MULTAN - The reconciliation efforts launched by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leadership to convince the party president, Makhdoom Javed Hashmi, to join Azadi March proved fruitful on Wednesday night as he announced to come to Lahore and lead the march.

“I am quite clear now. I’ve been asked to lead the march. I am going back and will lead it,” Hashmi told journalists outside his Multan residence after holding a dialogue with a three-member delegation of PTI.

The delegation, consisting of Arif Alvi, Mahmood-ur-Rashid and Umar Dar, succeeded in clearing misconceptions and convincing Hashmi to revisit his decision. Earlier, Hashmi left Islamabad for Multan in wee hours of Wednesday at a critical time when his party was all set to kick off Azadi March, leaving the entire party leadership stunned. PTI Chairman Imran Khan said in an interview he did not know what annoyed Hashmi. Multan was abuzz with rumours that Makhdoom Javed Hashmi was going to re-join PML-N). However, the successful dialogue and consequent press talk dispelled the impression.

Addressing the news conference, Hashmi asked the government to refrain from spreading lawlessness and eliminate all obstacles, including containers, from the route of Azadi March. “I ask the government that these containers will spread destruction. The rulers should refrain from sabotaging the Independence Day,” he said.

To a query, he said he had reservations over the idea of technocrat government floated by Imran Khan. “I didn’t do anything for myself. Now Khan Sahib has cleared the issue by saying that he talked about technocrat government mistakenly. He says he’ll further explain the issue,” he added.

Hashmi said Imran had made it clear that a neutral government would hold re-election in the country. He said it was not the duty of the Supreme Court to constitute a technocrat government.

Hashmi said whenever discussions were held at the party meetings on Azadi March, he emphasised that there should not be any doubt on the supremacy of the Constitution.

Answering a question on the possibility of martial law, he said he was the biggest guarantee against martial law. “We all, including Imran Khan, Arif Alvi, Mahmood-ur-Rashid and Umar Dar, will sacrifice our lives, but won’t allow anyone to impose martial law in the country,” he declared. He added he spent his whole life on the promotion of democracy and this effort would continue in future.

To a query, he said he visited each town and city of the country to convince the people to join Azadi March and make it successful. He added that it was going to be the biggest moment of the national history.

Talking to journalists on this occasion, Arif Aliv said Imran Khan sent a three-member delegation to address the reservations of Makhdoom Javed Hashmi while the chairman himself talked to him on phone for half an hour. He said Javed Hashmi was the most senior politician who strived hard for democracy and faced jails. “Any situation that paves way for martial law in the country is disapproved by PTI, Imran Khan, Javed Hashmi and others. He is our president and he’ll lead the march,” he declared.

Earlier, Hashmi reached Multan in wee hours of Wednesday and talked to media persons. He categorically declared that he could not become part of any undemocratic process as democracy was an integral part of his faith. He added Pakistan was facing multiple problems and solution to all of them lied in democracy. He asserted that no one, including judges or generals, could be given the right to run the government. “It is my commitment that I’ll permit no adventurist to usurp the rights of 200 million Pakistanis,” he added.

Hashmi refuted media reports that he developed differences with Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi and that he was given less importance in party than that given to Qureshi. “This all is just baseless. I have cordial relations with Shah Mahmood,” he clarified.

To another query, he declared that he neither quit the party nor had he any personal grievance with anyone; rather he was still in PTI. He added that he wanted to ponder over some issues in the current situation, so he came to Multan. He said he always made important decisions after consulting the voters of his constituency. Hashmi said he and Allama Tahirul Qadri had studied together and he had good acquaintance with him.