As the political crisis prevailing in the country continues unabated, the government and opposition parties in the Assembly are making frantic efforts to negotiate with the protesting PTI and PAT.
The previous day saw the PTI lawmakers march into Parliament, with Shah Mehmood Qureshi making a feverish speech about his party's decision to march. There was, however, no finality on the acceptance of their resignations as the NA speaker maintained his wish to meet with the disgruntled lawmakers in his chambers.
The MQM, too, added to mounting pressure on the government when party chief Altaf Hussain demanded the resignations of all MQM legislators.
While the opposition jirga gave the welcome news that the issue was "70% resolved", Dr Tahirul Qadri show no signs of retreat; an absurd appeal for bats, balls and legos for the children at the PAT dharna was made, as well as mattresses for the women.
With the numbers at the Constitution Avenue parade continuing the ebb and flow pattern of the past weeks, a dramatic ruling from the Supreme Court or flexibility from the defiant government and stubborn protesting parties are the only likely options to end the deadlock.
Will worn-out Imran give up on his demand for the premier's resignation? Will better sense prevail for Dr Qadri, who is calling for an overthrow of the system as we know it? Will the passive government pull a new trick out of its hat?
Qadri lashes out at MPs for terming ‘peaceful’ protesters as terrorists
Speaking to protesters in heavy rain, PAT chief Dr Tahirul Qadri lashed out at the Parliamentarians saying peaceful daughters, sisters and sons are being labelled as terrorists.
Speaker accepts Javed Hashmi's resignation in NA
Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq has accepted resignation of PTI President Javed Hashmi, which he tendered during his speech to the joint session of Parliament on Tuesday, DawnNews reported.
Any decision taken by political 'jirga' will be accepted: PM Nawaz
After the joint parliamentary session today, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was briefed in his chambers by the government committee.
PM Nawaz Sharif has said that any decision taken by the political ‘jirga’ will be accepted by him.
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said that it has been made clear that the government has no issues in accepting five out of six demands put forward by the PTI, adding that the PM resignation will not be negotiated upon.
Nisar also briefed the PM that both the protesting parties have assured the government that they will move their sit-ins away from in front of the Parliament House.
The government is expected to respond PTI by tonight.
COAS meets CM Shahbaz
The Chief of Army Staff General Raheel met with Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif at Army House in Rawalpindi. The two discussed the political situation, with Tariq Fatemi also in attendance.
Zardari meets Shujaat, Elahi for lunch; political deadlock discussed
PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari met with Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi at Zardari House in Islamabad.
The Chaudhries had been invited for lunch during which Zardari urged Chaudhry Shujaat to convince Tahirul Qadri to show some flexibility.
PPP leaders Sherry Rehman and Nayyar Bokhari were also in attendance. — Reported by Shakeel Qarar
PM, parliamentary leaders discuss deadlock, jigra initiative
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is meeting with leaders of parliamentary parties in his chamber to discuss the prevailing deadlock and the recent initiative of the opposition jirga to ease further negotiations between the government and PTI and PAT.
Those in attendance include PPP leaders Aitzaz Ahsan, Raza Rabbani, Syed Khurshid Shah, Mehmood Khan Achakzai, Aftab Sherpao, Ijazul Haq, Hasil Bizenjo, Sahibzada Tariqullah, Zahid Hamid, Pervaiz Rasheed, Ishaq Dar and Saad Rafique.
The leaders are discussing attempts made by the jirga that is being led by JI Emir Sirajul Haq to negotiate a settlement between the two sides. — Reported by Mateen Haider
Don't interfere in politics, PAT tells Supreme Court
The Pakistan Awami Tehreek on Thursday submitted its response in the Supreme Court and said the court should not intervene in political matters.
PAT's counsel Advocate Ali Zafar submitted the party's response today which stated that the court should order the government to respond to the demands of protesters and that judicial intervention in electoral matters violated the Constitution.
The joint session of Parliament has come to an end for today and will resume tomorrow (Friday) at 10AM.
Iqbal invites Imran to build cancer hospital
The prime minister wants us to work on the building of a state of the art cancer hospital in Pakistan, says Iqbal.
"I welcome Imran Khan to share with us his experience in this regard."
Ahsan Iqbal criticises media coverage of dharnas
"No leader in Pakistan has been given the kind of live coverage that these two get on prime time every day." says Iqbal. "Even when Imran and Qadri sneeze, the media is ready to cover that live."
"Pity is that none of these parties gained anything from this live coverage."
He says the prime minister has offered to make a commission to go over the PTI's complaints. "Any complaints of any engineering, we welcome these and the commission can assess what happened...if they cannot even trust the judiciary of this country, we will perhaps have to call the UN...if Imran wants to punish the people of this country for his stubbornness then that cannot be cured even by Hakim Lucman."
