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Qadri warns of backlash if long march obstructed

09 January, 2013

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LAHORE: Minhajul Quran Chief Allama Tahirul Qadri said federal and Punjab governments were using undemocratic tactics to thwart the long march.

Talking to media persons here at head office at Model Town,he said if long march was obstructed, the crowd would not remain under his control and government would be responsible for the resulting chaos.

Punjab government was harassing the transporters and forcing them to cancel bookings for the march, he said.

All MPAs in Punjab have been assigned the duty to stop the participants of long march in their respective constituencies, he added.

He said his workers had informed him that containers were in being placed on Islamabad roads to block peaceful protesters.

Similarly, government of Punjab is planning to block main roads in the province leading to Islamabad.

An international media firm has been hired to start a psychological campaign against the long march and to propagate that this march was foreign-funded.

Government is trying to create anarchy in the country, he said.

To a question about the rumours of his house-arrest, he said he could be arrested but not the millions of his workers.

He said his workers had informed him that government was blocking roads in Islamabad. The leaders of Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslameen also were present in the press conference. They have announced that their activists would take part in the long march on January 14.

Meanwhile Minhajul Quran information secretary Qazi Faiz said that long march led by Dr Tahirul Qadri will be launched at 9:00am from Lahore on January 13.

As per schedule, the convoy will pass through Muridkay, Gujrat, Gohjar Khan and will stay for a while in Rawalpindi.

The spokesperson for Minhajul Quran said rallies from other cities will join the main convoy to head towards Islamabad.

He stated that there will be a 'public parliament' in front of the parliament house.

On the other hand, security has already been tightened in the Red Zone and Islamabad police are finalizing a strategy to deal with any untoward incident.

Meanwhile, a petition was filed in the Supreme Court on Tuesday requesting the court to stop the proposed long-march by Dr Tahirul Qadri.

The petitioner argued that Qadri was attempting to establish a parallel system by imposing his own ideology, which was against the law and constitution of the country. He pleaded the court to direct the Tehreek-e-Minhajul Quran chief to refrain from doing anything that is illegal, improper, unlawful and unconstitutional.

Filed by Advocate Asad Mehmood just six days prior to Qadri's proposed long march, the petition states that Qadri's intentions may be good and for the welfare of Pakistan, but apprehensions were being expressed widely that the real agenda behind his rally was to derail the nascent democracy or to bring bloody revolution, which may result in the killings of innocent human beings and threaten the very sovereignty of the country.

The petitioner pleaded that the constitution was very clear on the appointment of the caretaker government and noted that Qadri's insistence on amending articles 62, 63 and 218 of the constitution by bringing a large number people to the capital's Constitution Avenue to make it Tahrir Square could lead to bloody incidents. What happened at Cairo's Tahrir Square, the petitioner recalled, is known to everybody and a large number of people died as the square was tuned into a battlefield.

Moreover, he argued that the revolution at the Tahrir Square was against a dictator and for the enforcement of the fundamental rights, while in Pakistan, people are already enjoying fundamental rights and the benefits of democracy. In case of any infringement of such rights, grievances can be redressed by the courts of competent jurisdiction, the petitioner contended.

He further said that the upcoming elections are very crucial for the future of Pakistan, and it was the wish of every citizen of the country that true representatives of the people who are loyal, patriotic and have a desire to work for the betterment of the country should form the next government. Qadri can redress his grievances by taking legal recourse by approaching any court of competent jurisdiction, the petitioner suggested, and enquired what change did he intend to achieve by gathering such a large number of people in Islamabad.

He argued that there are so many modes and remedies which the law allows Qadri to bring change in the country, adding that the religious leader has the right to educate and inform the public by adopting any legal means as to what was good for them and the country and even help the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), the civil society, the media and other NGOs.

End.

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