Preparations for the ‘Azadi March’ scheduled for August 14 continue at full steam as the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf reiterated that time for negotiations with the government is over.
PTI chairman Imran Khan has disclosed that Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has sent him several messages requesting talks. “Now there will be no negotiation or a deal with the government,” Imran said in a television interview. “We don’t accept a government that came to power through rigging.” He added, “I am ready to even receive a bullet for the sake of genuine democracy.”
PTI’s Secretary Information Shireen Mazari also said that “it’s too late to settle our issues through negotiation”. This came hours after senior member of the federal cabinet, Khawaja Saad Rafique, said that the government was willing to negotiate with both Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri.
She said that by invoking Article 245 in Islamabad, the prime minister seeks protection from the army. “The army will never back such a person who is against the interest of the people,” Mazari said. “We have been knocking at every door for justice for the last 14 months, but it has been in vain,” she added. “The final decision will be made at D-Chowk on the 14th.”
The party expects roughly one million people from across the country to join the Azadi March. Party organisational units, student and youth wings have been tasked with mobilising supporters, sources said. Additionally, the party expects supporters of the Pakistan Awami Tehreek, Pakistan Muslim League-Q and Awami Muslim League on the day.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 2nd, 2014.