PTI being unreasonable: Ahsan Iqbal
Harking back to the words of PTI lawmaker Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Iqbal says, "Qureshi says we are in quicksand. How are we in quicksand Qureshi sahab? We accepted five of your six demands and the sixth demand is just stubbornness and is unreasonable."
"On Saturday when we met PTI leaders, they had assured us they wouldn't march towards PM House."
"But they had also promised that about the Red Zone...they kept on promising and breaking those promises"
Attack on Parliament planned in May: Ahsan Iqbal
"I have been upset over what happened in Lahore...but the chain of events is problematic," says the minister.
"When Zarb-i-Azb began, we had united...the plan that was made on May 30 to attack Parliament using PAT, PTI, Q league...Imran was a part of that conspiracy...if Model Town hadn't happened, the situation would not have gotten to this point...what is the missing link?...Is the Model Town tragedy linked to the original conspiracy that was developed in London and to what is happening now?"
'34 members are trying to dictate upon the entire House'
"PTI has also talked about the four points which called for democratic means and rejected of any unconstitutional ones. But isn't it odd that it is the 34 whose will you want to dictate upon the rest of the House?" questioned Ahsan Iqbal. "Even not all 34 are with PTI."
"Then you [Imran Khan] called for civil disobedience...but they forget that even Quaid-e-Azam refused to go with the Congress in this and decided to continue with a democratic struggle."
Iqbal said that it wasn't the government which claimed that the protesting parties were working according to a script. "We didn't say that; it was the president of PTI who used those words. Shouldn't Imran resign after such an allegation came against him from the president of his party?"
'Parliament is symbol of people's approval'
Ahsan Iqbal says democracies are not run through nods and hints, they are run through the elected representatives of the people. "If any hint or nod matters, it is that of the people...the Parliament is the symbol of the real nod of the people."
"I am waiting when Imran Khan will write about how he met Lal Haweli...they say not even a pot plant was broken...but the gate of the Parliament was broken."
PTI has internal election flaws: Ahsan Iqbal
Criticising the intra-party elections of the PTI, Ahsan Iqbal said, "PTI did a fact-finding report on its failure to form the government and the first factor noted is that PTI held its intra-party elections just before the election. The other factor it notes is that tickets were given to undeserving people and that corruption was practiced when awarding tickets...how can Imran then question anyone over merit and corruption?"
"If you cannot control corruption within your party and tickets were handed in exchange for money or other favours then how can you lecture others on corruption?" Iqbal asked Imran Khan.
He added: "Another factor noted in the report was that the PTI's campaign was not rooted that it did not understand the people or speak for the people's demands. Another factor noted in that report is the attitude of the leadership and Imran's lack of action in relation to that."
"The report also notes that chairman fails to recognise significant PTI workers; how is that our fault Imran Khan?"
"The same report says that the office of secretary general has been non-existent. How can that be? And how can everything be in the hands of the chairman of the party?"
"Honourable Speaker these are the things that I wanted to share with you...Shah Mehmood Qureshi said Pakistan's political class failed but that is obviously not true...it is Shah Mehmood Qureshi who has failed, who has severed his ties with the political class which is standing firm behind democracy."
'Imran should prove ROs were involved in rigging'
Ahsan Iqbal says the 2013 election was the only one in which the chief election commissioner's name was agreed upon by all sides of the political spectrum. "Imran lauded the naming of Fakhruddin Ebrahim for CEC. The government and opposition at the time agreed to the caretaker government put in place."
"You keep on crying about rigging Khan sahab, but if you can prove it to us that ROs were in fact involved in rigging -- which is not possible because ROs only have the authority to tabulate -- then we will accept your objections."
"They call for four constituencies; that they were rigged...did we not take all measures that we could? Wasn't it the job of the election tribunals?"
'Elections nowhere in the world are perfect'
"No election anywhere in the world is perfect...even in a democracy like America...questions have arisen...even if you check out this year's election in India...just Google it and you will find out that rigging happens everywhere."
Iqbal then goes on to note a number of instances he found on the internet over complaints regarding that country's election.
"So this happens everywhere and there are procedures...election tribunals are made precisely to deal with these issues."
'Only Imran and Qadri are clean?'
"The way Imran and Qadri behave it seems like they are the only ones who are clean in this country. If everyone is a thief and corrupt then who is clean? You only? Why are you trying to shatter our confidence, shatter our belief in ourselves?" questioned Ahsan Iqbal.
"I know that forces have been acting...I have seen these things....Not only IJI was formed, GDA was also formed...but we have understood that these are counterproductive measures...we need to work for political space."
