Hawkish anti-US sentiments among workers trouble PTI

Published April 8, 2022
In this undated file photo, Sindh Governor Imran Ismail addresses a press conference at Governor's House in Karachi. — APP/File
In this undated file photo, Sindh Governor Imran Ismail addresses a press conference at Governor's House in Karachi. — APP/File

KARACHI: It appears to have dawned upon the senior Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leadership in Sindh that the strong anti-US sentiments rapidly growing in the party rank and files over the alleged interference in internal political affairs of the country and the alleged “conspiracy hatched to oust Imran Khan government” is not going to be very helpful for the political future of the party.

The party seems to have realised that now there is a need to tone down this zealotry and rhetoric to show that the PTI is not against any foreign country and wants cordial relations with the United States as well.

The senior leaders on Thursday clearly expressed concern over the aggressive tone and asked the leaders and PTI workers to avoid any such sentiments that could affect Pakistan’s relations with the world superpower.

Sindh Governor Imran Ismail speaking to media at Governor House stated that the recent actions of the party lawmakers and workers that included raising anti-US slogans in the Sindh Assembly and burning of symbolic effigy of the world superpower in streets in different parts of Karachi “were not in good taste”.

He made it clear that the PTI government wanted cordial relations with all countries across the world.

“We have conveyed to our workers and friends that this is not good [anti-US sloganeering]”, he said when asked about the PTI leadership reaction to recent party protests in Karachi and Sindh Assembly where the anti-US slogans were raised.

“We should not go against any country. We should not burn flags of any country. It could damage our relations with any country and we don’t want to damage our relationship with the US. This is not good.”

Earlier, hundreds of PTI workers led by legislators and areas leaders, gathered in Lyari on Thursday morning and staged a protest against ‘traitors of the country’ who, according to them, were trying to oust the Imran Khan government on a foreign agenda.

Chanting slogans “down with the US”, they also burnt effigies of those political leaders of Pakistan who had allegedly “sold out” their conscience for “the lust of power”.

Although the Sindh governor kept himself at distance from such forceful protests of the PTI, he appeared confident and convinced that the government was facing a ‘foreign intervention’ and the information was also seconded by the National Security Council that included the military leadership.

Supreme Court judgement

Despite all reservations and a firm stand of the government on the alleged foreign intervention, the Sindh governor made it clear that the government would accept the Supreme Court decision, while also adding that it was the people of Pakistan who would actually decide about right and wrong in the next general elections.

“They [opposition parties] have been accusing the PTI government of incompetence and demanding fresh elections for a long,” said Governor Ismail. “Now they are running away from the elections. Why? The answer is very simple. They want to get control of the government for a few months to reverse all those reforms which the PTI government brought for free and fair elections, which included use of EVMs [electronic voting machines] and voting rights to overseas Pakistanis. Then they want to cut to size the NAB [National Accountability Bureau] that would directly benefit them in their graft cases.”

Published in Dawn, April 8th, 2022

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