The olive branch offered by finance minister Ishaq Dar 24-hour ahead of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) call for a lockdown in Karachi, brought back a smile on gloomy face of Imran Khan who reciprocated the government gesture Wednesday with a demand that a judicial commission must be announced before the expiry of deadline.
Addressing his anti-government sit-in at D-Chowk, shortly after Ishaq Dar expressed willingness to resume the stalled dialogue process, Imran stated: “The PTI will cancel its lockdown call in major cities but will not abandon sit-in venue. The government should announce the names [of judicial commission] within 24 hours if it is sincere in breaking the deadlock”.
Imran, who is all set to lockdown the port city on December 12, insisted the government had decided to come back to dialogue table after PTI mounted pressure. The PTI chairman while addressing a press conference earlier in afternoon also made it clear that the dialogue will resume from where it hit the snag. “We never closed the door of dialogue on government but talk will be started from the point where it ended,” he added.
Khan said that the government had agreed on the formation of a judicial commission and a joint investigation team (JIT) under its supervision to investigate vote rigging allegation in last year’s general elections. According to Imran, the talks faced a deadlock over terms of reference (ToRs) for a judicial commission. “We will withdraw our protest calls (under Plan C) if the government agrees on ToRs of the commission but our sit-ins will continue in Islamabad till investigation is done,” he said.
“How government treated us during our protests; in principle, we should not enter into talk with the government,” he said, adding, it had already agreed that the decision of JC would be biding for all stakeholders. Khan said that JC would have to carry out a thorough investigation to ascertain the rigging allegation. “How Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) printed additional ballot papers up to 125,000 for NA-122 and only 170 for its adjacent NA constituency,” he questioned.
PTI chairman held government responsible for Faisalabad violence on December 8, saying it was preplanned by PML-N to sabotage his party’s call to shut down the city. “PTI workers of Faisalabad informed me before this press conference that the person that was shown by TV cameras firing at Haq Nawaz Shaheed was in the custody of police and I fear that the killer would be killed in a fake police encounter,” Khan recorded his apprehensions before the media. He lashed out at some journalists and columnists for accusing him of doing politics on dead bodies.
“In any democracy of the world, everyone has the right to protest unless law is not taken into hands,” he said. He alleged that PML-N had planned to create violence in Faisalabad and when PTI workers retaliated, bullets were fired on them. He said former ANP informer minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mian Iftikhar Hussain has stated that ANP accepted mandate of PTI though the elections were rigged. “Why ANP is ready to accept the rigged mandate; they should demand probe,” he said, adding PTI was ready to open any constituency in KP to investigate vote rigging on ANP’s demand.
He alleged that former chairman Ehtesab Bureau Saifur Rehman was the front man of the Sharif family, asking how he had signed the Karachi Motorway project. Responding to a question, he said he would accept the decision of the election tribunal in connection with NA-122.
PTI vice-chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that PTI wants unconditional talks. He said that in his meeting with Chief Election Commissioner, he questioned why there was a variation in figures of printing of additional ballot papers. The commissioner had no answer to his question, according to him. Earlier, Rai Aslam Kharal, former MNA and PML-Q president Okara and two former tehsil nazims of district Okara of Punjab announced that they have joined PTI. The wife of the late Rao Sikandar Iqbal, (former defence minister and PPP Punjab president), his sons, PTI MNA Rai Hasan Nawaz also joined the Imran-led party.
SOURCE: RECORDER REPORT