ISLAMABAD/ LAHORE: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Sunday announced it will re-engage with the government in a bid to hammer out the terms of reference (ToRs) for the Panamagate inquiry, but made it clear that it had no plans to postpone its anti-corruption campaign.
“We will participate in the emergency ToRs meeting convened by the government on August 6,” PTI Information Secretary Naeemul Haq told reporters after a consultative session of the party’s senior leadership at Bani Gala. However, he said PTI will go ahead with its protest campaign set to begin from August 7.
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“Pakistan is passing through a critical phase in history and people will have to choose either the corrupt elite or real democracy,” a statement issued by PTI quoted party chief Imran Khan as saying. Imran cited the example of Turkish people against the military coup and said “they played a role much bigger than the politicians to save democracy.”
“We are going to start a new chapter in history of Pakistan and create awareness among the masses against corruption from Khyber to Karachi. We will make sure that the prime minister is held accountable,” Khan added.
Responding to a question, he said “we will announce our future strategy after the meeting and keeping in view the response of the government.”
Talking about the campaign, Haq said that the protest campaign would start from Peshawar on August 7 and Imran will lead that rally along with senior party leaders. “The purpose of the rally is to create awareness amongst the masses so that they stand up against corruption,” he added.
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He said that “we will hold a rally every week and Imran Khan would lead every rally.” He said that in addition to rallies, the PTI has also approached all legal forums over the issue. In this regard Dr Yasmin who had contested general elections against Prime Minister Nawaz from Lahore had filed a reference with the Election Commission of Pakistan seeking his disqualification. The hearing of the identical references would start this week.
Haq said that renowned lawyer Naeem Bokhari, who had recently joined the PTI, has prepared a Supreme Court petition. Decision on filing the petition has not yet been taken though the leadership discussed its contents in Sunday’s meeting.
Responding to a question about NAB’s response to its complaint against the PM and his family, Haq said that the bureau had not formally informed the party about its decision though media reports suggest that NAB has rejected the complaint.
When asked about the impact of disgruntled members over the protest campaign, Haq said that some members had reservations but they have nothing against the leadership.
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The joint opposition had on July 19 announced it was no more interested in talking with the government on ToRs and moving a bill in parliament over the issue.
The government had originally wanted to reconvene the ToRs meeting either on August 1 or 2, according to National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq. He said the government decided on August 6 as Pakistan Peoples Party’s Aitzaz Ahsan and PTI’s Shah Mehmood Qureshi were unavailable on the earlier dates.
PAT to protest from Aug 6
Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) on Sunday said it will start its own countrywide protest movement from August 6, a day before PTI’s anti-corruption campaign.
PAT chief Tahirul Qadri made the announcement after a consultative meeting with opposition parties, including PTI, PPP, MQM and PML-Q. He said a national action committee, led by Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid, has been formed to run the campaign.
He added that the opposition parties unanimously endorsed PAT’s eight demands.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 1st, 2016.
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