Wednesday April 24, 2024

After four years of denial: PAT leader says ‘London Plan’ was reality

By Murtaza Ali Shah
October 02, 2018

LONDON: A senior leader of the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) has accepted that the ‘London Plan’ was a reality and Dr Tahirul Qadri had met the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Imran Khan and Chaudhry brothers in London in the first week of June 2014 to enter into an alliance aimed at toppling the government of Nawaz Sharif.

Prime Minister Imran Khan has persistently denied meeting Dr Tahirul Qadri in London to launch what’s now known as the “London Plan” or the “London Dharna Plan” against the then PML-N government involving violent protests and sit-in that lasted for 126 days in the federal capital. The PTI leaders Shireen Mazari and Chaudhry Ijaz are on record denying that any meeting had taken place in London where an agreement was made to overthrow the elected government of PML-N.

The PTI leadership has denied getting into an alliance with the PAT and Chaudhry brothers because the main leadership was kept in the dark about the meetings, the people who attended and organised the meeting and where the meetings took place. But the admission by a senior PAT leader, who actively participated in the organisation of the 'Dharna', confirms what was reported widely in this paper and on the Geo News at the time of the meeting, which was denied by PTI at the time.

Speaking to a private television channel over the last weekend, Dr Tahirul Qadri’s aide and Pakistan Awami Tehreek leader Khurram Nawaz Gandapur has confirmed that Pervaiz Elahi, Chauhdry Shujaat Hussain, Imran Khan and Dr Tahirul Qadri met in London in June 2014 and decided that a movement would be launched against the government. When asked by the anchor if he accepted that the London Plan existed actually, the PAT leader said what happened was democratic. Gandapur added: “A decision was made that we will launch a movement and it was after that Dr Qadri announced to support it”. When asked about the London Plan during the private television show, Imran Khan categorically stated no meeting took place in London.

“There’s nothing to hide about. There was no need to do meetings in London. We will meet here and give our opinion. I don’t need to go to London for meetings.”

The News had reported in the first week of June 2014 that Imran Khan, Qadri, Chaudhrys of Gujrat and a few others including an anchor held meetings at three locations within two square miles of central London: the first meeting was held at an apartment block off Edgware Road; the second meeting took place at the office of Zulfi Bukhari and the third meeting took place at a ParkLane hotel. These meetings took place only a couple of days after Imran Khan had told this correspondent on May 30, 2014 that he would not enter into an alliance with Dr Qadri. Imran Khan had spoken to The News soon after arriving in London unannounced while the Chaudhrys of Gujrat and Dr Qadri were also here and held meetings on May 28th, 29th and 30th to launch the grand alliance to overthrow Nawaz Sharif’s government.

The PTI’s former President Javed Hashmi had also revealed that Imran Khan and Dr Tahirul Qadri held meetings in London and remained in constant contact through coordinators. Imran Khan had told The News that reports of PTI joining hands with Dr Qadri were “absolutely” incorrect and that he was in London to attend a fundraiser and to spend time with his children. Shireen Mazari had denied that Imran Khan was holding any meetings in London but in September 2014 Javed Hashmi revealed that Imran Khan did meet Dr Qadri and Khan himself had confirmed it to him.

Dr Qadri had met Chaudhry brothers at a night at the flat of a millionaire Pakistani businessman near Edgware Road. During the same week, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement leadership in London met Dr Qadri and offered him support. When contacted by The News for his version at that time, Dr Qadri had said that it was just a “coincidence” that he, Imran Khan, Chaudhry brothers were present in London at the same time but “the original meetings were planned between them only and had nothing to do with Imran Khan or his party”.

On May 31, 2014, Dr Qadri met Chaudhrys in East London and announced to bring “real democracy” to Pakistan and issued a 10-point declaration vowing to work together. Around three weeks later, Dr Qadri left for Pakistan to launch dharna with PTI and took around a dozen journalists with him – all of them compensated for travel and accommodation.