"I want to tell Imran and Qadri that even if you sit here for 500 years...you will not be able to do anything to the government of this country...to democracy...this is a war for the supremacy of Constitution and we will take it to its logical conclusion."
'Political stability key to success'
Ahsan Iqbal: "All I'm saying is that if no country could progress without political stability...then it is this country's right to be allowed political stability for the five years, the tenure that this government has earned...constitutionalism, rule of law are the ways through which Pakistan can emerge as a country that has progressed."
"In today's world, a country that can win investor confidence is the one can progress but if a country cannot win that confidence, this will become problematic," he added.
English-medium vs Urdu-medium 'inquilabs'
"I do not understand these two 'inquilabs'; one is English medium and one is Urdu medium. I am disappointed in Imran Khan; I thought his discourse would have been educated. He says he went to Oxford but his jargon is amazing," said Ahsan Iqbal.
He added that religious blackmailing is being done to take advantage of the people of Pakistan. "Bringing in religious references for their so-called revolutions is shameful."
"People used to say that Pakistan would become a Japan but the condition of the country can hardly be regarded as that of a country which has progressed so much."
'Opposition fought back with tremendous strength'
The response that the opposition parties have given has fought off these forces with tremendous strength, says Ahsan Iqbal.
"Democratic forces -- including the youth of Pakistan -- refused to become a part of their march. PTI and PAT left Lahore after dark when no one could spot how small their marches actually were," Iqbal said criticising the Islamabad sit-ins.
He added: "Then they went to Gujranwala and just stayed there, begging to the people of that city to come and join their so-called revolution. But the people refused to entertain them because people see how long it has taken Pakistan to reach a point where it has seen the first democratic transition of power."
"Ordinary people have understood that Pakistan's future lies in its political stability. They have decided that if they do not like the current government, we will oust it with our vote."
The groups are enemies of Pakistan: Ahsan Iqbal
Iqbal reads from copy of Pakistan Constitution
"No enemy of Pakistan could have created a situation or caused so much humiliation to Pakistan internationally as these two have done," Iqbal cries.
"People are asking internationally — how can a nuclear power allow these people to come and take over the capital and government offices? How will you fare if terrorists want you to surrender?"
Parliament a dhobi ghaat outside: Ahsan Iqbal
The PML-N leader laments that protesters have made the precincts of the Parliament a 'dhobi ghaat'.
"Invading the precincts of the Parliament which includes the lawns, parking lot etc. and desecrating the House...those who have invaded the precincts of the Parliament have to vacate."
"Honourable Speaker please make a committee which ensures that those who have violated the sanctity of the Parliament are duly punished. I still haven't been able to understand why these people chose the date of August 14. They used our independence day to usher divisive politics."
Pakistan witnessing 'containerisied' revolution: Ahsan Iqbal
"Pakistan is being made a hostage of containerised revolution. The world has seen velvet and orange revolution and Pakistan is having a containerised one," says Iqbal.
He refers to Qadri's remarks against Khursheed Shah. "They still there and come out and ridicule just about anyone they want to. Yesterday, the way they went after the opposition leader was very unbecoming."
"To humiliate the leader of the opposition is tantamount to desecrating the House. He should learn from PTI who ridiculed Shah sahab but ate their words when SMQ praised the leader of the opposition yesterday."
Ahsan Iqbal on the floor of the House
Planning and Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal says the government did not imagine that a force would storm the Parliament.
"We have braved through difficult times, yes; this is not exceptionally tougher. But what we hadn't seen before was that no one had the courage to think of storming the Parliament and give the world the message that the Pakistani state has become dysfunctional."
Geo has paid its dues: Raza Rabbani
Senator Raza Rabbani makes a case for Geo — which is currently facing financial crisis and security threats. "I do not subscribe to what Geo broadcasts...but they have paid their dues...there is a court order but the government has been unable to implement it."
Rabbani welcomes govt flexibility
Senator Raza Rabbani says it is good that the government has agreed to the five points of the protesting parties, as reported in newspapers. "A commission will determine the state of the elections and parliament will be a guarantor to ensure that the findings of the commission are followed through and action is taken against rigging is proven," he says.
He lays out 14 points of his own: "Dictatorship in all its forms and manifestations, externally managed derailments, crises are anti-thetical to democracy and will not be allowed to take place."
