LAHORE - The Punjab government has framed a strategy to peacefully contain Dr Tahirul Qadri’s advancement with his agenda of bringing revolution in the country.
The government is quite upbeat about the new strategy after Monday’s joint performance by the prime minister, the chief minister, the punjab governor, police and the administration to let Dr Qadri finish the day without any big show by the PAT and creating any law and order situation in the city.
The panicked-phase on the part of government is now over and it is set to neutralise the gains which Qadri-led Pakistani Awami Tehrik (PAT) had secured after deaths of its people allegedly at the hand of the Punjab police at Minhajul Quran Secretariat on June 17. Prior to Monday, the fear-stricken government expected PAT and Minhaj to drive it to further back-foot position by coming out in lakhs along with leaders of other political parties, to receive Sheikhul Islam. But lackluster show failed PAT to gain that vantage ground. Coupled with it, the PAT men thrashing and causing injuries to about 100 policemen on duty in Rawalpindi on Monday, has also instrumented material in the hand of the government to contest the PAT case on June 17 police action. Despite success in the earlier round, the government is not ready to show any slackness on the matter as it fears it can face a tough moment anytime so long as Dr Sahib is in the city. Dr Qadri is likely to announce the revolutionary programme against the sitting government before the start of Ramazan. The prime minister has asked the provincial authorities to ensure safety of Dr Sahib and avoid resorting to action against the PAT workers.
Sources in the government say that the Punjab and the Federal governments have decided to act closely on defusing tension and meeting any eventuality which the presence or announcement of Qadri can create. Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif, heading a special cell, had successfully handled the situation after landing of Dr Qadri in Lahore where the prime minister was also present and was kept abreast of the moment to moment developments. Sources say that cell comprising ministers, top ranking police, administrative and other officers will not show clumsiness and work out things according to the situation and developments. The federal authorities would also be kept in the loop to seek help and guidance as well as stave off efforts which cause the opposition parties to close their ranks.
As part of the strategy, instead of Qadri-related events, the public attention would be diverted to the anti-terror operation in Fata and maximum public engagement would be sought in helping the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) of Khyber PK. Sources say the federal government at the moment is genuinely worried about the growing number of IDPs and does not want any other issue taking its sight off their plight.
Sources say the performance of the Punjab governor is being highly appreciated in breaking the impasse on Monday and later allaying concerns of Dr Sb and mediating for conveying his demands to the government. The governor has ensured Dr Qadri that the culprits of June 17 incident would be identified and brought to books. Sources say the governor is also in touch with Qadri Sb on the issue of registration of FIR over PAT workers’ killing in Model Town. He will also get the matter probed through a platform which is mutually acceptable if the PAT did not trust the present judicial commission.