Stopping the march: Malik Riaz reappears during talks

LAHORE: A surprise appearance by real estate tycoon Malik Riaz in Saturday’s talks between the government and Minhajul-Quran chief Tahirul Qadri threatened to derail the negotiation efforts.

Following his appearance, Qadri refused to even sit down with the Chaudhrys and alleged that the government intended to use Riaz to suggest that he had been bought.

The Chaudhrys rushed to defend Riaz, saying the businessman played a crucial role in building consensus among coalition parties regarding Qadri’s demands.

Riaz himself maintained that he came on behalf of the Pakistani people to prevent loss of life if Qadri pressed ahead with his march.

He agreed to leave the premises if his presence was objectionable, and promptly did following a brief talk with the media.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 13th, 2013.