The Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) on Saturday said it is confident that the intervention of Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif would help resolve the current political crisis in the interest of democracy and the country.
“The leaders of PAT [and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf ] have both given a positive response and progress has been made in meetings with the chief of the army staff to clear this impasse and have a solution to the whole problem in a democratic way, meeting the demands of the demonstrators for justice and good governance,” said the PAT report submitted before the apex court on Saturday. The report was submitted by the PAT counsel Ali Zafar in response to the Supreme Court’s August 28 order regarding vacation of one side of the Constitution Avenue, where the PAT and PTI has been staging a sit-in since August 19.
The report said ‘fortunately’ a development had taken place which was being welcomed by the nation as a whole.
“Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has desired the army chief to intervene in the matter and he [Gen Raheel] has accepted this role in the national interest and conveyed his desire to PAT (as well as PTI) leaders for a response,” it said.
The PAT report contended that the intervention of army chief in the ongoing political unrest had been welcomed by the nation as a whole. “God willing, justice will prevail and the sit-in will bear fruit,” it added.
Talking with reference to the court’s order, the report claimed that three of the four lanes on Constitution Avenue had been cleared and traffic was flowing on these three lanes.
“Traffic is proceeding smoothly on the Constitution Avenue and it [PAT] shall continue to ensure that three of the four lanes of Constitution Avenue will remain fully open without any hindrances,” it said.
PAT requested the top court that considering its assurance and the reality on ground, the petition against the ongoing protests at Constitution Avenue be dismissed.
A five-judge larger bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Nasirul Mulk, will resume hearing of several petitions, filed by different bar associations, against any extra-constitutional steps in the prevailing situation on September 1.
Meanwhile, a member of the PAT team, which is negotiating with the government, told The Express Tribune that the dialogue had failed last night due to the government’s refusal to accept the condition of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif resignations.
“PAT wants one resignation before it wraps up its protests, otherwise the whole exercise of the sit-in will be useless,” he said, adding that without military intervention, the political impasse could not be resolved.
“If the issue is not resolved within 24 hours then there will be massive violence as leadership of the PAT cannot compel protesters to stay any longer on the Constitution Avenue,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 31st, 2014.