For a national cause: PTI calls off dharna after 126 days

Published: December 18, 2014
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PTI chief Imran Khan addressing the sit-in at D-chowk on December 17, 2014. PHOTO: WASEEM NAZIR/EXPRESS

PTI chief Imran Khan addressing the sit-in at D-chowk on December 17, 2014. PHOTO: WASEEM NAZIR/EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD: 

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) ended its marathon sit-in in Islamabad on Wednesday with the party chairman, Imran Khan, stressing the need for unity in the wake of the Peshawar school massacre and urging the government to ‘reciprocate’.

“Pakistan cannot afford [our] opposition in these testing times… we have to end our sit-in,” Imran said in his last address after offering funeral prayers in absentia for the victims of the dastardly terrorist attack at the Army Public School and College.

“We have taken this decision for the sake of our country and want to see you [Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif] take the next step for the sake of democracy,” the PTI chief said. “We expect you will set up a judicial commission,” he added in a comment directed towards the prime minister. “I ask you [Nawaz Sharif], will you do what the nation wants [probe rigging allegations]?”

Addressing his supporters, Imran said the ongoing political crisis in the country would end if the prime minister announced a judicial commission to probe the alleged rigging in last year’s general elections and punish those found guilty.

He said his party would accept Nawaz as prime minister if he was cleared of any wrongdoing in the 2013 polls. But if the premier is found guilty of rigging, there would be no agreeable option other than re-election, the PTI chief added.

Citing the factors that led to his decision to call off the Islamabad sit-in, Imran said, “The briefing by the Peshawar corps commander revealed that external forces were behind this attack and that there were future threats too.

“This led us to reconsider whether we should continue our protests under the given circumstances.”

This, however, doesn’t mean the PTI has given up its demands, Imran said. “It is my request that a judicial commission be set up as early as possible… We will come out on the streets again if justice is not served,” he added.

Regarding his decision to attend the meeting of the parliamentary leaders convened by the prime minister in the wake of the Peshawar tragedy held earlier in the day, Imran said he almost chose not to take part in it.

“I was really angry about what the government did to us over the last four months… they used excessive force against us in Jhelum, Gujranwala and Islamabad… they teargased us even though peaceful protest is our right,” he said. “I decided not to participate, keeping in view all of this.”

“But then I asked myself ‘What is better for the country? What is need of the hour?’… The country should be united and the entire nation should be on the same page to fight terrorism,” the PTI chairman added.

He said the PTI not only participated in the meeting but fully backed Nawaz Sharif’s government in the fight against terrorism. The PTI would also play its role in the committee announced by the premier to formulate a strategy in this regard, he added.

Recounting the scenes he witnessed in Peshawar, Imran said he had never before seen an atrocity which involved the planned murder of children. “How can one kill children? The human mind simply cannot understand this.”

Before calling off the sit-in, the PTI chief put the party’s movement in perspective for its supporters. “We woke up the nation over the last four months. Our movement has been spreading and we held the biggest rallies in the country’s history, simply because the nation realises the elections were rigged,” he said.

Bidding farewell to the participants of the sit-in, Imran said “I congratulate all my fellow protesters, particularly women and the youth.”

Imran’s move welcomed

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif welcomed the PTI chief’s decision to call off the Islamabad sit-in, saying, “This step of Imran Khan will strengthen the war against terrorism.” He added that PTI’s reservations regarding last year’s elections would be addressed.

Former president and PPP co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari also welcomed the announcement, terming it “a step in the right direction at a time when all attention must be focused on fighting the existential threat confronting the nation.”

Published in The Express Tribune, December 18th, 2014.

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Reader Comments (50)

  • Ranjha
    Dec 18, 2014 - 3:10AM

    What an amazing man! Always does the right thing, always!

    Recommend

  • Farhan
    Dec 18, 2014 - 3:13AM

    A brave and honest man. A national hero and one to be treasured. Respect to you

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  • FN
    Dec 18, 2014 - 3:23AM

    On the tragedy:
    Lest we forget. Let us feel this pain, let it linger on, let it really sink deep right into our veins. Let us unite under this. Let this pain be our fire.

    On IK’s call:
    If this is not enough to show Imran Khan has always kept Pakistan first then I don’t know what is. What a selfless man, a true patriot. He started the dharna for a better Pakistan and has ended it for a better Pakistan. He shows his concern is this country and not any ‘chair’. He has not only showed compassion but also political maturity by throwing the onus on Nawaz Sharif / Govt to do the right thing themselves. I have always been a proud supporter and remain so, the faith and trust in Imran Khan becomes stronger than ever now. He stayed true to his word “Main aik qaum banana chahta hoon”. Now all we need is a real, deep look into what needs to be done. Country’s leadership HAS to respond, as one and fight this plague.

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  • Mudassar
    Dec 18, 2014 - 3:29AM

    A great move by the great leader for the great cause

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  • Aysha M
    Dec 18, 2014 - 4:37AM

    Yeah, right!
    Nothing but face saving

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  • bilal
    Dec 18, 2014 - 5:03AM

    Imran Khan is Pakistan Khan. You will always be my hero.

