ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Tuesday linked the possibility of talks with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on the subject of launching an anti-government movement to the resignation of its legislators from the assemblies.
The PTI leaderís precondition came on the heels of a hint by PML-N chief Mian Nawaz Sharif earlier on Monday that his party would consider enlisting Imran Khanís assistance in an anti-government drive against the government if Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani did not bow out in accordance with the sentence handed down to him by the Supreme Court in the prime minister contempt case.Imran Khan was speaking to media persons after a meeting with his partyís political committee which met to review the situation in the wake of the conviction of Prime Minister Gilani.
Flanked by PTI office-bearers, including Javed Hashmi, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Hamid Khan, Shafqat Mehmood and Zahid Hussain Kazmi, Imran Khan said his party intended to stage a march in Islamabad on May 6 to show solidarity with the judiciary, alleging that the government was hell-bent on destroying this vital institution to hide its own corruption. He also added that Prime Minister Gilani was no longer the countryís chief executive, and ought to step down immediately.
Imran Khan also announced his intention of holding a ìtsunami marchî in Liaquat Bagh on May 27, and challenged the PML-N to do the same, claiming that the PTI could easily form a rally double in size to that of its rival.
The PTI chairman fiercely maintained that the PML-N had lost all credibility after it had cheated the nation on multiple occasions and during crucial crunch times. He further recalled that on at least three different occasions, Nawaz Sharif and other PML-N leaders had held out a categorical assurance to the All Parties Democratic Movement (APDM) that they would not take part in the 2008 general elections, only to pull the wool over their eyes by unilaterally announcing the ending of their long march in Gujranwala after striking a sundry deal with the Pakistan Peopleís Party (PPP).
Imran Khan added that the PML-N had lost several opportunities of mid-term elections by not joining his party, which took the lead in demanding an electoral exercise after the NRO was thrown away by the Supreme Court.
ìNawaz Sharif is pursuing an agenda of personal vendetta with the PPP, whereas the PTI is playing its cards tactfully, as it has nothing personal against the rulers but simply wants the supremacy of law and due respect for the judiciary," said a senior PTI leader while speaking to The News.
In response to a question, Imran Khan said that his party would await the detailed apex court judgment in the contempt case prior to chalking out its future course of action, in sharp contrast to the position adopted by Nawaz Sharif who has announced his decision to launch a long march if Gilani does not go home.
Imran Khan claimed that the Pakistan Peopleís Party had not violated the Constitution so far, and therefore the PTI would not go for any movement at this particular juncture. However, he did reiterate his partyís stance that following the conviction, Gilani was no longer the prime minister.
He also held that the PML-N would not go for a decisive movement against the PPP government, as both sides were in agreement on not dislodging each other's governments ñ in other words the PML-N would not create problems for the PPP government in the centre while the PPP in return would not impede the PML-N government in the Punjab, he noted.
The PTI leader claimed that the PML-N leadership had promised the APDM components on multiple occasions that they would stay away from the general election, but ultimately they had ditched their pledge and had taken part in the electoral process.
It was on this that PTI President Javed Hashmi came forward and confirmed that his former party had indeed committed not to participate in elections and that Leader of the Opposition Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had been the first to assure that he would quit if the PML-N took part in the election and this was followed by similar pledges by Raja Zafar-ul Haq and Iqbal Zafar Jhagra.
Imran Khan said that had the PML-N not broken its promise, the nationalists who had taken a hard position would have been a part of the mainstream politics with their representation in the Balochistan Assembly.
The PTI chairman further alleged that during the last four years, Rs8,500 billion had been looted from the country. He advised Minister for Interior Rehman Malik to take whatever proofs he had against the Sharif family to the Supreme Court. He also urged the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to focus on fighting corruption instead of resorting to blackmailing tactics.
Imran Khan concluded by alleging that both the PPP and PML-N were engaged in match-fixing and riding on a ìSamjotha Express,î and that they were not at all serious about taking each other to the courts on the issue of corruption.