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Qadri, PPP Leaders Arrive At Mall Road Protest

ٓؒLahore (January 17, 2018): PAT chief Tahirul Qadri has reached the rally venue from his Model Town residence. On the stage accompanying him are senior leaders of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), including Khursheed Shah, Aitzaz Ahsan, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, Nayyar Hussain Bukhari and Manzoor Wattoo among others.

A joint opposition protest rally led by Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) against the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government — to seek justice for victims of the Model Town tragedy — is under way in Lahore. Supporters of opposition parties, including PPP and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), are at the rally at Charing Cross, Mall Road.

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Earlier, Lahore High Court gave conditional permission to PAT and other allied parties to hold protest in Lahore. They have been asked to wrap up the protest by 12.am tonight. The court has also barred media not to cover the event after the set time.

The government has also been ordered to clear the protest site at 12am and open the roads for traffic.

On the other hand, the PAT and other parties have already started their protest on Mall road.Members of opposition parties, including Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), are at the rally at Charing Cross, Mall Road.

A stage has been established atop a container in front of the Punjab Assembly. PPP chief Asif Zardari and PTI Chairman Imran Khan are expected to address the rally at different sessions, owing to their mutual hostility.Sources said Zardari will address the rally before evening prayers whereas Imran will take the stage after.

Moreover, PAT chief Tahirul 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.Over 6,000 police personnel, including 11 SPs and 24 DSPs, have been deployed.

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.Earlier, a three-member Lahore High Court (LHC) bench reserved its decision on a petition against today’s Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT)-led protest.

Traders of Mall Road and Advocate AK Dogar have challenged the protest in the LHC.

A larger bench headed by Justice Aminuddin Khan and comprising Justices Shahid Jamil Khan and Shahid Karim waas hearing the case.

Punjab Advocate General (AG) Shakeelur Rehman and counsels of the respondents were also present in the court.

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Earlier, the Punjab government presented its report on the protest in court.The AG said the protest administration has been informed of the security threats and problems related to the demonstration.

When asked by the court if the protest is a one-off demonstration or a continued sit-in, Dogar responded that from Qadri’s speeches it seems the protest will be a prolonged sit-in.

During the hearing of the case on Tuesday, the petitioners argued that Mall Road is an economic hub and the protest will hinder livelihoods of people. The petitioners stated that Nasir Bagh should be considered as an alternative venue for the protest.

After the arguments, the LHC sought replies from the federal government, PEMRA and other parties.Meanwhile, the LHC dismissed the plea requesting an initial order to stop the protest.

Earlier on Tuesday,the district administration of Lahore rejected Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) and other opposition parties’ request to stage a sit-in on Mall Road, a day before the power show against the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

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The administration had stated that people protesting should not choose Mall Road, as Section 144 is in place in the area which forbids more than four people to gather at one place.

Meanwhile PAT Action Committee regarding model town incident was held second meeting in Mihaj ul Quran on Tuesday and showed determinnation to hold protest against PML N Government. The meeting was attended by PPP, PTI, JI and others.

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Earlier, the LHC chief justice had formed a three-member bench, to be headed by Justice Farrukh Irfan Khan and comprising Justices Shahid Karim and Aminuddin Khan.

However, later, Justice Irfan recused himself from the case for personal reasons.

Related News: 

Opposition Parties All Set To Protest on Mall Road Today

Punjab Govt Submits Model Town Inquiry Report to LHC