The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Monday ramped up accusations against the government, accusing it of orchestrating attacks on state institutions in a bid to defame the party’s struggle in the country.
Addressing the media after the party’s core committee meeting, PTI vice chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi clearly distanced his party from the attacks on Pakistan Television (PTV) headquarters and parliament. He insisted that PTI had no connection with either attack.
“We have apprehensions that the government might have orchestrated the attack on PTV and the Parliament House to portray that PTI and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) wanted to derail the democratic system,” said Qureshi, denying allegations levelled by the government.
An anti-terrorism court (ATC) had issued non-bailable arrest warrants of PAT chief Dr Tahirul Qadri, PTI chief Imran Khan and members of his political coterie for allegedly storming parliament and trying to take over the Pakistan Television building, taking it off air and beating up the station’s journalists on Sept 1.
The rallies turned deadly in September when demonstrators clashed with police in the centre of Islamabad near government buildings. Three people were killed.
Qureshi also heaped scorn at the Sindh government for denying permission to his party for holding its upcoming rally in Larkana and asked workers halt their arrangements.
“We are coming to Sindh irrespective of barriers,” Qureshi said in a forceful tone, adding that denying permission to hold a rally in Larkana was not worthy of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) -- a staunch advocate of democracy.
In a bid to allay government’s fears, the PTI leader said that his party does not want violence and its November 30 rally in Islamabad would be peaceful.
Warning the government ahead of the planned rally in the capital, he said blocking roads or creating hurdles would not serve any purpose.
According to party insiders, Imran has directed PTI’s provincial leadership to ensure the presence of maximum number of participants for the November 30 rally from their respective constituencies.
They revealed that party leaders also deliberated on the arrest warrants issued by the anti-terrorism court against Imran and members of his immediate entourage.
During the meeting, the party also debated details related to the upcoming rally in Larkana.
The PTI chief is expected to highlight both the famine in Thar and the outbreak of diseases in the province.
Earlier in the day, in response to the information minister’s accusations, PTI information secretary Dr Shireen Mazari alleged that Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) had links with militant organisations.
“I will present videos showing PML-N’s links with former al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden,” Mazari said.
Rejecting information minister’s claims, who said that PTI was recruiting militants for its upcoming rally in Islamabad, she said that Imran Khan supported operation Zarb-e-Azb and the assertions made by Pervez Rashid were wrong.
Later in the evening, Imran Khan lashed out at former president Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, criticising them for their alliance.
Addressing his supporters at the D-Chowk, Imran said that the PPP was creating hurdles for his party’s rally in Larkana while PML-N opened fire on peaceful protesters in Jhelum.
He said that peaceful PTI workers in Jhelum were sprayed with bullets by a former MPA and TMO for raising the “go,Nawaz go” slogan.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 18th, 2014.