The head of the Pakistan Awami Tehreek, Tahir-ul-Qadri, announced on Saturday that he was stepping down as chairman of his party and was retiring from politics.
“I am retiring from politics, political activities and from my post as PAT chairman,” he said in a video message, attributing his decision to health concerns and scholarly engagements across the world. He said he was handing the leadership of PAT, which he founded in 1989, to its Supreme Council.
In his message, Qadri hailed his party’s efforts in ensuring accountability for the corrupt. “It was due to our struggle that the accountability process began and the corrupt mafia has now been held accountable, he said, adding, that his personal political struggle was only a fraction of his overall work for the betterment of Pakistan.
“We have worked to eradicate illiteracy from Pakistan and formed 5,000 educational institutions nationwide,” he said. “The PAT also helped introduce Articles 62 and 63 to the common man and made them aware of their fundamental rights.”
Qadri said his resignation did not mean the fight for justice in the 2014 Model Town killings was over. “We will continue our fight in pursuit of seeking justice for #ModelTownMassacre. It is due on us and is part of our faith to demand until the justice is served,” he said on Twitter. “As a result of our movement, those who could never be arrested were. Now it’s a test for the new people how they will continue the process of accountability.”
At the time, Qadri had explicitly called for the destruction of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) and had led a months-long protest in Islamabad demanding then-prime minister Nawaz Sharif step down.