He lists them as:
1) charter of democracy needs to be revisited
2) to reaffirm the commitment of process of federalism and devolution under 1973 constitution
3) supremacy of Parliament shall be ensured as per 1973 const. all issued of national concern shall fall within its larger parameters to redefine civil-military relations
4) to shun adhocism and develop systems for good governance
5) to ensure independence of judiciary
7) to develop national consensus against intolerance, extremism, tolerance in all forms and manifestations
8) to work for protections and rights of minorities, women and children
9) to protect economic pol. rights of working class
10) to ensure implementation of articles 25a
12) to promote regional cultures
13) to ensure freedom of press to safeguard rights of working journalists
Rabbani touches on Islamabad's ties with Rawalpindi
"When our ministers go and meet COAS in GHQ, we concede political space, " Raza Rabbani says, "When we enforce Article 245, we concede political space; when we call them for facilitate we concede political space. today the balance of power unfortunately does not rest in Islamabad but in Rawalpindi."
We failed to deliver: Raza Rabbani
"I'm not talking about the government but about the political class, " he says. "These conditions, this paradigm, this new narrative — why is it being given? We're at a critical juncture of history, Mr Speaker, if we put our heads down like an ostrich then we won't be ready for the battle that is yet to come... that will determine whether the waterloo is of parliament or of pakistan's ruling elite so let's do some soul searching..."
He adds, "We as the political class have not been able to deliver. If we were delivering and effectively functioning, conditions wouldn't have happened."
"f we were delivering as we should, every single citizen of Pakistan would have actively repulsed this attack on Parliament. But now they are dissociated and do not seem to care."
Rabbani critical of Imran, Qadri messages to supporters
"Pick up history books and see the kind of speeches that were made before Babri Mosque was demolished," he says, referring to the protesting PAT and PTI leaders' messages of peace and the ensuing violence. "And later they said they didn't call for anyone to attack the mosque. This is what these leaders were trying to do."
He continues. "The message is loud an clear to all democratic forces: that this is what can be done. that we can do whatever we want. the message was to desecrate the precincts of Parliament. if that is the message then we accept that and every 442 or 443 house members are ready to lay down their lives but will not allow the desecration of Parliament."
"Let's also assess ourselves for a bit now."
Rabbani slams Qadri for Khursheed Shah remarks
"Yesterday they directed their canons towards PPP," he says, referring to Dr Qadri's biting criticism of PPP leader Khursheed Shah, whom the firebrand cleric had threatened to silence.
"Many canons have been fired on PPP. We are used to this and have always stood in impossible circumstances," says Rabbani.
"I wouldn't have reacted if they had only gone after Shah sahab but they went after ZAB who was the architect of the Constitution of Pakistan. Bhutto who stood against the establishment, who laid the foundation of the nuclear program of Pakistan."
"We dont want to sour the mood because negotiations are underway but they need to understand that PPP's jiyalas know how to tackle those who attack our leaders."
Rabbani adds, "In fact, Qadri was amgry at SMQ but he took it out on Khursheed Shah. Because Shah Mehmood Qureshi said Qadri and his people were fundamentally calling for the march to Parliament and PM House."
Qadri is no legislator: Raza Rabbani
"Finding a way through this bigger crisis will take time," says the PPP Senator, "but it is great that the parliament recognised the challenge, picked up the gauntlet and began the twilight struggle to free itself of its ruling elite."
Hitting out at the PAT chief, Rabbani says: "Qadri cannot even become a parliamentarian in Pakistan with his oath to the queen of England."
"He [Qadri] says he doesn't believe in the system. He calls for a revolution? What revolution? The inqilab we know has farmers and labourers in its vanguard, artists, students and teachers."
This is not a revolution: Raza Rabbani
The PPP Senator is dismissive of the ongoing protests. "What is happening outside does not look like a revolution. It's a situation where the haves are saying we have not. Where are the labourers, the farmers, the artists?" he asks.
"Much is being said about changes in electoral laws. I am not ready to prepare these talks and arguments, because the laws are there, the Constitution exists."
"Until the stakeholders within the state, the ruling elite will not manage their tiffs, no matter what laws you bring in, the results will be the same as they want."
"We said rigging was done but we accepted the result for the sake of democracy," says Raza Rabbani, now addressing the protesting PTI that is encamped at Constitution Avenue.
"First you wanted four seats reopened but then you went on to call for the dismantling of the system. Even after ZAB's judicial murder, we said we will remain within the system...our victories were taken away from us...we said we'd remain within the system...Benazir was murdered in the streets of Rawalpindi...we said we'll remain within the system...Pakistan khappay, khappay, khappay!"
"Despite everything, we never called for the dismantling of the system and this is politics."
Situation handled poorly: Rabbani
The Senator says the political crisis could have been avoided. "Honourable Speaker, the situation that has become so… if it was handled politically, through Parliament, from the start then what is happening outside may not have come to this point."
"But we also need to keep in mind that the Constitution protects itself..after the 18th Amendment, some clauses have come in that makes it difficult for these dark forces to launch a direct attack on the Parliament."
