ISLAMABAD: With the PPP taking the lead role in setting the tone of politics over the Panamagate scandal, the PTI has softened its otherwise hard-hitting, anti-Nawaz Sharif stance by focusing on a legal offensive instead of street protests to dislodge the prime minister from power.
Not long ago, Imran Khan vocally demanded the premier’s resignation after the Panama leaks. He even threatened to march up to Raiwind in case PM Nawaz refused to step down. Now however, the PTI is following in the footsteps of the PPP to exhaust all legal means first before going for some ground action against the premier and his federal government.
Opposition asks Sharifs to come clean on Panamagate scandal
The PTI’s new strategy marks a complete U-turn. For informed circles, it is the increased ‘collusion’ between the PPP and the PTI that has resulted in the latter’s change of heart, causing it to completely deviate from its previous policy.
In a conspicuous move, just when the premier landed back home in Lahore after spending over a month in London, Imran left Lahore for London to meet his sons on Saturday.
Earlier last month, the PTI chairman was set to take to the streets in case Nawaz’s name was not included in the terms of reference (ToRs) being framed by the parliamentary committee on the Panama leaks. Insiders say PPP heavyweights, especially Aitzaz Ahsan, in the committee finally managed to convince the PTI chief not to take a solo flight that had failed to yield the desired results in the past.
Requesting anonymity, a seemingly disgruntled lawmaker from the PTI questioned the motives of the PPP’s strategy.
“The PPP is playing it legal – not for the national but for its petty interests. The PPP does not want to destabilise the government, but at the same time it wants to make its presence felt,” the legislator said.
On the PTI’s policy to side with the PPP, the lawmaker said: “Now is the time to wage a decisive struggle on the roads instead of stepping onto the legal path that would lead nowhere. We have long waited for this.”
Panamagate inquiry: Opposition announces boycott of talks on ToRs with govt
However, PPP leader Mehreen Anwar Raja said aggression without reason lead to disasters. She referred to the protest movement of the PTI and the Tahirul Qadr-led Pakistan Awami Tehreek.
“At the end of the day, it is not about the government but about the opposition,” senior PML-N leader Zafar Ali Shah told The Express Tribune. “How far does the opposition manage to play with the issue of the Panama leaks is totally up to them. If they show some spine and get things going in their favour, things can be different. Otherwise the Panama leaks will die a natural death.”
PTI’s Advocate Hamid Khan said his party preferred taking a legal course over protests to cover all aspects involving the matter. “We do not want the federal government to accuse us of destabilising the democratic setup without any legal justification. This is why the matter would be pursued legally before devising a future plan of action.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 15th, 2016.
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