Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) founder Tahirul Qadri and PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari on Friday adressed their second joint-press conference of the month — with opposition leader Khursheed Shah by their side — to urge Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and his Law Minister Rana Sanaullah to resign for their role in the 2014 Model Town tragedy.
Speaking to the media on the eve of Saturday’s 'All Parties Conference' (APC), Zardari reassured Qadri of his full support on the matter, saying: "We have been with him on the matter from the start. It was all on television how people were martyred. People say 14 were martyred but I say 100 were martyred because many ended up with permanent disabilities on that day. This happened in the age of media."
"We have always struggled for justice. We demand again that Shahbaz Sharif and Rana Sanaullah should step down. They are influencing the inquiry," he said, before adding: "In my view, our struggle will pay off. If not today, then tomorrow — but justice will be served."
But while Zardari offered his party's full support to Qadri on the matter at hand, he discouraged speculation that it would lead to anything beyond. "We are with him on this position, but everyone has their own politics," he said.
When asked why he has repeatedly turned down the PML-N's overtures for reconciliation, Zardari explained: "They have indebted our future generation, so even if I stand with them, the nation will not accept."
Zardari also said that Khawaja Saad Rafique's recent remarks about Pakistan Army were an attempt "to hurt democracy some more so they can claim that there was a conspiracy against them and that 'I did nothing'."
Khursheed Shah echoed Zardari's sentiments on the Model Town incident, saying: "Everyone should get justice. Only the rich get justice here. Now all eyes are on whether the poor get justice in this country or not."
Several members of the ruling party, including Shahbaz and Rafique have recently flown to Saudi Arabia, with some suggesting that a new National Reconciliation Ordinance, courtesy of the kingdom, could be in the works.
But Qadri discouraged such speculation, saying that neither Arab authorities should nor they would interfere in Pakistan's internal matters.
"Nothing of this sort will happen; Saudi authorities will do nothing for them," he said. "We have our departments. We don't believe in others making decisions for us. You hear them everyday saying that political decisions should not be taken to courts. And now they have gone to other countries' darbars [courts] for themselves. They should be ashamed."
Zardari and Qadri had also held a joint-presser on December 7.