ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has decided to launch Pakistan’s ‘largest’ protest against Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani if he refuses to accept his disqualification.
Party chairman Imran Khan said that he is ready to join hands with Nawaz Sharif‘s ‘Go Gilani Go’ movement if Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) members resign from the assemblies.
“Gilani should step down,” Imran demanded, while speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, during which he announced that PTI will organise a march in Islamabad on May 6 to express solidarity with the apex court.
On April 26, the prime minster was convicted by the apex court with contempt of court charges for not writing a letter to reopen corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.
Gilani claimed that he, as the prime minister of Pakistan, will not write the letter to Swiss authorities since the president enjoys immunity under article 248 of the Constitution.
The largest opposition party, PML-N threatened the government to accept the court’s decision or face a protest movement against the premier. Party chief Nawaz Sharif also announced that they were coordinating with other parties.
“The PTI and PML-N may stand united to unseat Prime Minister Gilani,” Imran said, adding that “We will wait till the completion of legal processes.” He urged the Speaker of National Assembly as well as the Election Commission to complete Gilani’s disqualification process as soon as possible in light of the court’s order. Acknowledging Gilani’s right to appeal against the apex court’s verdict, Imran said that he should plead his case as a common citizen and not as the premier.
Imran also suggested constituting a three-member committee to hold talks with leaders of different political parties regarding the future course of action.
The committee will comprise PTI Vice-Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi, PTI President Javed Hashmi and Dr Arif Alvi, who will discuss important issues related to the current political situation in the country.
A senior leader of PTI told The Express Tribune that both Imran Khan and the PML-N can work jointly to force the Pakistan Peoples Party to implement the Supreme Court’s order.
He also recalled that Nawaz had started the ‘Go Zardari Go’ movement, which ended in vain as he could not win support of other parties. “If the PML-N is really serious to work for the people, then it should ask its members to quit the assemblies in order to overthrow the government,” Imran said.
A PML-N spokesperson said that his party had already asked all the parties, including PTI, to join hands and force the government
to implement the court’s order. He also said that some senior leaders of the PML-N are in touch with senior leaders of PTI to formulate a
joint strategy to depose the prime minister.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 2nd, 2012.