Hours after yet another inconclusive round of talks between Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and government negotiators on Wednesday, PTI chairman Imran Khan deferred the announcement of his ‘future course of action’ until Thursday (today).
Though the negotiations failed to produce a breakthrough, both sides didn’t say if they would meet again. Imran put the talks on hold, but his senior party colleagues say the future of talks depends on the government’s next move.
Moments after the government negotiators left Jahangir Tareen’s house, the PTI team reached Constitution Avenue where they briefed the party’s core committee about the outcome of the talks.
On Tuesday, Imran said he would make an announcement in his address to the protesters Wednesday evening, but that did not happen.
Imran, however, told his supporters that “there will be good news therefore, the announcement has been deferred”.
He dwelt at length on functioning democracies, drawing comparisons with India, Western world and other Muslim countries. After highlighting the ills in the system – nepotism, corruption and rigging – the PTI chairman said that rigging in last year’s elections was not the only issue which pushed him and his party to protest against the government. “We [actually] want to make a Naya Pakistan,” he explained.
Addressing the youth, he said the lack of a democratic leadership was the reason for Pakistan lagging behind the world. “There has not been a single democratic leader in this country after Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.”
Talking about the alleged electoral fraud, he said, “Former chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, then caretaker chief minister of Punjab Najam Sethi, former Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz jointly rigged the  elections.”
Imran reiterated his demand that the prime minister resign to ensure free and fair investigation by a judicial commission. “I can assure you there cannot be an independent inquiry into the rigging as long as the prime minister is in office.” “How can we expect an independent inquiry from those who had attacked the Supreme Court? If I am a murderer, how can I conduct my own investigation?”
The PTI chief also clarified that the PTI come out on the streets after exhausting all legal options and “no one should say that the army is behind us”. “Can there be justice in the presence of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif?” The crowd responded with an emphatic “No.”
Nawaz would not have increased electricity tariffs had he come through legitimate votes. Imran said there would be meritocracy in the Naya Pakistan and professionals from across the world would be brought back to their homeland.
Referring to India, Imran said the neighbouring country made progress by strengthening democracy and holding free and fair elections. It is because of India’s system there was no rigging complaint in India where 500 million people cast their votes in this year’s elections, he said.
The PTI chairman highlighted flawed policies of the government, saying that instead of spending money on health, the rulers spend money on the metro bus projects to get kickbacks.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 28th, 2014.