ISLAMABAD - Apparently, isolating Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), both the government and the opposition in the National Assembly joined hands against Imran Khan’s call for civil disobedience in the larger interest of the country.
With complete absence of PTI lawmakers, the house, suspending all other agenda items, focused on both the marches. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, in his unusual presence in the NA, left the house after listening to half of speakers at Maghrib prayers.
The government benches also hailed the opposition parties for joining hands with them in their effort to strengthen the Parliament and announced a five-member committee to coordinate with the opposition in its efforts. The lawmakers from both the sides of the aisle criticised the PTI chief’s decision to stage a sit-in and demand resignation of Prime Minister Sharif.
Taking the floor, Defence Minister Khwaja Asif appealed to PTI lawmakers to review the decision of resignations and call off civil disobedience movement in the national interest of the country. He pointed out that the five-member committee, comprising Khawaja Saad Rafiq, Ahsan Iqbal, Abdul Qadir Baloch, Akram Khan Durrani and Special Assistant to Prime Minister Irfan Siddiqui, will cooperate with the opposition parties in their efforts to diffuse the tension.
“We respect the offer of the opposition parties for their efforts to strengthen democracy and Parliament in the country,” he said, adding the announcement of civil disobedience movement would ultimately damage the state. “Our government would extend all-out support to the opposition parties for political reconciliation with the protesting parties,” he added.
Earlier, Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah, in clear words, announced to support democracy and asked Imran Khan to come to dialogue to end the deadlock.
“We are with democracy and do not want derailment of the system. Dialogue is the beauty of democracy,” said Shah, adding PPP was ready to hold talks with Imran Khan and Dr Tahirul Qadri. “If you give us the mandate, we would make efforts for reconciliation,” he added.
He criticised the government for its delay in taking decision on this important matter. Addressing PM Sharif, Shah said, “Your party members are afraid of your anger. Dispel this fear so that they can give you any proposal easily. We even disturbed Gilani and Zardari at midnight to discuss social unrest.”
MQM lawmaker Rasheed Godil called the announcement of civil-disobedience movement by Imran Khan a disappointing step. He also put weight behind a committee for negotiations.
PkMAP chief Mahmood Khan Ackakzai, on his turn, said it was the prime duty of every political worker to stand for the supremacy of the Constitution. “Any unconstitutional act would occur over our dead bodies,” he said, adding supremacy of the parliament was the last solution.
Taking the floor, Jamaat-e-Islami’s Sahibzada Tariqullah advised Imran Khan not to cross the limits. He said the completion of five-year tenure was the right of the government. He also criticised the government for not releasing funds for development work in his area.
ANP MNA Ghulam Ahmed Bilour, in his speech, said those who were not accepting the parliament were like Talban. “What is the difference between PTI and the Taliban as the former is also not accepting the Parliament,” he added, opposing the tradition of sit-ins by any party for demanding resignation of the PM.
Aftab Khan Sherpao from QWP strongly criticised Imran for calling the parliament fake and termed it insult of the people who elected the parliament. “We are elected members and this attitude of PTI is wrong,” he added. JUI-F’s Akram Khan Durrani strongly criticised PTI Chairman Imran Khan and his decision of the long march. “It is very strange that people were dying in KP due to rains and their CM was dancing on music tunes,” he said, adding that this tradition should be avoided as it might lead to mutiny.