ISLAMABAD - It seems that Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan considers withdrawal from the demand of resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif his political defeat, as he came up with a fresh demand on Saturday asking that the PM should resign for a month and during this period the inquiry into alleged poll rigging by a judicial commission is completed.
Only minutes after talks between the government and PTI, which faced deadlock over the issue of the PM's resignation even for a period of 30 days, Khan addressing his supporters again reiterated his resolve to continue his sit-in in front of the Parliament House till the resignation of the PM and new elections. At the same time calling the incumbent government as illegal, he softened his stance by saying that the PM should resign for at least 30 days.
Independent political observers see this move of the chairman PTI as face-saving to retreat from his demand of the resignation of PM because he has slightly stepped back from his declared and unflinching stance of the PM's resignation.
Saturday was the toughest as well as worst day for the PTI supporters and common citizens of twin cities due to unnecessary road blockades and police checking and it seemed that the government has decided to tighten noose around the both protesting parties, especially against PTI supporters who usually gather in the evening at the Parade Avenue. Unlike other days, police kept on checking vehicles entering the Red Zone and a number of vehicles were denied entry into the zone from Margalla Road. Similarly containers were again placed at the entry and exit points of twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad. Long queues of vehicles were witnessed in different parts of twin cities due to road blockades. The government also suspended the mobile phone service in the Red Zone.
"Mian sahib leave your office for one month so that an inquiry commission could decide (the issue)," Khan asked the PM and kept on stressing that his party will not let his government function till its demand is met. He said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif could return to his office after 30 days if judicial commission could not prove allegations of rigging against him. "Otherwise he should go home," Khan said and added that Mian Sahib was threatened because inquiry committee would give the results that the nation knew. "Things cannot improve unless an independent probe is conducted," he said.
Khan said that people ousted Husseni Mubarak in Tehreer Square and they would ouster Sharif in Azadi Square. Sharif family comes to power through rigging, he alleged. "This is a war of minds and your captain could sleep on the container for a year," he said. The PTI chairman also announced that PTI would start countrywide protest demonstrations from Sunday (today) in order to push the government to accept its demand. The PTI chief told the people of Karachi, Quetta and Peshawar to prepare themselves for his arrival. "I am coming to Karachi after the PM's resignation," he said, adding that he is looking forward to go to Quetta as well. Khan questioned under which law these containers have been erected to close the roads. "But the flood of people could not be stopped through these containers...I will sell out Raiwind Palace (of Sharifs) and compensate the losses of container owners," he said.
He said, "I am now used to sleep on this container as I sleep here very well." He warned the PM that he would sit here until his resignation.
Stressing that his sit-in and civil disobedience movement will continue till his demands are met, he gave a comparison of the UK' democracy with Pakistan's. He asked overseas Pakistan to send remittances through Hundi/Hawala instead of banks as part of his civil disobedience. He said in UK the poor get free education and justice. I ask farmers and all others not to pay utility bills.
Reacting on the meeting between PM Nawaz Sharif and PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari in Lahore, Khan said, "Two Ghazis of democracy had now gathered in Lahore. Now they are together as their democracy is in danger," he said and reminded that last year younger Sharif had asked that he would recover looted money from Zardari. "I have heard that 70 dishes were prepared to serve Zardari," he made a mockery of the meeting.
He said that UK could get benefit of oil as a result of Iraq war but two millions people had come on the streets against this war and he was with them "On that day I had thought that either Pakistani nation would stand against injustice and today I am happy that the nation has awakened," he said.
Some of the disgruntled workers of PPP, as they were claiming, participated in PTI' sit-in and announced to join the party, Khan told the participants. He was happy that PPP workers were now part of his rally and after Nawaz-Zardari meeting the PPP workers were joining the PTI. He said that people knew well who was with the democracy and who was minting money in the name of democracy. "Is all this being done on the dictation of army? What are they are talking about?" he questioned.
The PTI chief while addressing JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman said," Maulana sahib this is not a concert, this a revolution in Pakistan and people are celebrating independence."
He said there were transparent elections in India and Indian farmer is richer than Pakistani farmer. On Saturday afternoon, as a group of lawyers of PTI stood with the Khan at his container, the chairman PTI asked the lawyers to join them. He asked the lawyers to file petitions against the government's illegal activities including blocking of roads.
Khan once again asked supporters to arrive Islamabad on Sunday (today), saying he would again make an important speech.