ISLAMABAD: Minutes before PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s announcement to move the sit-in from D-Chowk to the Prime Minister’s House, an unhappy Javed Hashmi left the venue as a mark of protest over the party’s decision to join forces with Dr Tahirul Qadri’s Pakistan Awami Tehreek.
When contacted soon after the supporters of PTI and PAT started moving towards the PM House, Mr Hashmi said: “Right now, I am at my residence at Parliament Lodges.”
When asked why he had left his colleagues at a crucial time, the PTI president said he would speak on this matter later.
Sources close to Mr Hashmi told Dawn that the veteran leader was unhappy over his party’s decision to join hands with the PAT because he feared it could lead to a violent situation.
During a meeting of the PTI’s core committee held in Imran Khan’s container after the talks with the government representatives on Saturday, Mr Hashmi registered his protest over the party chief’s rushing to the Army House after receiving a call from Chief of Army Staff Gen Raheel Sharif on Thursday.
Mr Hashmi was of the view that the army should not be dragged in politics no matter who had asked it to become a facilitator.
Mr Khan’s speech earlier in the day confirmed that there were differences between him and Mr Hashmi, when he said: “Hashmi Sahib, I am sorry. But I assure you that Imran Khan will not let democracy down.”
Mr Hashmi, who is known as an “angry man” in the party, had left Lahore for his hometown Multan a day before the start of the party’s long march on Aug 13 to protest against Mr Khan’s statement in which he had demanded installation of a government of technocrats. He was brought back by senior PTI leaders who assured him that it was just a personal view of Mr Khan and that the party would not include this in its charter of demands.
Mr Hashmi, who joined the PTI about six months before the 2013 general elections, was the acting president of the PML-N when Nawaz Sharif was living in exile during the Musharraf regime. He had left the PML-N due to some differences within the party.
Published in Dawn, August 31, 2014