LAHORE - PAT chief and Minhajul Quran’s founder Dr Tahirul Qadri is most likely to be taken into ‘protective custody’ on his arrival from Canada amid reports of possible threat to his life by some extremist groups, The Nation has learnt.
Dr Qadri, who joined hands with PML-Q under a 10-point reform agenda in London sometime back, wants to launch a massive campaign against the government along with other likeminded political forces to reform the existing system of governance in the country. To pursue this agenda, Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief has announced to stage a comeback tomorrow (June 23) at Islamabad airport.
Informed political sources privy to this development told this correspondent on Saturday that the ruling elite has received intelligence reports of possible threat to the life of Dr Qadri who has been taking a sharp line against the TTP and the like and in a bid to ensure protection to PAT chief, he was most likely to be taken into protective custody.
However, they said that the top leadership of the ruling party, which had already been under immense pressure concerning the bloodshed of the Minhaj workers at the hands of Punjab police, was in a fix over taking Dr Qadri into protective custody at the same time. As such an action could be translated by Qadri’s followers and his supporting political parties as a government bid to torpedo the physical movement of PAT chief in the name of security.
However, they added that inner circle members of the ruling elite have advised the high command to take the smaller risk of taking Qadri into protective custody instead of facing the bigger crisis in case of any assault on his life during public contact. However, at the same time, think tanks of the ruling elite were of the opinion that government should not take the political risk of taking Dr Qadri into custody under any pretext but make all possible efforts to ensure his security.
They are of the view that Dr Qadri’s free movement under foolproof security measures to get the steam out of the PAT chief’s planned drive against the government, as confining him under any pretext could further aggravate the situation against the backdrop of deaths of his followers during barriers removal drive outside the Minhaj Secretariat in Lahore.
A PAT spokesman talking to this scribe over the possibility of Dr Qadri’s protective custody claimed that they would resist all such bids. He alleged that government fears the upcoming popular movement under the leadership of Dr Qadri and it was concocting such stories to avert the challenge.
Meanwhile, a secret service that falls in the ambit of the civilian set up has established a special section to monitor day-to-day activities of the leaders of PAT and the parties that have joined hands with it to determine the possible mass of the anti-government drive.