Cleric Qadri back in Pak, vows to seek justice for slain supporters
Lahore, Jun 29: Anti-government protest leader and cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri today returned to Pakistan from Canada after about eight months and vowed to seek justice for 14 of his supporters killed in a police raid last year.
"I call upon the responsible officers of Rangers, those commanding them and security institutions of the country to begin an operation against those who mercilessly killed 14 people during Model Town clashes in Lahore," he said, addressing his workers outside his residence in Model Town here.
About 4,000 workers of Qadri's Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) thronged the Lahore airport to greet him upon arrival. In addition to the 150-strong PAT youth force, heavy contingent of the Punjab police was deployed to provide security to Qadri.
64-year-old Qadri, a Canadian national, had staged a two-month-long sit-in in Islamabad in August last year along with Pakistan Tahreek-i-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan in a bid to oust Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and bring down his government.
Imran's sit-in however lasted for four months as he was demanding Sharif's resignation over rigging allegations in May 2013 general elections while Qadri sought justice for the killing of his 14 supporters and the Premier and his brother Shahbaz Sharif responsible for it.
Qadri left for Canada last October amid reports that he had struck a deal with the Sharif-led PML-N government.
Qadri, however, had denied such reports. The fiery cleric returned to Pakistan after launching a "counter-terrorism" curriculum in London last week to rebut the message of militancy propagated by the Islamic State (IS) in order to prevent radicalisation of youths.
Qadri said he was determined not to spare those involved in the killing of his supporters. He said the plot of the massacre was designed at the Prime Minister's House and accused both Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz for "supervising the killing".
A murder case was registered against Sharif, Shahbaz, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar and other cabinet members for their alleged involvement in the killing of Qadri's supporters in a police raid in Model Town on Jun 17, 2014.