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  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Dec 18, 2014 - 5:35AM

    Thank you Imran Khan. I wish this tragedy had not happened and you still had made this decision.

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  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Dec 18, 2014 - 5:38AM

    Shame on his supporters who objected his decision and wanted him to continue his dharna. I thought Imran had spoiled these kids but now I am sure these kids had spoiled him.

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  • Asif
    Dec 18, 2014 - 5:55AM

    A very good decision by Imran Khan .He proved that he is a true son of the soil.

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  • Raza
    Dec 18, 2014 - 6:09AM

    There was a very poignant moment during the joint press conference today where Imran Khan took initiative about question from Saleem Saafi and gave a very confident and detailed reply, it seemed as if he was actually the prime minister, and in the moment somehow Pakistan felt better off.

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  • Ashraf
    Dec 18, 2014 - 6:18AM

    Apart from spreading hatred and chaos, PTI failed on each and every front. KP suffered because it voted for PTI.

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  • K B Kale
    Dec 18, 2014 - 6:39AM

    Finally the chief anarchist got an excuse to call off his nonsensical dharana which was anyway a big failure!

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  • wb
    Dec 18, 2014 - 6:41AM

    Self Goal. Hit wicket. All in one.Recommend

  • Rashid Asghar
    Dec 18, 2014 - 7:17AM

    A very wise and patriotic decision by Khan. Today Pakistan has only one leader and that is Imran Khan.
    We love you and will always respect and support you.

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  • zafar iqbal ranjha
    Dec 18, 2014 - 7:41AM

    Imran Khan has shown his patriotism by calling of his protest against election rigging. He has suspended his right cause for a much nobler goal which is to save the country from the menace of terrorism which is mainly due to sectarianism which was promoted by Zia ul Haq and his successors. Khan Sahib has proved that he is not stubborn and was not protesting to become a Prime Minister and he was not acting on the behest of military establishment.No one can claim respect and popularity like him at least in Pakistan.We salute him for his struggle for rule of law which can ensured only by the government which comes through fair and free election conducted by an impartial election commission.The nation rightly expects from Mr, Nawaz Sharif to constitute a judicial election without any further delay so that mystery shrouded around last general election is completely removed.

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  • Alter Ego
    Dec 18, 2014 - 7:47AM

    IK finally going to the province that voted for him.

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  • Mansoor
    Dec 18, 2014 - 8:18AM

    good work….leading from the front!!

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  • Salim Jan
    Dec 18, 2014 - 8:26AM

    A tremendous and memorable decision made by Imran Khan in this critical time which calls for national unity and harmony.He would also do well to return to the parliament and raise a forceful voice for introducing drastic changes in the system.Imran led an epoch-making movement in the history of Pakistan and succeeded in creating a general awareness among the people of Pakistan besides shaking the government from its royal slumber and lethargy.May Allahb bless him with a landslide victory in the coming election in lieu of his this momentous decision for the sake of Pakistan!Recommend

  • Shafaq
    Dec 18, 2014 - 8:51AM

    Good decision IK.

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  • Asad
    Dec 18, 2014 - 9:09AM

    Respect for Mr. Imran Khan !

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  • sabi
    Dec 18, 2014 - 9:16AM

    @bilal:
    Don’t ask us why he called off dharnas’-Enough is enough’ was the message to IK from top brass.They want to cash the victory they resisted tooth and nail.They have lost the game.peace.

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  • raider
    Dec 18, 2014 - 9:26AM

    mature decision, he proved himself true patriot as usual

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  • Dec 18, 2014 - 9:27AM

    A true role model!

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  • Ashraf
    Dec 18, 2014 - 9:28AM

    Try to say anything remotely critical of Imran Khan and chances are that your comment won’t see the light of day. Imran Khan Zindabad !!

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  • Iram
    Dec 18, 2014 - 9:45AM

    @Ashraf: This was a terrorist attack but children died in Punjab due to non availability of Oxygen, men and women killed in Model Town to settle score with Qadri, what a good governance.

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  • Hyder
    Dec 18, 2014 - 9:50AM

    Right move at the right time.

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  • Bewildered
    Dec 18, 2014 - 9:53AM

    Wise decision. Now the onus is on Nawaz Sharif to show the reciprocity and set up a judicial commission for investigating election rigging/irregularities, else he would lose any moral authority to remain prime minister.

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  • Anon
    Dec 18, 2014 - 10:12AM

    Hahaha what a lovely excuse. Why did he not go to Peshawar the very day it happened and stand outside the Army School? Perfect excuse to save face and call off the Dharna. Shame on you IK.

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  • ASI
    Dec 18, 2014 - 10:30AM

    To the people who call him this was only for ‘face-saving’;

    Shame on you all. If he had not ended the Dharna yesterday, you guys would be saying: ‘IK should have ended his Dharna to show solidarity and unity in the wake of Peshawar Incident’

    Us, Pakistani’s, have consisently proven that we have a goldfish memory lasting for few days only.