"If 58(2)(b) would have been in place now, then the government would have been packed up and sent home long ago, but because this could no longer be done, these forces have brought out their puppets on to the streets."
Centrist mindset is the problem: Rabbani
The session resumes after a short prayer break. Raza Rabbani continues, cautioning the government against rolling back on the devolving measures pushed forward with the 18th Amendment. "These will have consequences which will cancel the dividends."
"The centrist mindset is the problem -- which smacks of dictatorial behaviour, regardless of what form of government we have."
Do not alienate Parliament: Raza Rabbani
"We had said earlier and we will say it again that once you will alienate the Parliament...if you won't come to NA and Senate and when your ministers won't come to NA and Senate...when the government won't be accountable to the House...then conspiracies like this will take root," says Raza Rabbani.
"Please recall that the last time the PML-N govt was ousted, it happened when the government had alienated the parliament... only a united parliament can fight these attacks off."
Session breaks for Zuhr prayers
First time we are united: Raza Rabbani
The PPP Senator says this is the first instance where all Parliamentarians are standing together. "If you look at the country's history, it is the first time that the opposition, all democratic forces, lawyers, bar associations and media are standing together and saying they will not allow anyone to trample on the Constitution."
"We must bear in mind that in the future, measures will be adopted by certain forces to erode the unity that has emerged among democratic forces."
This is a war for power: Raza Rabbani
The legislator moves to the current political crisis. "Honourable speaker, I cannot completely agree that with what people here said yesterday that the Parliament was victorious."
"We should bear in mind that it was the first battle and a nominal victory perhaps but the war hasn't ended. If democratic forces are thinking that it was the first and last attack on the Parliament then they are mistaken."
"This is a war for power-- for control of the state."
Raza Rabbani on the floor of the House
PPP Senator Raza Rabbani opens his speech by calling the government's attention to the heavy rainfall in Punjab which has resulted in several deaths.
"Honourable speaker, today as I stand in this august House, I cannot decide where to begin my recommendations from but I understand that I will start from a point which is the true spirit/objective of this Parliament."
"And that is that last night and the night before, the situation of a flood is becoming apparent in Punjab province. And so far, media has reported that some 12 people have died in these rains. But unfortunately, it seems like the Punjab government isn't prepared to deal with this situation," says Rabbani.
"I will request the PM — that these issues which are that of Pakistan’s ruling elite — he should direct the Punjab government to deal with those issues."
Haji Adeel talks about 'baghis'
Adeel begins to talk about "rebels" — starting from the rousing welcome given to Javed Hashmi, he invoked the reference of Bacha Khan and said those doing the politics of containers were no rebels. Ayaz Sadiq looks on — fascinated.
"Rebels aren't only those who switch parties. Those who stay within their parties and speak their minds are the real rebels."
"We need to struggle/jihad against corruption in the country which cannot be done from air conditioned rooms."
"Once the people of this country actually stand up...the clerks... peechay loug hongay agay guillotine."
Imran was our hero: Haji Adeel
The ANP Senator talks about the PTI chairman, saying "Imran Khan was our hero at one point, we were with him when he began working on Shaukat Khanum Hospital...when he was doing good work, everyone was cooperating."
He then deviates to the issue of dynastic politics. "Given how politics has gone on in South Asia with family and dynastic politics and the damage it has done, we must understand that the system needs changing."
He also stresses on the need for accountability: "A system of accountability be brought into place which can hold all those accountable who are using their power to be and live beyond their means — be they politicians, judges, military leaders."
"The issue between Imran and Nawaz seems more personal than political. We had complaints with the PM but his arrival in the House has cleared that out."
"We are asking the Nawaz government to help the people of KP, regardless of who is in government there; to help us with the power and electricity problems."
Identify detained PAT supporters: Haji Adeel
The Senator says PAT Chief Dr Tahirul Qadri should provide the details of the 30,000 people he claims have been taken into custody by the government. "All those people that Qadri says government has detained...he should give the names and addresses of those men...I will personally request the government to release them."
"I do not even know if anyone is clear about the identities of deceased PAT workers."
Where is the PM, asks Haji Adeel
"We are with the PM for the sake of democracy...but we don't see him, we do not see his authority," says Haji Adeel, as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif listens silently.
"What is the reason? We go out and see the police everywhere who have no control over the crowd...I do not understand what's happening...there was one Sikander who was controlling Islamabad," Haji Adeel says, referring to the lone gunman who had held the capital hostage last year.
""It's fine to talk and negotiate...then we see these terrorists who storm PTV HQ, enter government buildings...they all get together, have lunches, dinners."
"Why do have these containers everywhere? They are only causing hindrance to the people who cannot go about their business...government should not punish ordinary people, it should hold the disruptive elements accountable."
