Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) can only invite the opposition parties to participate in its Raiwind rally and it is their decision to participate in the march or not, PTI vice chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi told Business Recorder.
Qureshi said that the PTI has been contacting all opposition parties but irrespective of their decision PTI will proceed with its own plans.
He said that he has formally conveyed the party’s invitation to participate in the rally to PPP Senator Aitzaz Ahsan and would speak with the PPP again to get their final decision in this regard.
He revealed that PTI has changed the venue for the rally five kilometres away from the residence of the Sharif brothers after PML-Q President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain expressed his reservations against a rally outside anyone’s home.
“It is our democratic right to protest. The PTI workers will not forcible enter the houses of the Sharifs during the rally,” he said.
Qureshi maintained that Panama papers would be the turning point in the country’s history as for the first time there is irrefutable evidence about offshore companies and properties of the Prime Minister’s immediate family. He said that if the people of this country fail to hold the rulers accountable, then “it may be difficult for us to eradicate the menace of corruption which is eroding the very foundation of the country”.
PTI insiders said that the party is optimistic about holding a successful rally in Raiwind even if it goes it alone as it is a one day show, adding that if this could have been a sit-in, then the party may have required support from other parties.
PML-Q Senator Kamil Ali Agha told Business Recorder that his party will not support a march towards the residence of the Sharif brothers as it is against the political traditions prevalent in the country. He said that his party is ready to participate in any struggle against the ruling government, but within the ambit of the constitution and democratic norms.
Agha said that there is no second opinion about making those holding offshore companies, or involved in corruption and malpractices accountable. Senior PPP leader Naveed Chaudhry said that his party has a long history of sacrificing for democracy and the rule of law in the country and this time again the People’s Party will continue its struggle to uproot the corrupt elements.
“We do not support any move that is against democratic norms such as storming someone’s private residence which is not justified,” he said, adding that it is the democratic right of the PTI to protest against the Sharif brothers, but not in front of their homes.
He called upon the PTI leadership to take all the political parties on board before making any such attempt as together the opposition can easily force Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to accept terms of reference (ToRs) of the opposition parties.
He said that the PPP has already submitted a bill in the Senate seeking the setting up of an independent investigative body to probe the Panama Papers. MQM MNA Syed Ali Raza Abidi said that his party has been demanding accountability of all those from day one whose names have appeared in Panama Papers irrespective of their positions and titles. He said that his party would support the opposition if they agree on “accountability for all” formula.