Pro-Tahirul Qadri protests erupt in Pakistan as he lands in Lahore

Widely followed in Pakistan, moderate religious cleric Tahirul Qadri`s flight was scheduled to land today at the an airport near the capital but now his plane has been re-routed to Lahore airport due to security reasons.

By Supriya Jha | Updated: Jun 23, 2014, 15:52 PM IST

Zee Media Bureau/Supriya Jha

Islamabad: With a charged crowd of supporters protesting outside the Benazir Bhutto International Airport in Islamabad, Pakistan Awami Tehreek chief Tahirul Qadri`s plane on Monday landed in Lahore after his flight was diverted due to security reasons, said Pakistan`s Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid on Monday.

Widely followed in Pakistan, moderate religious cleric Tahirul Qadri today arrived in Pakistan after many refusals to land at the airport in Lahore.

After hours of hovering over the runway, Qadri`s fliht finally landed at the airport after he agreed to disembark the plane and go to his residence with Governor Punjab and under protection of his personal guards, said a tweet from his official Twitter account.

Qadri had earlier refused to disembark at Lahore airport, insisting that he be landed at the previously planned airport in Islamabad.

In what is set to add to the troubles of the PML-N government, Qadri said, "I have come to Pakistan with all my belongings and will not leave until revolution comes in the country," the Dawn quoted him.

According to a Reuters report, over two thousand supporters of the cleric reportedly clashed with police outside the Benazir International Airport today morning before Qadri`s flight was to arrive.

The clashes in Islamabad`s Faizabad area left some 51 police constables, including a Station House Officer and constable, injured as PAT activists pelted stone, reported the Dawn.

In order to tackle the situation there, the police had sealed off all roads leading to the airport and blocked mobile phone services.

Pakistan has been sensing the heat since last week, when eight people were killed last Tuesday when Qadris` supporters clashed with Pakistani riot police in Lahore. 

Qadri`s homecoming is a bad news for the PML-N government as the PAT chief is said to have the support of powerful military establishment and he has earlier said that he will lead a peaceful revolution against the country`s parliamentary democracy.

Qadri`s arrival comes at a time when the Pakistani Army is engaged in an offensive against the militants in North Waziristan and the military could therefore use the delicacy of moment to override the government, say experts.
Qadri, who generally lives in Canada, has a vast following in Pakistan and he is known for having authored many books and issuing fatwas against suicide attacks.