Haji Adeel on the floor of the House
ANP Senator Haji Adeel, holding a copy of the Constitution of Pakistan in his hand, says, "It's a misfortune that we now have to enter Parliament through backdoors, through entrances we have never seen."
"The other day when I went to PM House, we couldn't take the normal route...it reminded me of Bahadur Shah Zafar who only reigned inside his palace but outside it was the rule of all and sundry."
Praise for Gen Raheel
"I will now come to civil-military relations," says Mushahid Hussain. "Appointing Raheel Sharif was a wise decision and he took the terrorists head on...nobody wants confrontation with India. The army is subordinate of the government. The PM is their boss and PM should deal with the army in a professional manner."
About the COAS, Hussain says "He is not only a fighting general, but a thinking general — which is rare."
He relates an anecdote, "One of my friends, a former terrorist, called me and said: 'Shah sahab what is going on... we were tribal I thought, but the politicians are behaving in a tribal manner'."
At the end, he says the Parliament should not be a debating society and talking shop. "We need to get to delivering and performing...no military coup is coming."
Learn from Modi, Erdogan: Mushahid Hussain
Citing examples of changing political trends in neighbouring India and Turkey, Hussain says, "The examples we have in front of us are Narendra Modi who was a tea seller. Erdogan took on the reins of Turkey despite the opposition of their country's military establishment."
"We need to change our style of governance and not be divisive but inclusive."
Go from mogul to Mandela mindset: Mushahid Hussain
The Senator lauds the judiciary and role of the civil society. "We have a truly independent judiciary now for the first time in Pakistan and they are not under the control of GHQ."
"We have a vibrant civil society."
"Another reality, Honourable Speaker is that Pakistan is confronting several challenges and these can only be confronted if we work together."
"Ball is in the PM's court because it's a one man show. From the mughal ruler to Mandela, the PM will have to act in that manner."
Mushahid Hussain on the floor
PML-Q Senator Mushahid Hussain says a large majority of Pakistan's population comprises young people, who need more than "just laptops" and want "tabdeeli" (change).
"The youth want more than just laptops...they are aware of their rights, of politics...they are impatient, angry and want a better future," he says,
"Another reality is that Pakistan has multiple power centres now. We have a very strong independent media which is playing a role and sometimes a very political role."
Honourable Speaker, do not accept resignations of PTI lawmakers: Mushahid Hussain Syed
Mushahid Hussain Syed is now addressing the House.
"Honourable Speaker, it was good that we had the PTI MNAs come in and speak in the House...it was important to show magnanimity at the time and I am glad you did that," Mushahid says.
"I would go so far as to say that do not accept their resignations...they are part of the system."
"Parliament should do its job right...it will be able to take charge of critical policy arenas," he says.
Govt should bring Islamabad to normalcy: Sajir Mir
"I demand the government to bring back Pakistan and Islamabad to normalcy," Mir says.
"Naya Pakistan has already been made...and can only be improved if civilian governments are allowed to function," he says.
Mir criticises media for not showing "empty chairs in front of Imran Khan's podium".
Imran Khan is not a politician but a bowler: Sajir Mir
Sajir Mir. — screeengrab
"Imran Khan is not a politician, he is basically a bowler...he is bowling bouncers and no-balls," Sajir Mir says.
"Politics is not a game of cricket," Mir says, ridiculing Imran.
"We want shariat but we don't want enforced shariat...we didn't even accept the forced shariat of Sufi Mohammad; how did Imran and Qadri think we would allow them to do anything they want?," Mir says.
"Will we have to deal with Imran and Qadri the way we dealt with the Taliban?"
Parliament session begins
The joint session of the Parliament has begun and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is present in the House.
Professor Sajid Mir has begun addressing the House.
Mir is criticising PTI and PAT. "Was the language used by Tahirul Qadri against Syed Khursheed Shah befitting of someone who calls himself a leader?"
"I commend Khurshid Shah and the opposition for standing tall and trying to resolve this crisis."
"Tahirul Qadri is taking advantage of the simplicity of ordinary people...their faith."
Opposition jirga meets PM
The opposition jirga has held a meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, DawnNews quoted sources as saying.
Led by Jamaat-i-Islami's Sirajul Haq, the jirga apprised the prime minister of the talks it held earlier with PTI and PAT.
The jirga met with the premier after it held separate rounds of talks with delegates from PTI and PAT on Wednesday.
Imran Khan leaves for Bani Gala
Imran Khan has left his container to go to his residence of Bani Gala.
PTI sources say Imran will return by 3 pm to the container and will address supporters upon his return. — Reported by Sohail Iqbal Bhatti
Ending of deadlock is good news: Rehman Malik
The meeting between the committees of the political jirga and the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) ended following which Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Rehman Malik said that 'ending of dead lock was good news' and added that all parties were cooperating in this regard.
