No intention of turning ‘Reimagining Pakistan’ campaign into a political party: Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar

Published February 3, 2023
<p>PPP leader Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar. — Screengrab: Independent Urdu</p>

PPP leader Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar. — Screengrab: Independent Urdu

Former PPP leader Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar has said that there is no intention to turn the ‘Reimagining Pakistan’ campaign into a political party in the future, it emerged on Friday.

Khokhar is part of a group of political mavericks — including former finance minister Miftah Ismail, ex-premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and former Balochistan chief minister Aslam Raisani — holding a series of nationwide seminars on the current challenges being faced by the country in an effort to develop a consensus on the future course of action required to be taken by all stakeholders to bring Pakistan out of the present mess.

In an exclusive interview with Independent Urdu published on Friday, Khokhar said that the aim of the politicians behind the campaign was to only hold seminars.

“Our intention is to only organise seminars,” he said. “The first one was held in Quetta, the second one in Peshawar. The next one is in Karachi on Feb 18 after which we will go to Lahore and Islamabad.”

In the interview, the politician stated that the current political atmosphere was in shambles, adding that politicians were unable to find solutions for the country’s economic woes.

“This is an unbiased attempt at a time when abuse and allegations are being hurled. We want politics to revolve around the peoples’ problems and these issues to be discussed.”

Khokhar said the country’s politics had revolved around “Panama, cipher, and Toshakhana” for the past eight to 10 years while the issues being faced by the country were being ignored.

According to the report, Khokar — in response to a question about the “Reimagining Pakistan” campaign being termed a pressure group — said: “Pressure is a good thing so that politics returns to solving the people’s problems and that is what we want.

“In light of the current economic situation, there is still no talk about economic reforms.”

Politics in Pakistan

In response to the possibility of being asked to rejoin the PPP, he said that he did not expect such an invitation and also did not wish to do so. He said that only the PPP could provide an answer for why he was forced to tender his resignation.

Commenting on his political future, the former senator expressed the wish to contest elections as an independent candidate.

“It is my wish to contest elections as an independent candidate,” the publication quoted him as saying about his political future. He said that there was no difference between any of the political parties as they were all concerned with pleasing the military establishment.

“In the past 75 years we have not been able to decide on who will run the country. Be it pro-establishment politics, getting favours from somewhere or a forming an alliance before the elections, these kind of politics never delivered results before nor will they do so in the future.

“The establishment’s involvement in politics is our misfortune. For the [sake] of the country, the establishment’s role has to be limited to the Constitution.”

He further said that there should be no delay in holding general and provincial elections. “Under the Constitution, elections should be held within 90 days of the provincial assembly being dissolved. If the Constitution is violated out in the open, then the remaining sanctity of the Constitution and parliament will cease to exist.”

The ex-senator said that the idea of delaying polls was prevalent among the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM). Khokhar was of the view that if politicians make a joke out of the Constitution by delaying polls, “other forces” would also not respect it.

He further said that the coalition government was fearful that PTI chief Imran Khan would secure a majority if elections were held. “The federal government ran away from the local body polls in Islamabad because it couldn’t find any candidates.”

“If you have come into power and have made difficult decision then you will have to pay the price for it,” he said, urging the government to not run away from the polls.

Split with PPP

Khokhar had formally resigned as a senator last year on November 10, two days after announcing plans to vacate his seat in the upper house of parliament.

At the time, he said a senior party leader had conveyed the leadership’s unhappiness with his “political positions”. He further said that as a political worker, he cherished the right to express his opinions on matters of public interest.

However a month later, he announced that he had decided to quit the PPP. In an interview on Geo News show ‘Naya Pakistan’, Khokhar said that he had a good run with the party but to continue further “is compromising on my self-respect”.

However, he refused to provide any specifics, saying it was no use delving into the past.



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