ISLAMABAD - PTI chief Imran Khan believes that he has made ultimate compromise on his earlier demand of the PM resignation and re-elections by saying that Nawaz Sharif should step down for 30 days, and now the ball is in the government’s court.
During an interaction with a select group of journalists inside his container parked at the D-Chowk, Imran Khan said, "It is ultimate compromise on my earlier demand, nobody should expect more than this and now the turn is of the government as he would not show more flexibility."
"We have given them a way out yesterday as we want middle ground," Khan said.
PTI vice-chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that during the Musharraf regime, Ch Shujaat Hussain was made PM for some time after the resignation of Mir Zafarullah Jamali on the same pattern.
Similarly, the PPP elected new PM after Yousuf Raza Gilani had been convicted by the Supreme Court. This is the same formula, he said.
The PTI chairman said that he was not ready to withdraw from his demand of the PM resignation and re-elections, but Qureshi came with a formula to which he agreed. He said that the PTI had witnesses of election rigging and they did not want to speak out, as they would talk after the PM resignation. He said that his movement was even bigger than Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto of the PPP as at that time only middle class was with him (Bhutto) and now all classes of society stood by him (Khan).
Responding about a possible reconciliation formula from PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, Khan said that he would ask Zardari to help him get resignation from the PM if the ex-president came to meet him at his container. "PPP’s own MNAs have been continuously asking us that the elections were rigged, so I have conveyed to Mr Asif Zardari that why he did not stand with his position," he added.
Khan also believes that they mistakenly had a confidence in former chief justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry that he would conduct transparent election but this was the reason of their defeat in election. "Later Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Chaudhry Pervez Elahi told us that the former CJ was involved in rigging," he said and mentioned an affidavit of General Nadeem in this connection. He said that the government was promoting violence by arranging pro-government counter-rallies.
PTI MNA and core committee member Asad Umar ruled out possibility of a forward bloc of PTI MNAs from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that the government side during the talks had pointed out that there was danger of army intervention in the present political turmoil. "We said that we not only oppose army intervention but resist any such move," he told journalists.
On Sunday, PTI chief Imran Khan was walking from one corner to another, on the roof of the container. His black eyeglasses were unable to hide his swelled face due to lack of sleep. From time to time, Khan managed to bring a forced smile on his face and waved and cheered to the supporters gathered on the PTI enclave at the Constitution Avenue.
PTI leader Naeemul Haq and Sheikh Rashid were also present on the roof but seemed detached. Then, Shah Farman, a PTI lawmaker, appeared on the scene and said something in Khan's ear, and then it was all spontaneous, Khan grabbed the mike and Haq, Rashid and Farman assembled themselves on right and left of Khan quickly.
"They have closed the entrance (to Parade ground on Constitution Avenue, venue for PTI sit-in), they (government) are using cheap tactics, but you would have to go Nawaz, no matter whatever you do," Khan uttered out of anger and frustration.
"Zardari, when I was in hospital, you called me and said that returning officers had rigged the elections and now when I said the elections are rigged, you allied with Sharifs against me. All the corrupt have gathered to continue looting the national kitty," Khan continued aggressively.
"We would not allow Sharifs to rule. I’ll call for a wheel-jam strike across the country and would give a call to withdraw money from the national banks," Khan said in a growling tone.
During his daily evening speech, the PTI chief was firm in his demand of Nawaz's resignation but avoided any call for the strike. "Don't make police and my youngsters fight; otherwise, we may go further and could call for a countrywide strike," Khan said while addressing his overwhelmed workers in his 8pm speech. The cricketer-turned-politician, overly fond of using cricketing metaphors, used his peppered corny images again. "Are you with me today, tomorrow and day after tomorrow, match could be finished by day after tomorrow," he asked the chanting crowd.