PTI mulls long march over Fata-KP merger delay

ISLAMABAD –  Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) at a huddle on Saturday decided to start a protest movement against, what it said, the ‘delaying tactics’ of the government to merge Federally-Administered Tribal Areas into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and it is most likely that the protest movement would start with a ‘long march’.

The core committee of the party that held under the chair of Imran Khan and having presence of former PTI secretary general Jahangir Khan Tareen, criticised the “U-turn  of the government over Fata reforms” and decided to launch a protest over the matter, said a statement issued by the PTI’s central media department after the meeting. The statement said that the party would announce the date to start the protest movement in next few days.

Iftikhar Durrani, the head of the central media department, said that PTI was mulling to hold a ‘long march’ from Fata to Islamabad to register its protest against the delay in merger of Fata with KP and to bring reforms in the tribal regions of the country.

He said the government was held hostage by a single person — Maulana Fazlur Rehman of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) and this was the reason that it had taken a ‘U-turn’ over a cabinet decision to get Fata reforms bill passed from the parliament. He said the date of long march led by Chairman Imran Khan would be announced shortly and most likely it would be held in January.

The PTI statement also hinting towards Maulana Fazlur Rehman, said, “The government could not be allowed to play with the future of Fata people and safety of the country only to woo one person.”

The PTI core committee also decided to participate in the multi-party conference (MPC) called by the Pakistan Awami Tehreek chief Dr Tahirul Qadri to raise his party’s voice for bringing to book the culprits behind the Model Town tragedy.

A source within the PTI said that the meeting also reiterated it earlier stance that the coveted slot of party’s secretary general that has fallen vacant after the disqualification of Jahangir Tareen through a Supreme Court verdict will not be filled unless the decision of a review petition that will shortly be filed before the apex court. He added that the party chief had given a clear message to those lobbying for the slot that all legal options would be exhausted to save Tareen from stigma of life-time disqualification.

Durrani said that Tareen in the meeting showed his commitment with the party saying that he was always available for the party as a worker. PTI chairman in turn also acknowledged the services of Tareen and assured him that he would always stand by him.

The meeting also decided to pursue the Hadaibiya Paper Mills case following a three-member bench of the Supreme Court has recently rejected the NAB appeal to re-open the case.

The meeting also condemned US Vice President Mike Pence’s remarks against Pakistan, saying the US should acknowledge the sacrifices rendered by Pakistan in the war against terrorism.

The meeting also analysed the membership drive of the party and it was decided that the drive would be taken ahead effectively.

PTI MNA Asad Umar told The Nation that the core committee had decided to mobilise the masses over delay in Fata reforms and would start a protest movement soon.

Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Pervez Khattak also participated in the meeting, besides other senior leadership of the party.


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