ISLAMABAD - The lingering protest on Constitution Avenue took a new twist on Monday when Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) President Javed Hashmi came into open to reveal that the Azadi March led by Imran Khan and Inqilab March led by Dr Tahirul Qadri were following a script written elsewhere.

Talking to reporters, Mr Hashmi disclosed that PTI Chairman Imran Khan had told the top PTI leadership that the protest would abide by the script ending with installation of new chief justice who would be kind to the cause of protesters.

“We cannot move forward without army. They have directed us to align with Dr Tahirul Qadri,” Hashmi quoted Imran Khan as saying this while referring to the merger between protesting participants of PTI and PAT.

PTI Central Information Secretary Dr Sherin Mazari denied the allegations levelled by disgruntled Hashmi arguing that if he thought PTI was linked to the army then he should have immediately resigned.

“The fact is that neither there was any such talk in any meeting nor any covert agenda. The chairman (Imran) had said from day one that if the legal venues of redress failed to give justice to PTI’s appeals against rigging, the party would come out on the streets to protest,” Mazari said in a statement.

But Hashmi quoting Imran maintained that the plan was set under which elections would be held in September. He accused Imran Khan of making unilateral decisions. “When it favours Imran Khan, he accepts the constitution, and when it doesn’t, he abandons it,” Hashmi said.

The PTI president said the entire core committee of the party was opposed to marching forward and recalled that Sheikh Rashid and another PTI member (Saifullah Niazi) at the eleventh hour whispered into the ear of Mr Khan after which it was decided that the marchers should move forward to the PM House.

“I can sacrifice my life but will uphold the supremacy of Constitution, National Assembly and Senate. We have fought a long war for restoration of democracy,” he continued. Hashmi said he stood up against military dictator Gen Ziaul Haq, adding, “Imran Khan and I are not on the same page”. He stressed that he was still PTI president as Imran Khan alone could not expel him under the party constitution, regretting that Mr Khan had no respect for rules and constitution.

However, Dr Mazari said PTI would adopt the party’s constitutional path by issuing him a show cause notice and argued that the chairman separated ways with Hashmi after he was accused of telling lies.

Imran feels sorry for Hashmi

Imran Mukhtar adds: PTI chief Imran Khan also tried to clarify his position in a statement issued Monday night. “I neither need to nor would seek to approach military for help in political issues,” he said. Khan reminded that throughout the Azadi March he has emphasised that he would never accept any undemocratic action or intervention.

The PTI chief also stated that Hashmi’s statement about the new CJ was a figment of his imagination. He said it was unfortunate that Hashmi had chosen to try and malign him in a baseless fashion for his own questionable agenda.

He that in his 18-year struggle for justice and democracy, he had never needed any crutches to bolster him politically. He has always stood by his principles of fighting for real democracy and the rights of the ordinary people of Pakistan regardless of caste or creed.

Opp parties DECRY allegations

Nokhaiz Sahi adds: The revelations of Makhdoom Javed Hashmi regarding support of Pakistan Army to Pakistan Tehreek Insaf and Pakistan Awami Tehreek in their movement against the government have changed dynamics of Pakistani politics.

Opposition parties disagreed to Hashmi’s allegations against Pakistan Army. They said Hashmi should have raised his voice when he felt army’s backing to Imran Khan and at that time he was president and member of PTI core committee and part of all key decisions of PTI.

Talking to The Nation, Awami National Party (ANP) leader Zahid Khan said as a political worker he cannot deny Hashmi’s allegations and it is possible that a small portion of army was part of the PTI’s script. He said Imran Khan used the word “third umpire” frequently in his speeches, which gives an impression that third power was part of PTI and PAT agenda. He mentioned that Pakistan Army is a well reputed institution of Pakistan and he was sure that army as an institution could not involve itself in all those issues which Hashmi mentioned in his press talk. It would be responsibility of all political forces and politicians to secure democracy, consultation, parliament and elected PM, he added.

A senior leader of Pakistan People Party (PPP) Nadeem Afzal Chan while sharing his views criticised Hashmi’s allegations on army’s involvement in political issues and said Hashmi should come on the front when he was setting the agenda of PTI march against democracy and constitution and elected parliament. He said that Hashmi should have avoided involving armed forces in dirty game which was launched by two characters. Nadeem said that statement of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) cleared that army was not backing any political party including PTI and PAT. The PPP always raises voice for democracy and Co-Chairman PPP Asif Ali Zardari has eagle eye on current political circumstances and is playing his role actively for securing democratic system in Pakistan, he added.

While Talking to The Nation Jamaat-e-Islami senior leader Fareed Paracha endorsed Hashmi’s allegations against Imran.

 He said the ISPR has cleared army’s position after Hashmi media talk but Imran did not response to them in his speech. Paracha stated that Imran should response to Javed Hashmi’s blames. He advised Imran to revisit his demands, come back to politics and try to resolve political issues through politics.

Jan Muhammad Achakzai, spokesman of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazl), said his party believes that army is well-reputed institution and ISPR has clarified and denied army’s involvement in current political situation. Achackzai said JUI-F chief Mulana Fazlur Rehman categorically said that PTI and PAT were following a same script but no body knows the writer of script.