Families of Model Town victims to begin sit-in on 16th

LAHORE: Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Tahirul Qadri has announced that women belonging to families of the victims of the Model Town tragedy would stage a sit-in on The Mall from Aug 16 to “request” the Lahore High Court to make the Najfi commission report on the incident public.

Speaking at a press conference here on Friday, the PAT chief refused to call the sit-in a tactic aimed at exerting pressure on the court and said the protest was simply a “request and reminder” that the party’s petition had been pending in court for the past 30 months.

“The PAT does not want a bench of its own choice but a completely independent one,” said Mr Qadri.

He requested Lahore High Court’s Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah to first make the probe report public. It was the constitutional right of the families of those killed and injured as well as the PAT to know its contents, he said.

Qadri says he will not leave country until objectives are achieved

Mr Qadri said that if the chief justice had any compulsion or pressure to keep the report under wraps, he should let them know so that the PAT could knock at the doors of other forums. If not, the report should be immediately made public and a bench should be formed after Eidul Azha, insisted the PAT chief.

“Our party can no longer control the families of the martyrs who are pressing us to take to the streets,” he claimed. Women of the affected families would hold a sit-in on the Mall from Aug 16, and the rest of the party would support the dharna.

Earlier, relatives of those killed or injured in Model town in 2014 — mostly women — spoke on the occasion. “I lost my mother and aunt and have been waiting for justice,” said a young girl.

A middle-aged woman, who claimed to have lost her son in the shooting, requested the PAT chief to either launch a protest or support the victims in their fight because they had lost patience with the never-ending wait for justice.

In response to a question, Mr Qadri said he had extended his stay in Pakistan for an indefinite time.

“I would not leave Pakistan till the objectives are achieved. Unlike the past, I am now here till justice is delivered to the affected families.”

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