ISLAMABAD: They were rivals once. Now they have decided to come together to fight against their opponents on the political battlefield to change the status quo.
“Change is inevitable,” said Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, in a crowded press conference where he welcomed former Intelligence Bureau chief Masood Sharif Khattak, who contested elections against Imran from NA 15 in Karak, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa in 2002, to the party. Khattak formally announced his affiliation with the PTI on Friday. He quit the PPP when former chairperson Benazir Bhutto struck a deal with former president Pervez Musharraf on the National Reconciliation Ordinance in 2007. Khattak had been a member of the central executive committee (CEC) for 10 years. According to Imran, “The PTI is a liberator for oppressed people.” No alliance is possible with the PML-N or the PPP till their leaders declare their assets, he stated. The PTI in its CEC meeting will nominate members for a parliamentary board to scrutinise politicians who wish to join the party, he said. “PTI will not award tickets to opportunists and corrupt politicians.” Imran reiterated. “The CEC will also constitute a cell to expose hidden assets of politicians.”
The PTI chief said the party will depute ten youngsters at every polling booth to observe the turnout as well as to facilitate voters in the next general election. “These cheetahs will make sure there is no rigging at polling stations.” He said, “We will approach the Supreme Court to seek legal assurance for free and fair elections in the country.” However, he categorically stated that free and fair elections are impossible under President Zardari.
Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) statement
Replying to a query on a statement by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), PTI Chairman reiterated his words: “Islam is a religion of liberal people.” TTP spokesman Ahsanullah Ahsan in his interview with the BBC had called Imran Imran a slave of the US and Europe because he labels himself a ‘liberal’. Taliban should remember that Holy Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) religion is liberal, Imran said. “Compulsion has no place in Islam.” Imran said elements involved in the murder of former premier Benazir Bhutto might have asked TTP to issue statement against him. “Yes, I’m liberal because I follow Allama Iqbal’s ideas,” he stressed.
Case against MQM chief
Imran revealed his party’s legal wing had submitted documentary evidence against MQM chief Altaf Hussain to the Scotland Yard in London. They asked for recording witnesses’ statements but the government did not cooperate with the investigators, he explained. “It’s the PPP’s responsibility to cooperate with the Scotland Yard to resume proceedings against him.”
Published in The Express Tribune, November 12th, 2011.