ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Core Committee has formally decided to fully participate in the countrywide protest campaign of the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) being launched on January 17.
In a meeting on Saturday, the committee also decided that the party would pursue the Hudabiya Paper Mills case ‘till its logical conclusion’.
PTI Chairman Imran Khan presided over the meeting of the committee which instructed the regional presidents to ensure party’s ‘full participation’ the in PAT protest campaign, a statement issued after meeting said.
The PTI chief had already announced his party would join PAT protest campaign on January 18, a day after its launch.
The PAT demands resignation of Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Law Minister Rana Sanullah for 2014 killings by the police in Model Town, Lahore. PAT chief Dr Tahirul Qadri says the Model Town inquiry report by Justice Baqir Najafi gives credence to his claim that the chief minister and the law minister were instrumental in the killing of the PAT workers.
Qadri had given several deadlines for the resignations. Now, he has announced the launch of countrywide protest campaign not just against Shehbaz and Sanaullah but the entire PML-N government.
Besides the PTI, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has also joined the PAT’s protest movement. However, the PPP has also made it clear that it will not be part of any anti-government move – something that has reportedly not gone down well with the PTI and the PAT.
Requesting anonymity, a senior PTI leader told The Express Tribune that his party’s leadership was sceptical about PPP’s motives. The recent statement of Asif Zardari that the PPP would not become part of ‘any undemocratic move to dislodge the government’ is seen by Khan and his aides as an indication that the main opposition party might backtrack on supporting the protest.
However, a senior PPP leader said that Zardari made the statement after a change in Qadri’s stance. Qadri had previously demanded resignation of the chief minister and the law minister but later said that his protest campaign would continue until the PML-N governments – at the Centre, in Punjab and elsewhere – are sent packing.
“This is [a matter] of concern for us. We support PAT’s demand to the extent of removal of the CM and the Punjab law minister, who can be replaced by other PML-N leaders. But we are not in favour of toppling the PML-N government. This is not our agenda,” a PPP source said.
He added that Zardari’s statement was also aimed at clearing the air of uncertainty regarding the fate of Senate elections amid the perception that the PPP was out to dislodge the government in a bid to prevent the PML-N from securing majority in the Senate.
Meanwhile, the PTI said that the recent legislation for mainstreaming the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) was not enough. “The Fata reforms package should be implemented fully, [and] not partially. If rights are not given to tribal people, the PTI would be justified in offering resistance,” said the party.
On the other hand, PML-N President Nawaz Sharif, in a statement, congratulated the people of Fata on the passage of the bill from National Assembly to extend the jurisdictions of superior judiciary to Fata.
Despite the fact that the Supreme Court has closed the Hudaibya Paper Mills case, the PTI Core Committee reiterated to pursue it till its logical conclusion. “Whether the NAB [the National Accountability Bureau] takes action or not, the PTI will. It is not possible to close eyes on money laundering of billions of rupees.”
Participants of the Core Committee meeting agreed to take up the matter in the top court on the ‘basis of public interest principle’.
The meeting reiterated the resolve ‘to fight anti-state designs’ of a media group’s owner and to have his financial and tax-related matters scrutinised. “Accountability of every person, who is partner in the crimes of Nawaz Sharif, is obligatory,” the PTI’s press release said.
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