    Just recall when TUQ said to protestors, we will not leave even if we have to die and suddenly he disappeared. Where were all the promises? Did you guys say anything in protest? Shame!

    At least Imran Khan proved that he is man of his words and principals!!

    Salute to Sir Imran Khan

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  • MS
    Dec 18, 2014 - 10:47AM

    Atlast a good decision. should be appreciated. But I wonder how commission will declare the election rigged. it is not possible. definitely every constituency may have bogus votes, but still majority will remain with PML-N.

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  • Aysha M
    Dec 18, 2014 - 10:54AM

    Jail breaks in KPK, church attack in KPK, school children carnage in KPK, Why doesnt PTI government resign? They need couple of more decades to learn the ropes of governance. Imran Khan has done no more than making negative contribution to an already sick & disgusting politics of Pakistan & the Punjab. Imran Khan strengthened and allowed the madness and barbarism of Taliban to continue and the nation had to pay the price of his petulence and arrogance. Dharanas was a zero sum game and ended as such. and Pakistanis dwarfed and used as puppets by their political party & leader, yet one more time.Recommend

  • Mamu
    Dec 18, 2014 - 11:02AM

    @Ch. Allah Daad:
    Thank you for your positive response. IK might have lost the battle, but he has won many hearts.

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  • JZ
    Dec 18, 2014 - 11:07AM

    A True Leader.

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  • raider
    Dec 18, 2014 - 11:20AM

    @K B Kale:
    it proves that peoples like u dear not against darhna but afraid of imran khan,not letting him to any space in either side,he is honest, hard worker and visionary which could not be accommodated in vested interests of beneficiaries of this system

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  • raider
    Dec 18, 2014 - 11:25AM

    @Aysha M:
    in what condition and what time he would have called off , your comments would be same as today

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  • anon
    Dec 18, 2014 - 11:37AM

    @ASI: All I can say is how much of what you actually said here do you really believe with your heart?

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  • SmartMove
    Dec 18, 2014 - 11:44AM

    In this situation any political party would have done the same thing or their politics finishes. Will people still sitting in dharnas and locking down cities? I think in the given circumstances continuing dharnas would be nothing but self destruction.

    Alas! We had to sacrifice so many innocent lives to reach this wise thinking of being united.

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  • Ali
    Dec 18, 2014 - 12:51PM

    @K B Kale:
    I think there is something wrong with you,this dharna was successful and it put pressure on the govt and forced them to take steps like reducing the prices of petrol which were already reduced in the International Market but the govt did not budge from its decision to reduce it because it just wanted to make money and make the public’s life miserable but it was the dharna that forced them to reduce the prices,and it was the dharna which created awareness amongst the public about our politicians,so get ur facts straight and think maturely.

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  • Fawad Gilani
    Dec 18, 2014 - 2:14PM

    @FN:
    Maybe he will spend more time in Peshawar now to help KPK recover rather than in London hatching conspiracies there. Maybe his children should attend school in Peshawar. That will make a difference.

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  • Amjad
    Dec 18, 2014 - 2:19PM

    The “umpire” raised his finger to imran. OUT!!!
    Plan A to D failed! Umpire had no choice but to raise finger..

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  • Javed
    Dec 18, 2014 - 2:41PM

    After getting through from negative comments by PMLN Supporters that they are even worse than Sharifs. IK let from front yesterday while NS did same as per his habits and did do any thing.

    How can expect Positive feedback and comments from PMLN supporter? They are follower of mindless person, Its Toheen of word leader, He is pretty……. cant say

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  • Raheel
    Dec 18, 2014 - 3:04PM

    IK availing chance for Escape to UK or USA

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  • Usman
    Dec 18, 2014 - 4:17PM

    Salute to Imran,He showed he is not only the leader of a political party,also leader of the nation.

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  • raider
    Dec 18, 2014 - 4:21PM

    @Raheel:
    what a counter intuitive and sub-conscience

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  • raider
    Dec 18, 2014 - 4:24PM

    @Amjad:
    have u courage to name the umpire or should it called analogy to grapes are sour

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  • Shani
    Dec 18, 2014 - 4:24PM

    Only Great Leader take such decision

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  • raider
    Dec 18, 2014 - 4:29PM

    @Fawad Gilani:
    imran is not provincial leader so his role should not be confined at provincial level rather man is national lead and has no match

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  • madeeha khan
    Dec 19, 2014 - 6:00PM

    Great Decision at a critical time.

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  • Raghu
    Dec 19, 2014 - 7:02PM

    @Amjad:
    The match was going very well in Imran’s favor. Imran was hitting boundaries and the runs were coming. The Government team was having a hard time at the field. They had tried everything from purchasing the umpire to altering the pitch. But no solution was working. Alas, an announcement was made on the field that a horrific tragedy had taken place in Peshawar, Imran Khan then immediately decided to abandon the game and go to Peshawar. That is what actually happened.

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  • bilal
    Dec 19, 2014 - 9:37PM

    Imran Kahn remains the only rtue leader of Pakistan

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