KARACHI - PTI chairman Imran Khan has demanded Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to immediately resume talks between the government and protesting PIA workers after abolition of the Essential Services Act (ESA). Addressing the PIA employees, he also demanded forming a judicial commission to probe the killing of PIA employees during the protest against the government’s planned privatisation of national flag carrier.

Lashing out at the government, he said it was shameful and condemnable that government has planned to privatise and put on sale the PIA assets on cheap rates. The rulers are once again bulldozing the gesture of people by dealing it with guns and bullets as it did in Model Town, Lahore. This episode has recalled the era of dictatorship, he added. PTI chairman said the democracies do not work with stick and guns and the government should address the concerns of PIA employees.

If PIA workers’ allies are ready to hold dialogues then why the government is running from talks, said Imran. He asked the government to take the opposition parties on board to discuss the PIA privatisation matter. He further demanded PM Nawaz to withdraw the Essential Service Act as soon as possible. He said if the workers were fired upon during the peaceful demonstration then whole nation should stand up for them. “Sharif Brothers’ steel mill in Jeddah is making progress while Pakistan Steel Mills has reached to destruction and since five months, the workers are not even paid their salaries. PTI stands with the labour and will raise their voice at every forum,” he vowed.

Imran said all the institutions of country were being ruined during the rule of the PML-N government, only from FBR there is a theft of seven billion rupees being made yearly. Pointing towards the miseries of common man, he demanded the government to decrease the rates of POL products, electricity, and gas and provide relief to the masses. He also visited the residents of deceased PIA workers and condoled with the family over their loss.

Earlier, PTI workers, at the camp set to welcome party chairman at Star Gate, manhandled the media men in presence of the law enforcement agencies. After the incident, media men staged protest and announced boycotting the coverage of the Khan’s visit. Later, after apologies from the PTI leadership, media persons withdrew their protest. Talking to media men in evening at a local coffee house, he said immediate and complete implementation on the National Action Plan (NAP) along with strict action against the banned outfits and militant wings in the political parties was required to eliminate terrorism from the country. Acting on the NAP is the only way to get the country out of hot waters and bring everlasting peace.

Talking about the law and order situation in KP, he said the provincial government had accomplished its plan to depoliticise the police which maintained the law and order of KP. Similarly, other provinces should also focus on depoliticising the police and make reforms in the police department, he suggested.

It is pertinent to mention here that PTI central leader Asad Umar, earlier in a press conference, had announced to kick off a series of protests across the country from February 6, to raise the party’s voice for the rights of common man who is being crushed by the government’s taxes and anti-people policies. Earlier, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Karachi chapter on Saturday failed to gather a large crowd on the arrival of its chairman Imran Khan in Karachi in order to kick off a countrywide protest against the anti-government policies including reduction in fuel prices and increase in taxes. Imran who arrived here and was scheduled to address the party workers at Star Gate was disappointed to see a small crowd in the protest. Later, on the suggestion of party leaders, he addressed the rally at PIA headquarters where the PIA employees were already present in large numbers to protest against the privatisation of the national flag carrier.