Pakistan Awami Tehreek resurfaces after seven years

Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri

LAHORE: After a seven years’ hiatus, Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri’s Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) has re-entered the political scene, declaring its intent to contest the 2024 general elections.

On Friday, PAT central president Qazi Zahid Hussain affirmed, “We shall take full part in the upcoming elections from our own platform and on our electoral symbol,” Dawn news reported.

He was joined by party information secretary Nurullah Siddiqui, Raja Zahid, and other key members. Hussain emphasised that PAT candidates would champion the cause of comprehensive reforms in the system. A mass-contact drive and electioneering are set to commence immediately.

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PAT had previously boycotted the 2013 polls but participated in the 2015-16 local body elections.

In response to questions, Hussain stated that Dr Qadri endorsed the decision following a two-day consultation by the PAT central executive council.

Addressing another query, party information secretary Siddiqui clarified that Dr Qadri would not actively engage in electioneering for PAT nominees.

Furthermore, he highlighted a strict party policy, stating that once a candidate submits nominations from the PAT platform, withdrawal in favor of another party’s nominee is prohibited, leading to expulsion from the party.

He added that the party would not enter into any electoral alliance, and decisions regarding post-poll cooperation would be made at a later stage.

An insider revealed that any potential political collaboration with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), once a partner-in-protest, is ruled out. This decision stems from the PTI’s alleged deliberate avoidance of providing justice to PAT in the 2014 Model Town tragedy, during its approximately four-year rule, where 14 party activists lost their lives in a police raid.

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