#ModelTownMartyrsDay: One Year Later, Pakistan Remembers Model Town tragedy

Warning: This article contains graphic imagery.

One year ago today, Pakistani police descended upon the home of Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri in the Model Town suburb of Lahore, Pakistan. Tahir-ul-Qadri is the founder of Pakistan’s Awami Tehrik (PAT) political party and a scholar of Sufi Islam. Four years prior, he erected concrete barriers in front of his home and PAT headquarters as a safety measure after speaking out against the Taliban. Punjabi police wanted them removed, and they didn’t want to wait for court authority to do so.

Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri
Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, founder of Pakistan People’s Party (Pakistan Awami Tehrik)

After thrice being thwarted by gathering crowds of protesters and activists, they returned with assault rifles and opened fire into the crowd. Some fired tear gas and beat protesters with batons. The victims could only throw rocks in defense. Twelve were killed and dozens critically injured.

Twelve were killed and dozens critically injured in Model Town Massacre

Shortly after the clash, police visited a hospital where the wounded were being treated. There they reportedly altered the medical documents of injured police officers to show bullet injuries. It’s widely seen as an attempt to justify the Punjabi police claim that PAT activists were armed and shooting at police. Video from the scene shows just the opposite – police firing into the crowd unprovoked.

Pakistanis remember lives lost in 2014 massacre.

At the time, worldwide reporting of the incident was perhaps not as thorough as the matter deserved. Today, activists on Twitter are seeking to change that with #ModelTownMartyrsDay, a hashtag commemorating the first anniversary of the massacre. It coincides with official observances inside Pakistan.

Many used the opportunity to express their outrage, demonstrating how fresh the wounds still are in Pakistan. Taimoor Hassan, a Pakistani social worker and peace activist, summed up the widespread resentment felt toward the government.


He further expressed activist’s resolve to remember those who died in Model Town.


Others called for justice from the Pakistani government, who have largely denied direct involvement in the raid.


If you want to stand in solidarity with Pakistanis fighting for freedom of speech and police accountability, check out the hashtag #ModelTownMartyrsDay and show your support. Let the people of Pakistan know the world is with them. We leave you with a few words from Twitter user @Shehr0ze.

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Timothy Bertrand
Writer and journalist living in the Houston, Texas area. Follow me for breaking news, editorials, pictures of cats doing human activities, and other such content from around the web.


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