LAHORE: Preacher-turned-politician Dr Tahirul Qadri’s supporters were enthusiastic, passionate and vowed to continue the three-year long struggle till completion of their demands of ouster of Punjab Chief Minister at all costs. The powerful speech of Tahirul Qadri was well received by his followers who had pledged to support him through thick and thin.

Pakistan Awami Tehreek power show at The Mall was started in a caravan from Lahore Airport where PAT Chairman Tahirul Qadri flight from Norway landed at 7 am.

The protest site gave a chance for Dr Qadri supporters to visit the British era buildings including National College of Arts, Lahore Museum, Punjab University Old Campus and Town Hall. Many of Dr Qadri’s followers took selfies with statue of Alfred Woolner (former vice chancellor of Punjab University) in the background.

Songs with lyrics ‘Welcome Welcome Tahirul Qadri’ and slogans ‘Gali Gali mein mach gya shor – GT Road say nikla chor” charged the crowds. Tahirul Qadri addressed the fans despite the fact that it continued to rain throughout the address. Interestingly none of his supporters left the venue to take cover from rain. People were uploading their selfies and videos at the protest site on their Facebook and other social media sites.

Imran Bashir, 30-years-old, who hails from Mandi Bahauddin village Sayedan and Maiana, is a diehard follower of Dr Qadri. He started his journey after Fajr prayers from his village to see his leader. “We are 12 friends who came on two cars to participate in our Quaid’s rally. For me Dr Qadri is the person who can lead this nation out of current problems,” he told The Nation.

“It’s been three years since Dr Qadri began asking for the Qisas of 14 martyrs of Model Town tragedy. We don’t know when we will get achieve our aim but the struggle would continue. The only option we have left is to continue the struggle,” Imran said.

Contrary to other supporters he thinks that if Dr Qadri stayed on in Pakistan instead of going abroad he would get ‘justice’ faster than Imran Khan. He showed commitment to follow the party’s guidelines despite his personal opinion. 

At Allama Iqbal International Airport thousands of Dr Qadri’s fans and PAT workers were present before the flight landed. Imran and his friends were among them.

“We have not taken up arms against the state. Our struggle is non-violent and we will always exercise our right to protest,” Imran said.

Javed Akhtar, 21-year-old, is student of B.Com at Sargodha University and hails from district Chiniot. “After Nawas Sharif was disqualified by five member bench of Supreme Court, it has given us hope that we too would get justice,” Javed said.

Abdul Khaliq, 40-year-old, who runs a small grocery store in Mandi Bahuddin  said he had closed his shop to listen to Dr Qadri.

“Change of system is inevitable and achieving a Pakistan where rich and poor will be under the same rule of law is the ultimate goal,” he said.

“Our sisters and brothers were murdered in broad day light. No culprit has been arrested in the last three years. We demand publication of the Justice Baqir Najafi commission report,” he said. “Shehbaz Sharif should be worried. His days are numbered if the report will be published because he is the main accused. “After ‘Gone Nawaz gone’ now our slogan is ‘Go Shehbaz go’,” Khaliq said.

Muhammaf Asif, 24-year-old, is a security guard in Askari Apartments . “I came here to welcome my leader Dr Qadri after doing my duty and I have not sleep the whole night,” he said.

He was proud of being from district Jhang from where Dr Qadri also belongs. He said his village is 7 km away from the Dr Qadri’s village.

“We want justice at all costs,” Muhammad Asif said.

Huge banners were placed on all sides at the protest site inscribed with “Publish Justice Baqir Najafi report” and “Khon Rang Laye Ga-Inqilaab Aye Ga (Blood will bring in the revolution”.

Zulfiqar Ali, 43-year-old from Narowal said that If Qadri continued his struggle he would also get success like Imran Khan,” Zulfiqar said. 

Aijaz Ahmed, 32-year-old, had come from Gujranwala. For him the only ray of hope in country is Dr Qadri who will provide justice to Model Town tragedy victims.

Amjad Ali, 45-year-old, from Jarawala said he arrived at the protest site around 9 am. “Only Dr Qadri can end the status quo. Our party workers have given their lives to seek justice and we will not refrain from doing so in future,” he maintained.