LAHORE - It was a lacklustre show on arrival of Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT), Chief at Allama Iqbal International Airport (AIIAP) on Monday morning, said eyewitnesses to the incident.
Despite remaining in plane and declining to step down for more than six hours, Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri could not gather more than 1500 workers at airport for his reception, said an officer of CAA.
Keeping in view the Model Town incident wherein about eight workers were killed by police firing, Punjab government has dealt arrival of PAT Chief very tactfully.
PAT Chief flight EK-612 scheduled to land at Islamabad Airport was diverted to AIIAP Lahore and it landed here at 9:32 am.
After landing of the flight , Qadri refused to step down from the plane and demanded airlines staff to take him to Islamabad Airport as per ticket and agreement with airline.
More than 25 men and women who seemed to be commandos by appearance and way of talking showed videos of Model Town killings to airlines staff and said that Qadri’s life was not safe at Lahore so drop him at Islamabad Airport, a CAA officer who visited the plane said.
Meanwhile, a delegation of Punjab government headed by Provincial Law Minister, Rana Mashood Ahmad Khan visited Lahore Airport and Emirates Airlines plane to have dialogue with Dr. Qadri.
But Qadri refused to come out of the plane and said that he would come out only if Pakistan Army will come and escort him to Model Town. Then he changed his stance and made another demand that his own security squad should be allowed to escort him for his residence.
After sometime he again changed his stance and said that he would only come out of the plane when Governor Punjab will come to receive him.
PML-Q Punjab chief Ch. Pervaiz Elahi made a telephone call to . Qadri and told him that he was coming to see him in plane. Tahir-ul-Qadri waited for Pervaiz Elahi but in the meanwhile Governor Punjab, Ch. Sarwar reached the airport.
Pervaiz Elahi also reached Airport and joined them.
Dr. Qadri reached Jinnah Hospital alongwith Governor Punjab and Pervaiz Elahi to inquire after the health of PAT injured workers.
PAT workers who gathered at AIIAP to receive their leader chanted slogans “Hum baity kis kay….Tahir Kay”, Tahir Tairay Jaan Nisar….beshumar beshumar”.
Angry workers also chanted slogans against Federal and Punjab governments. No significant hurdles were created outside airport and PAT workers entered airport easily in concourse hall. Women were also there to welcome their leader, a PAT worker said that number of women was 40 per cent.
Police remained cool and no clash happened between police and PAT workers since police restrained itself from confronting with PAT workers.
CAA authorities also managed the arrival of Qadri very successfully and flight operation remained intact and no incoming or outgoing flight was effected. About the diversion of Emirates Airlines flight a former Deputy Director General, Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), Abid Rao said that diversion of Qadri flight was beyond CAA Rules and Regulations. He said that there was no safety threat at Islamabad Airport runway. So flight diversion was a political decision, he added.