ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) has changed its stance and now it will wait for the Supreme Court’s verdict before giving a call to the people to take to the streets and force Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to resign.
The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has warned the prime minister that he will be forced to leave office if he does not resign voluntarily.
“Our party will wait for the Supreme Court’s decision,” PTI spokesman Fawad Chaudhry told Dawn while replying to a question as to when Imran Khan would give a call for a march against the government.
Editorial: Mr Prime Minister, step aside
He said the decision to wait till the apex court’s decision was made at the party meeting held on Monday to brief PTI chairman Imran Khan on the hearing of the Panama Papers case by the Supreme Court.
PPP asks PM to leave office voluntarily
Mr Chaudhry, however, asked the prime minister that: “Now you will not go voluntarily, but will be forced to go.”
The PTI spokesman said his party would not organise big rallies or public meetings till the decision of the Supreme Court was announced, but hold small party conventions in different cities and towns.
“We do not want to give an impression that we have taken out people on the street before the apex court’s verdict, but we want to keep our workers charged so that they remain ready for any call by the chairman,” he added.
He said earlier PTI lawyers were demanding disqualification of Nawaz Sharif, but with more revelations in the Joint Investigation Report (JIT) report, the Sharif family was found involved in criminal offences as well.
“Some of these criminal acts of the Sharif family exposed in the JIT report were: Hassan Nawaz owns 13 offshore companies established for money laundering, a forged property deed was submitted before the Supreme Court and a forged letter of the Qatari prime minister was presented before the apex court,” he said.
Meanwhile, PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari warned the prime minister that his party would use all options if he did not step down. “We have all other options, including resignation from the National Assembly and taking to the streets,” he said while speaking at a ‘Meet the press’ programme here at the National Press Club.
He said by tendering his resignation, the prime minister could bury all ‘conspiracies, if they were being hatched against him. “Your ouster will not affect democracy in the country,” he added.
Mr Bhutto-Zardari said the prime minister’s resignation would be in favour of democracy and the people, adding that Nawaz Sharif should unveil all conspiracies.
The PPP chairman said he came to Islamabad to pay homage to the martyrs of May 12 and July 17. “The PPP has given the highest number of sacrifices. It has faced accountability several times in the past and now I am ready to face it,” he said.
He said the prime minister had lost the moral and legal authority to rule the country any more, adding that his supporters like Maulana Fazlur Rehman would also leave him soon.
Separately, a meeting of four opposition parties was held at the residence of PML-Q President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain.
Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi of the PML-Q, Sunni Ittehad Council chief Sahibzada Hamid Raza, Majlis Wahdatul Muslimeen leaders Allama Raja Nasir Abbas and Asad Naqvi and Pakistan Awami Tehreek Secretary General Khurram Nawaz Gandapur attended the meeting.
It reviewed the prevailing political situation and asked Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to resign immediately. The meeting expressed solidarity with the Supreme Court.
Speaking on this occasion, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain said nobody would be allowed to make the institutions controversial. He said delay in the case verdict would be harmful to Pakistan and economic situation would deteriorate further.
Published in Dawn, July 18th, 2017