He further said there was pressure on everyone over the Chinese president's visit to the country.
Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N) said that a joint declaration would be made if a conclusion was reached.
He further said that speculation could affect the negotiations process and added that an agreement was reached with the PAT to continue talks for the resolution of the ongoing political crisis.
Sharif family largest Asian investor in Britain, Imran Khan claims
Imran Khan said that sit-ins being held in the federal capital would not affect the Chinese president’s visit to the country and added that the PTI activists would welcome and shower petals on the Chinese president.
“The Sharif family is the largest Asian investor in Britain,” the PTI chairman said.
Khan added that investment would come to the country on its own, after Nawaz Sharif brought all of his own wealth to the country.
He also claimed that the electricity tariff would be increased after two months if consumers paid their power bills.
Animals in the west have more rights than humans in Pakistan: Imran Khan
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan addressed his supporters outside Parliament House in Islamabad and said “The government is now willing to accept all our demands except the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.”
“My fellow Pakistanis if you hadn't taken to the streets then the next elections would have been rigged worse than the previous polls,” he said adding that ‘even animals in the west have more rights than humans in this country.’
The PTI chairman continued his tirade against the 'fiefdom' in the country giving religious and historical geo-political reference including the Magna Carta.
PTI, govt meeting ends
The meeting between the government committee and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf has concluded. The government committee — Ishaq Dar, Zahid Hamid and Chaudhry Shafi (a sugar industrialist who is a relative of the PM) — and PTI team comprising Asad Umar, Jahagir Tareen and Shah Mehmood Qureshi left without speaking to reporters.
The meeting lasted nearly 45 minutes.
Bats, balls and see-saws for children
Qadri appeals for swings, slides, see-saws and toys for children present at the dharna. "Send school books, rhyme books, colour pencils, drawing books... so these children are engaged.
He also urges his members to send bats and balls. "I will play with you myself," says Qadri, much to the delight of his supporters.
"Mattresses, beds must be provided and they will only be removed when these people are cleared out."
Qadri also asks for toffees, biscuits, chocolate, milk for young children, along with medicines for cough and cold. He mentions Hydralin cough syrup for children.
'We are here you must go', chants ring at Qadri protest site. He calls for a revolution and freedom cricket match.
Qadri shows picture of Attack on Supreme Court in late 90s, lashes out at Nawaz and PML-N. "You are the initiators of attacks on state institutions," Qadri tells PML-N
Dharna will end if thousands don't join us: Qadri
"If within three days a sea of hundreds of thousands don't support the march, W will call the protest to an end," Qadri says.
He repeats, "The dharna will be over, the dharna will be over!"
Moments later, he makes a contradicting statement, "Until resignations are not handed in, we will not retreat."
A productive meeting with PTI
Speaking to reporters after meeting with the opposition jirga — JI's SIrajul Haq and Liaquat Baloch; PPP's Rehman Malik, Kulsoom Parveen from BNP-Awami and Mian Aslam — PTI leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi said his party is ready to move ahead. "PTI has agreed to move forward in a democratic manner. PTI will meet government’s delegation at 8pm today."
In the joint media briefing, Sirajul Haq said, "It has been a productive meeting There is still a deadlock, but 70% of the work has been done. We believe there will a concrete solution soon."
"I would like to advise the government to refrain from issuing statements, which spread negativity. If both sides show patience, then we are not far in ending this crisis," he added.
Decision to let Shah Mehmood Qureshi speak was correct, Shah argues
Opposition Leader Khurshid Shah speaks on the floor of the House:
"We feel today that Parliament has won".
"Honourable speaker, we will agree with whatever you decide. The decision you took today to let Shah Mehmood Qureshi speak was in light of the Constitution and democracy. Yesterday we welcomed Javed Hashmi, Maulana sahab, we should not have double standards."
"Maulana sahab why didn't you object to Javed Hashmi's arrival and speech in the House."
MQM legislators asked to submit resignations to convener
Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) Members of the National Assembly, Sindh Assembly and Senate have been asked to submit their resignations from the Parliament to deputy convener Dr Nusrat Shaukat.
"They are submitting their resignations because of the drama going on in Pakistan for one month," said a party member while requesting anonymity.
When asked if this move is a bid to express solidarity with the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT), the official said no.
Abdul Nabi Bangash instead takes the floor
ANP lawmaker Abdul Nabi Bangash addresses NA Speaker Ayaz Sadiq, "Honourable speaker you should have asked the PTI MNA whether he stood by his resignation or wanted to take it back?"
"If he takes it back, we should allow it. And we should allow him to Parliament."
