KARACHI: In a move that is likely to deepen the political crisis enveloping the country, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) president Javed Hashmi on Monday accused PTI chairman Imran Khan of acting at the behest of others, while alluding to the army and the Supreme Court.
The PTI president, who had a recent falling out with the Imran over his decision to march towards the PM House , alleged that the protests were scripted. “Imran planned for general elections that would be held either late August or early September. Imran came here with a plan. Who’s plan? I don’t know,” Hashmi said.
And while Hashmi remained coy about who was behind the conspiracy, the PTI president couldn’t help alluding to the Pakistan army, whom he also alleged was the driving force behind keeping the Pakistan Awami Tehreek chief Tahirul Qadri’s protesters and Imran’s own in tandem.
“You [Imran Khan] would only move when Qadri moved. Whether it was from Lahore, or when we arrived. Are we their hostages?” Hashmi said angrily. “You were only abiding because they told you to move [in tandem with Qadri].” Hashmi refused to elaborate who ‘they’ were, but made regular references to the army continuously liaising with Qadri, not Imran Khan directly.
He implicated the current chief justice Nasirul Mulk, by claiming that Imran told him “we have a friendly chief justice now”. While he did not name Mulk by name, he affirmed that he was referring to the “current” chief justice.
“Imran had told the core committee it won’t be called a martial law…we will file a petition in the Supreme Court and get a judge of our choosing…and he will say okay,” Hashmi said. He continued, saying, that the “Chief Justice will validate the actions that will be taken eventually… Justice Jillani [the former chief justice] will retire and the current CJ will become chief justice … and they will get rid [of the government].”
He also made references to DG ISI Zaheerul Islam and many members of his own party without completing sentences or elaborating on the allegations. But he saved most of his ire for Imran Khan.
“Khan sahib you promised everything, and along the way you broke every promise,” he said.
Hashmi had initially voiced his dissent in a press conference on Sunday over the PTI’s decision to move the protests to Prime Minister House late Saturday night. The move, which triggered the violence that has since engulfed the capital, was not endorsed by Hashmi. He claimed that the entire core committee had decided against the move, only for Imran to later veto the decision and move his supporters there anyway after he received certain ‘instructions’.
Despite the dissent, Hashmi claimed that he was still president of the party. “I wish, Khan Sahib, that you would have read your own party’s constitution,” he said, alluding to Imran’s allegedly unilateral decision to remove Hashmi from PTI.
“Imran abides by the constitution when he wants. He doesn’t care about it otherwise. He is the king of his own party,” he said. On Sunday, Hashmi alleged that Imran changed his mind after a ‘message’ that he had received.
On Monday he again called out Imran’s decision to move to Prime Minister House, saying that other PTI members – Arif Alvi, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Asad Umar, Jahangir Tareen, Pervaiz Khattak – were against the move as well. The members had earlier denied Hashmi’s allegations, saying he was the only dissenter.
Arif Alvi, MNA from Karachi, moved swiftly to deny the charges. “Imran never said any such thing about the chief justice,” Alvi told Express News. Alvi also denied Hashmi’s allegation that Alvi voted ‘no’ in the decision to move to Prime Minister House. “Hashmi Sahib was the only dissenter,” Alvi said.
He also reserved harsh words for Sheikh Rasheed, not a PTI member, but a regular feature alongside Imran Khan throughout the protests.
“The entire core committee told you, Khan Sahib, that Sheikh Rasheed will ruin you, but you didn’t listen,” said Hashmi while questioning Sheikh Rasheed’s role in PTI and the march.