How Imran changed tack on PSL final

Published: March 9, 2017
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ISLAMABAD: The PSL may have stolen the spotlight for quite some time; yet the mega corruption scandal continued to stay high on the political chart, with the latest row between the PTI and the PML-N on the prolific cricket event linked to the Panamagate, it is learnt.

PTI supremo Imran Khan’s seemingly bizarre opposition to hosting the final of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) in Lahore ended up in drawing public ire.

It was part of the PTI’s strategy to counter the PML-N’s rising political graph linked to the PSL episode against the backdrop of an all important decision on the Panamagate expected in coming days.

PSL final: Marriyum condemns Imran’s statement

Knowledgeable political sources told The Express Tribune that Khan’s initial statement in favour of hosting the PSL final in Lahore in the aftermath of the terrorist attack in the provincial capital raised concerns in the PTI K-P chapter.

It believed that the Punjab government was planning to deny PTI supporters an opportunity to watch the match at the Qaddafi stadium and ‘stuff’ the stadium with PML-N supporters.

The move, the PTI KP chapter conveyed to the party chairman, aimed at serving the N-League’s political interests by attracting public support ahead of the Supreme Court’s decision in the Panamagate case.

This alarmed the PTI chairman who instantly changed his stance on the PSL final and pointed his guns at the federal and Punjab governments for deciding to arrange the event in Lahore in the wake of serious security threats.

In addition, PTI insiders believe, the PML-N had planned pro-N-League political sloganeering in the stadium during the match in order to glorify the PSL achievement of the federal government and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Imran Khan in eye of storm over ‘vile’ comments about foreign PSL players

“Arranging this kind of event and giving it a political flavour was something going the PML-N’s way. They were taking all the credit for hosting the mega event’s final in the face of serious security challenges. Something needed to be done,” said a senior PTI leader, requesting anonymity.

He, however, admitted that the PTI chairman “played it rash” in dealing with the issue.

“His (Khan’s) selection of words was poor and unwise. He further infuriated the public and political circles by getting reactive to the criticism in an immature manner,” the source said.

Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah rejected that the PTI’s opposition to the PSL final was linked to the party’s fear that the PML-N was politically cashing in on the situation.

“How come the PTI supporters in huge number from Peshawar and elsewhere managed to watch the match in the Qaddafi Stadium if the Punjab government wanted to deny them this opportunity?

“The tickets were distributed by the Bank of Punjab. Do you think anybody outside Punjab would have managed to make their way to the stadium had our provincial government not wanted?” he told The Express Tribune.

“It’s not the PTI’s fear but their sick mentality.”

On the Panamagate case, he said the issue is for the Supreme Court to deal with.

“And when the apex court is already dealing with the matter, thinking that political parties would resort to influence the court’s ruling reflects a childish mentality.

Another senior PML-N leader, requesting anonymity, referred to ‘Go Nawaz Go’ slogans chanted by PTI supporters at the PSL final on March 5 when PSL Chairman Najam Sethi was delivering a speech.

“Now, tell me who resorted to political motives, them or us?”

Zar Gul Khan, the PTI regional president and political coordinator to K-P chief minister, said the federal and Punjab governments initially tried to prevent PTI supporters – mainly from Peshawar and other parts of K-P – from watching the PSL final in the stadium.

Mr Khan and the ‘phateechar’ logic behind his ‘Africa’ comment

“But, when Peshawar Zalmi made its way to the final, and considering that the team’s huge support base comprised PTI supporters, the PML-N governments at the Centre and Punjab changed their plan, fearing public backlash.”

Asked to comment on anti-PM slogans shouted by the PTI supporters at the final match, he said, “When you make a political speech at a sports event, don’t expect a ‘non-political’ reaction,” he referred to the chairman PSL’s speech.

Presently, things look to have heated up after Khan was spotted as labelling foreign PSL players, who played the final match in Lahore, as ‘phateechar’ (useless) and ridiculing them in a leaked video of his meeting with a select group of journalists on Monday.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 9th, 2017.