"Imran and Qadri are two sides of the same coin and we saw the drop scene of this film last evening when the two got together."
Achakzai speaks on floor
After a brief spell of chaos in the House, Sadiq invites Mahmood Khan Achakzai of the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party to speak.
"Those who have resigned, you let them speak Honourable Speaker, " he says.
He said the attack on Parliament was not right, but there are people in the Pakstan Secretariat with batons. "I want your guarantee and Khurshid Shah's guarantee."
"We want to have a well worded resolution saying that attack on Parliament, PTV, Secretariat are violations of Constitution... And everyone should sign it."
"There should be no dialogue with PTI until their parliamentarians sign that resolution," he says.
He adds that if Imran and Qadri are indeed not one, the previous day's handshake has to be disowned.
There is more ruckus on PTI resignations, Sadiq clarifies that he will deal with issue of resignation in the speaker's chamber
PAT has its own thinking: Qureshi
Qureshi says he had discussed with the PAT chief how they would maintain separated agendas. "I went and took the four proposals to Qadri and said that if you agree then we will move forward. We will maintain our distinct identities and this was announced in a press conference where PAT announced its agreement with the four points," he says,
"But we cannot dictate to PAT. It a different party and has its own thinking."
PTI stayed within the law: Qureshi
"The sit in remained peaceful. PTI stayed within the law. We stayed within the law..I can speak for my party," Qureshi continues.
He delves into the period before his party marched into Islamabad's high-security red zone. "When we were moving from Kashmir road to D-chowk, we were worried if things may become critical...we made everyone promise that none of our activists will enter government buildings."
"Qadri said he and his activists will go ahead...Imran called all of us and said this might become problematic, this will create trouble for the people but the people had been the whole time."
He continues, "Imran told me Qureshi things are getting out of hand, you go and sort this out...I want to bring this on record I went and I begged. I begged Qadri but he said I did what I could but now the crowd is not in my hands."
"I said, no Qadri sahab this is not something we can allow and you have to stop or others will take advantage of this. He said you go and talk to them. I went and talked to the people; but people booed at me."
We came in peace: Qureshi
"People should be allowed to hold peaceful protests. Our detractors said if we came to the capital, there'd be blood. But people were welcoming our march in all the cities that we passed," says Qureshi.
Lawmakers make comments to which Qureshi responds: "Yes don't believe me, you're free not to."
As lawmakers bring the NA speaker's attention to the Parliament break-in, Ayaz Sadiq says: "I will talk about the Parliament gate myself." Sadiq urges the legislators not to cross-talk.
"We had agreed that 1) PTI struggle will be democratic 2) Struggle will remain within realm of constitution 3) struggle will be non violent 4) if any extra constitutional force comes into play, we will resist it and condemn it."
Qureshi adds, "Listen to our story even if only to reject it later."
PTI not part of a grand plan: Qureshi
"It is this establishment...if you look at the Asghar Khan case, many will be exposed...we know our history...I am here today because I heard you yesterday...I feel your pain Bizenjo sahab, you speaking of your father's services to this country...I can respond to people's allegations too but my goal is not to hurt people," he says.
Dismissing the notion of any "gran plan" or third party orchestrating the current crisis, he says, "There is an impression in the House here that there is a grand plan, a script...Mr Speaker, on the floor of the House, let me state that PTI never was and never will be part of any grand plan to undermine the Constitution and democracy."
We want to save Parliament: Qureshi
"I was trying to calm people down but no one listened to me. I pleaded that the Parliament is my political kaaba...but I cannot command, I can only request," says Qureshi.
"We are not here to burn down the House but to save it. Imran Khan is my Quaid, my leader...but in my training is also the hand of Benazir Bhutto."
"The question is what kind of Parliament...it's our responsibility to defend the Parliament...but what kind of Parliament?...it is true that elections held in Pakistan have been seen with questioning gazes..."
Good news soon, Rehman Malik promises again
PPP's Rehman Malik addresses the press:
"The country will soon hear good news."
"Jirgas have power of principles and ethics, using that power of ethics we went to the PTI and PAT...We don't have ministerial powers, we as a group of opposition parties, went and played an independent role as an arbitrator."
"All the talks that are going on are in the PM's knowledge and the minister who briefed us. Today, hopefully we will meet PTI and PAT members again."
"We want things to improve because Islamabad is in tatters and the protesters are all over the place."
"I don't want to discuss the workings of the jirga further because it is a joint discussion with PTI and PAT. We will discuss and brief you on this together. I cannot help but appreciate the efforts of Sirajul Haq who has been working day and night. I also directly address Altaf Hussain not to resign from the leadership of his party. Please withdraw your decision Altaf Hussain."