Pakistan Awami Tehreek organized peaceful public sit-ins in over 300 cities throughout the country on the polling day to reject the incumbent electoral system. The central sit-in which stretched from the Punjab Assembly to Masjid-a-Shuda was attended by 50,000 men, women and children.
By attending this sit-in in such large numbers, the people expressed their lack of confidence in the system. This was also the demonstration of their support for the principled position of Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri. The management of the sit-in installed huge-sized fans to protect the participants from extremely hot and humid weather. The stage was made on the container. National anthems continued to be played from time to time to whip up the sentiments of the participants, which kept the atmosphere warm. The people were carrying placards to protest the electoral system. The youth were wearing stickers on their bodies and arms with anti-system slogans written on them. The passion of the people was worth watching despite hostile weather. The participants chanted slogans against the electoral system and held it responsible for their problems.
Pictorial view of Dharna in Lahore
Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri delivered his keynote address to the participants of the sit-ins through a video link from his Model Town residence in Lahore. His address was broadcast live in over 300 cities as well as 150 countries of the world in which the Pakistani expatriate community staged sit-ins.
Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri said that it was for the first time in the country’s history that a strong and powerful voice was raised against the current electoral system in the form of these sit-ins organized by PAT. He said that the struggle launched in this manner would continue till the attainment of objective of real change in the country. He said that lines were clearly drawn wherein all political parties were aligned together to protect the status quo, while it was PAT only which was standing alone to demolish the system. He said that corrupt elite would have to be sent packing along with the system, which was responsible for the predicaments the people face today.
Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri said that the successful sit-ins organized by PAT have laid the foundation-stone for durable change in the country. He said that the current system would not allow any single party to gain majority. He asked the nation to remember that those who were raising the slogan of change would join the forces of status quo and corruption. He said that he never saw such low level campaign. He predicted that there would be marginal change of 5% to 10% faces and families under the system.
Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri said that whatever he had said since December 23 had proven true but added that he was accused of conspiring against democracy. He said that PAT workers deserved to be felicitated who proved to be mountain of courage and perseverance during the testing times. He said that the worst kind of horse trading would take place after the conclusion of polls and the entire nation would be aghast to see the specter of compromise on the principles, morality and ethics and would recall what he had said. He said that the political parties that had opposed his principled position had now boycotted the elections.
Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri said that purchase and sale of loyalties was the principal ingredients of the incumbent systems, adding that sacks of money would be opened to buy loyalties of the trading horses. He said that Pakistan Awami Tehreek had raised the banner of truth against the incumbent system from Karachi to Peshawar to Quetta and Kashmir. He asked the workers to continue working hard and achieve the target of 10 million new workers. He said that change was destiny of the nation and it is PAT whose point of view would gain victory in the end.
Pictorial view of Dharna in Lahore
Dr Qadri said that PAT chronicled a new chapter in history by choosing not to compromise on its stance against the corrupt system. He said that he wanted to see Pakistan develop into a country which should depend on its own strength and have the courage of saying NO to dictates of foreign powers. He said that Pakistan would not be able to achieve this status unless it got credible, competent and courageous leadership. He said that courageous leadership would emerge from the demolished system.
Addressing the participants of the sit-in, PAT President Dr RAheeq Ahmad Abbasi termed the countrywide sit-ins as historic and unique event in the country’s history. He said that the sight of participants of the sit-ins reminded of Islamabad Long March. He said that the participation of old men, youth, women and children proved that corrupt system has failed and the thought and ideology of Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri had won. He said that sit-in was a referendum against the corrupt system, adding that sit-ins had broken the idols of corrupt system. Drawing attention of those who conspired to thwart PAT’s movement, he said that they could see for themselves that this movement had now spread across the country and the countrywide sit-ins were its proof.
D G Khan