ISLAMABAD: Calling for general elections at the earliest, the political committee of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) on Tuesday decided to hold public meetings and conventions to mobilise masses.

It was also decided that after the public gatherings in Peshawar and Karachi, a surprise move will be announced during the one scheduled to be held in Lahore one week later.

The party also decided to boycott any meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security, which may look into the cable that allegedly revealed a conspiracy to topple the PTI government, and demanded the Supreme Court constitute an inquiry commission on the matter.

The meeting was chaired by PTI chairman Imran Khan and attended by all provincial presidents of the party, Secretary General Asad Umer, Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi, and other leaders, including Fawad Chaudhry and Pervaiz Khattak.

PTI leader Dr Farrukh Habib, while briefing the media on the meeting, said Mr Khan will address a public gathering to be held at Peshawar’s Ring Road on Wednesday (today).

“On April 16, another rally will be held in a ground adjacent to Mazar-i-Quaid in Karachi and yet another on the 23rd at Minar-i-Pakistan in Lahore. In these rallies, we will stress that the imported government is not acceptable, while a surprise move will be announced during the public meeting in Lahore. We are going to make a bigger move than what happened on Sunday (the deputy speaker’s ruling). We have already resigned from the assembly and now the nation should get the opportunity to elect its representatives,” he maintained.

Mr Habib said conventions of the Insaf Lawyers Forum, women’s and youth wings will also be held soon. He also condemned the action against PTI social media activists and supporters, saying social media had always stood against the malicious propaganda against the country and defended the institutions.

Without mentioning Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, the former state minister said it is being said that an in-camera meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security will be held to get a briefing on ‘Lettergate’ – an alleged foreign conspiracy against the recently ousted PTI government.

“However, I want to mention that ‘Crime’ Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi earlier demanded the letter be presented and discussed in parliament after which they were invited for a briefing to the parliamentary committee, but they did not turn up. Even former National Assembly speaker Asad Qaiser invited Shehbaz Sharif to read the letter, but he did not bother because he was part of the conspiracy (allegedly mentioned in the letter) and was aware of the contents of the document,” he claimed.

Mr Habib announced that the PTI will not attend the parliamentary committee meeting and demanded the Supreme Court establish an inquiry commission comprising members that no one could raise a finger at to put an end to any future foreign conspiracies.

“It is a fact that in Pakistan, governments are toppled with up to Rs20 billion. We have decided to contact the masses as it is necessary to hold general elections for economic stability in the country. The election commission should ensure fulfillment of its constitutional obligations,” he said.

He further reiterated his party’s stance that it was clearly mentioned in the letter sent by Islamabad’s ambassador to the US that Pakistan will face consequences if the opposition’s no-confidence motion failed, and that is why the National Security Committee termed it interference in Pakistan’s internal matters.

He said Prime Minister Sharif, during his address in the National Assembly, should have explained how a hefty amount was allegedly transferred in the account of his employee. He alleged that before becoming the premier, Mr Sharif replaced the prosecutor and director of the Federal Investigation Agency, but no one bothered to take suo motu notice nor did the courts open late at night.

Replying to a question regarding an increase in the minimum wage and salaries and pensions of government servants, the former minister said former premier Imran Khan had already appealed to the business community to increase salaries and also announced interim allowances for employees.

He claimed that prices of edible items had suddenly increased at Utility Stores, adding the PTI government had recorded a Rs3,800 billion tax collection and left at a record Rs6,000bn in that head.

Meanwhile, a delegation of Insaf Lawyers Forum – the PTI’s lawyers wing -- held a meeting with former PM Khan and discussed national issues and politics. Mr Khan directed the members to provide legal assistance to the social media activists who have been arrested or were being harassed allegedly by the government.

Published in Dawn, April 13th, 2022

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