Sharif may allow Qadri’s revolution march

 12 Aug 2014 - 0:00

Supporters of Tahirul Qadri, a divisive Pakistani-Canadian cleric, gather outside his house during a protest in Lahore on Sunday.


LAHORE: The government is likely to allow Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Dr Tahirul Qadri to hold his revolution march on August 14 - but not without putting restrictions in place. And that too, only after it fails to contain PAT’s anti-government campaign.
At the same time, political parties continued to negotiate with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)’s chief Imran Khan in a bid to convince him to shorten the duration of his sit-in in Islamabad.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif yesterday met in Raiwind, where they discussed the PTI’s August 14 Azadi march and Qadri’s revolution march in detail.
According to sources, Nawaz and Shahbaz called the meeting to devise strategy after Qadri called for a revolution march on August 14. In the coming days, the Punjab chief minister and Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan will convene a meeting of the party leaders to discuss the issue.
According to sources, the authorities in Punjab will continue their restrictions on PAT workers and will allow a limited number of activists to join the revolution march on August 14.
They, however, ruled out the release of around 1,500 PAT workers who were arrested from across the province. The police will also keep a close watch on Qadri’s workers and will try to confine their presence in their local districts till August 14.
The sources said the Punjab government will try to keep to a minimum number of Qadri’s supporters, gathering at his Model Town residence. And if it succeeds, then it will allow Qadri to go on GT Road at the same time when Imran Khan will come out from his residence at Zaman Park, Lahore.
 They said the government would try to give an opportunity to the workers of both parties to converge on GT Road in order to get political benefits by putting them in an odd position. The PML-N believes that neither Qadri nor Imran wants to lose the opportunity of leadership on August 14.
 The sources said Nawaz and Shahbaz have decided not to arrest Qadri at any cost. They said the PML-N leadership believes that Qadri’s revolution march’s call is an attempt to widen his popularity.