Pak Sunni Tehrik seeks `real` Islamic welfare state

The Pakistan Sunni Tehrik organised a rally at the Minar-e-Pakistan in Lahore yesterday that was attended by a large number of people.

Lahore: A Pakistani religious party has launched a movement to make the country a "real" Islamic welfare state, where no one would have "immunity from crimes and corruption" and justice will be done through `Sharia` courts.

The Pakistan Sunni Tehrik (PST) organised a rally at the Minar-e-Pakistan in Lahore yesterday that was attended by a large number of people, close on the heels of a nationwide movement by the Difa-e-Pakistan Council that was cobbled
together by Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief Hafiz Mohammad Saeed.

PST chief Sarwat Ijaz Qadri pledged at the rally the creation of an "Azad (independent) Pakistan."

"The PST will initiate serious efforts to make this country a real Islamic welfare state where no one will have any immunity from crimes and corruption. It will be the state where everyone will get justice through Shariah courts according to Islamic laws," he said.

This was the first rally since Qadri announced in Karachi in January that he was converting his organisation into a political party.

The Defa-e-Pakistan Council, which includes over 40 hardline and religious groups, has adopted more or less the same slogan as the PST though it has focussed more on targeting the US and India at its rallies.

The PST rally was attended by its workers from Lahore and several other cities across the country, reflecting the formal start of its political movement.

"We are starting our political struggle through this public meeting. I start it from myself by presenting my assets before you. I have only 10 outfits and my wife has Rs 150,000 in her account. Whereas my children are studying in a welfare
educational institution," Qadri explained, pledging to eliminate the "dirty politics" prevailing in Pakistan.

Qadri criticised political parties for crushing the country and damaging national unity and solidarity in the name of democracy.

"Due to wrong policies and so-called slogans of these parties, every Pakistani child is under debt of Rs 71,000," he claimed.

The PST was not fond of the idea of ruling Pakistan but had entered politics to make efforts for establishing a real Islamic welfare state, he contended.

Criticising the superior judiciary, Qadri said judges had ignored his party`s petition on important issues.

"The suo moto notices are being taken on the basis of choice. But no one hears our petition which has been pending in the court since long," he said.

Qadri urged people to study the PST`s manifesto, which was distributed during the rally, and sought their help to eliminate corruption by joining hands with the party.