Revolution comes to PTV
As if storming the PM House and assaulting journalists was not bad enough, the ‘leopards and tigers’ of the two dharnas attacked the headquarters of PTV on Monday. Armed with clubs they destroyed equipment, vandalised the building and left staffers traumatised. That they had the technical ability to take PTV off the air would hint at the attack being planned in advance rather than a random outbreak of anger. It took the deployment of Rangers and then the army to clear the building and get the station running again. This is an unprecedented event which appeared to have been staged mainly by supporters of Tahirul Qadri, who had praised the hooliganism before he started lying. Some reports suggest PTI activists also followed the hoard in. Since then both the leaders have denied, in somewhat contradictory terms, that their people were involved. Qadri has said the ‘Awam’, in other words ordinary people, broke in. Why they should do so he did not explain. Imran first insisted that none of his workers was a part of the attack and then said anyone who was would be dismissed from the party. It is clear that Imran and Qadri’s words incited these people to action. What we see is sheer thuggery unleashed by frustrated, angry people whose leaders lack clarity and wisdom.
Imran’s denial of responsibility is similar to his claim that the assault on the PM House was not his fault since he and his people were in the background while others led the attack. It is certainly true that Imran has kept a safe distance but that can be attributed to his self-preservation instincts. Everyone heard his calls for the rally to move there and he purposely sent his young “cornered tigers”, armed with sticks and stones, to the frontlines. Now he has called for the Kohsar police station to be stormed if his activists -detained for rioting – are not released. He has taken full and deliberate advantage of an absent government. The police seemed too fearful to take the necessary action to disperse the criminal crowd. The FIRs filed against Imran and Qadri for their role in the attack on parliament may be an attempt to regain the initiative but it is more likely to be a case of too little too late. Still, the assault on the PTV headquarters should be added to the charge sheet.