.

Regretting the recent wave of terrorism in the country‚ the information minister said certain elements were using different tactics to delay the general elections in the country. He said the government and its security institutions were alive to the situation and would foil their designs.

He said the terrorists’ back had been broken and they were on the run but they still had the capacity to perpetrate terrorist acts. He said there was a dire need to isolate these extremists for the complete eradication of the menace.

Meanwhile, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira on Friday said that any change in the country could only be brought through ballot not through sit-ins or protest demonstrations.

Addressing the concluding session of a week-long journalist training workshop at the National Press Club (NPC) here, Kaira said, “The people, who want to bring a revolution, should contest elections and seek vote from the people as nothing can be changed through sit-ins and protests”.

Kaira said the Minhajul Quran was a religious NGO (non-governmental organisation) and not a political party, so Dr Qadri should better join politics and get his party registered with the Election Commission to participate in the elections.

He wondered how Dr Qadri could bring about a change if he did not want to contest the elections and get the people’s mandate.

Answering a question, he said there were concerns in different quarters about the long march of Tahirul Qadri as questions were being raised from where he was getting funds for the purpose.

To a question about the MQM chief’s statement about the Quaid-e-Azam, he said it was regrettable.

He said that Quaid-e-Azam took oath as Governor General under the 1935 Act as there was no constitution of Pakistan at that time. He said that the great leader and founder of Pakistan was not only the leader of Muslims living in Pakistan but also of those who were left in India.

The minister also appreciated the National Press Club for holding a training workshop for journalists.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf telephoned MQM chief Altaf Hussain on Friday night and thanked him for his decision on not to participate in the long march of January 14, announced by Dr Tahirul Qadri, Chairman of Tehrik Minhaj-ul-Quran.

The prime minister further said that in the backdrop of terrorist attacks in Quetta, Swabi and other parts of the country on Thursday and the threat of a possible attack on the long march on January 14, the decision of the MQM chief was in the larger national interest. He expressed the hope that Dr Tahirul Qadri would also review his decision to stage a long march in view of the security threat and prevailing situation.

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