ISLAMABAD - Staying out of the Parliament for well over seven months, staging sit-in for 120 days and holding countrywide protests, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf finally decided to return to the assemblies by stepping in the joint sitting of the Parliament today.

The decision follows an agreement between the government and the PTI on formation of a judicial commission for probing into allegations of rigging in the last general elections, the key demand of the opposition party.

It came after threadbare deliberation on the issue in the core committee (Central Executive Committee) of the party which met under the chair of Imran Khan at Banni Gala. With little divergence of opinion, the core committee members finally landed on the same page and approved ending the boycott of the National Assembly and provincial assemblies of Sindh and Punjab. The party is already running provincial government in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and also joined the Upper House of the Parliament recently.

“We have decided that we will go to assemblies from tomorrow onwards,” Imran Khan said while addressing the media after the core committee meeting. “We will join the assemblies and play the role of a true and formidable opposition,” he said.

The PTI chief said that the joint session on Yemen, which the prime minister has summoned to discuss Pakistan’s role in the Middle East situation, was a major factor behind the decision to re-join Parliament. “We had previously decided that as long as the judicial commission is not formed we will not return to parliament. But then we were told that a joint session has been called (on Yemen)… The Yemen issue is very important... I will lead the party MPs and present my party’s point of view,” he said.

Imran Khan harked back to the reasons behind his call for PTI MNA’s resignations. “Why did we march from Lahore on August 14?” he asked, referring to his protracted anti-government campaign launched last year in August to demand an investigation into alleged election fraud. “Now the decision for the formation of the judicial commission has come,” he said.

He also explained that the CEC members debated whether the party should wait to join the assemblies until the commission was actually formed, as opposed to the current status of the promulgation of the ordinance. Once again terming 2015 election year, Imran Khan made it loud and clear that now they would raise their voice against polls rigging before the judicial commission, in the parliament and on the streets.

Responding to a question about NA 246 by-polls, he said that actually it was not a clash between PTI and MQM workers rather the latter had attacked their activists. The MQM has made most parts of Karachi no-go areas, he said and made it loud and clear that he would not only go there to boost the morale of party candidate Imran Ismail but would also hold a public rally.

About Yemen, Imran Khan said that the premier assured that all decisions pertaining to the conflict would be taken in accordance to the wishes of the people of Pakistan. He urged the government to act as a peace-broker in the Saudi-led military campaign against Houthi rebels in Yemen. “Pakistan should act as a peacemaker instead of becoming a party in a crisis between two Muslim states,” he said.

Pakistan is already paying the price for being involved in someone else’s war,” he said, reiterating his earlier stance that Pakistan should not involve itself in the Yemen conflict despite Saudi Arabia’s pressure to do so.

The PTI announced on August 18 last year that it would boycott the national and provincial assembles as all other options of relief against alleged election rigging were exhausted. With the PTI out of the assembly, NA Speaker Ayaz Sadiq, the same successful candidate whose constituency Khan alleges was rigged in the election, was under pressure to end the impasse swiftly and amicably.

Sadiq was caught between making a decision on the already-submitted PTI resignations and acceding to requests to delay their acceptance, so that a political solution could be negotiated. Ultimately, the speaker maintained that unless he could personally verify each member’s intent to resign, as stipulated in Rule 43(2) B of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of the National Assembly, 2007, he would not proceed.