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Reader Comments (11)

  • salman
    Mar 9, 2017 - 10:55AM

    LOL another misleading news.Recommend

  • Muzammil Shah
    Mar 9, 2017 - 11:00AM

    Dear Media,
    Some of the Media houses & generalists, Your alliance and affiliation with the Government and to save the corrupt Mafia & corrupt Sharifs isn’t hidden to the Pak nation anymore. This is the yellow & worst form of generalist you are displaying. You have become a Pro Govt party which is busy all the day long to save the corrupt elites. $urely you will be getting reward$ also in return to this.But let me tell you the cheap ways some of the Media houses have adopted to defame the Great IK won’t work anymore.
    By the way why Media gets to a deep sleep for critical National issues, Why you can’t see Zardari again getting active. Who will ask him for the corruption he had in his tenure and before.who will ask him the Memo gate scandal. Who will ask him the Murders of Honest Govt officials in his tenure. Who will ask him the hundreds of innocent children deaths in Thar.???
    What about corrupt Govt of Sharifs. Who will ask them for the brutality in Model town. What about Sex scandal of 283 children in Lahore. What about corruption in Punjab Govt projects when LHC has said Mass corruption in Punjab Govt projects. What about the inflation in country. What about the promises of Corrupt NS about Electricity, Energy crises, PIA reforms & economy. What has he delivered. What about Kilbhoshan Yadev & many other Indian spies caught by the agencies. What about the most famous (Notorious for Sharifs) PANAMA. What about the fake News leaks scandal against the Armed forces and what not.
    Media has much more to highlight which must deliver some positive to the nation. But Media only watches what IK has eaten, what he has worn, what he has said bla bla bla IK.
    Listen, Whatever IK is, obviously he is a human being. He must be committing mistakes. But he isn’t financially corrupt. He isn’t a murderer of innocent people. he is up from all of the heights and level of respect Media people are putting their corrupt Mafia. Also he will never give Lafafas to any of the media house or any generalist. you continue your job, he will continue his journey.
    do print these comments if media has enough courage.
    Best of LuckRecommend

  • Mamu
    Mar 9, 2017 - 12:00PM

    @Muzammil Shah:
    My Salute to your fabulous comment. You made my day! Thumbs up and keep commenting to let the world know the truth.Recommend

  • Raghu
    Mar 9, 2017 - 12:42PM

    @Muzammil Shah:
    I cannot like your comment enough. Amazingg and comprehensive reply. Why dont you open your own newspaper?Recommend

  • saad
    Mar 9, 2017 - 1:13PM

    Getting boring now .. seems like slow day in news these daysRecommend

  • ab
    Mar 9, 2017 - 2:50PM

    obsession with Imran khan of electronic and print media continuesRecommend

  • pervaiz.
    Mar 9, 2017 - 3:33PM

    He wants to be PM of Pakistan by hook or crook and all this fuss for this purpose only. But we do not need any RELOOKUTA or PHTEECHER pm at allRecommend

  • Lolz
    Mar 9, 2017 - 9:57PM

    @pervaiz.: You need a leader like Mao in China when the whole nation was sleeping and addicted on opium. Yes people like you don’t deserve an honest leader but a shrewed one who would like you sleeping in peace. Recommend

  • S Hashmi
    Mar 10, 2017 - 1:04AM

    @Muzammil Shah:
    Spot on! Recommend

  • Faisal Chaudhry
    Mar 10, 2017 - 2:03AM

    @Muzammil Shah listen brother i am on no one’s side I don’t even live in Pakistan but I love my country from the depths of my heart. I know Imran isn’t corrupt but the thing is the PEOPLE he has around him those are corrupt. If he brings in new faces in Politics honestly I will be the first one to vote for him. Please don’t say he don’t have corrupt people because I don’t want to take names I knew some of them personally. But you are right our tragedy is the Media is always praising those people who are in Power. I am really sad for my Country May Allah Almighty give us good rulers Ameen. But why will Allah do that. You guys know that hadees jaisay log hoon gay waisay he hukamran hoon gay. Are we good law abiding and honest people we have to look to our self first.Recommend

  • Aftab
    Mar 10, 2017 - 9:17AM

    Mr U turn (IK): you have always disappointed me. Recommend

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