PTI steps up efforts to build political capital

Published April 2, 2023
PTI's Shah Mahmood Qureshi meets MWM leaders on Saturday. —PTI/Twitter
PTI's Shah Mahmood Qureshi meets MWM leaders on Saturday. —PTI/Twitter

ISLAMABAD: As the government and top court lock horns over the formation of a bench to hear the case about a delay in elections, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) stepped up contacts with political parties to take them into confidence over political and economic turmoil as well as a tiff between the judiciary and the top court.

PTI President Parvez Elahi, on the instructions of party chairman Imran Khan, telephoned leaders of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) — currently a part of the ruling coalition, though with some reservations — including convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Mustafa Kamal, and former Karachi mayor Wasim Akhtar, reported Express News. Mr Elahi also contacted the son of Pakistan Awami Tehreek chief Tahirul Qadri.

Meanwhile, in Islamabad, PTI Senior Vice President Shah Mahmood Qureshi engaged Majlis Wahdat-i-Muslimeen.

Both parties stressed the need to bring all the democratic political forces on a joint platform to protect the supremacy of the Constitution and independence of the judiciary by thwarting the “unconstitutional” actions of the Pakistan Democratic Movement. They agreed to hold joint efforts to ensure the supremacy of the Constitution and the independence of the judiciary.

Party leaders approach MQM, MWM leaders; Fawad threatens to put critical journalists ‘on a list’

In a joint press conference after the meeting, both parties claimed that the incumbent government was “deliberately avoiding elections” due to a lack of popular support. MWM chief Nasir Abbas claimed that the government wanted a Supreme Court bench of its choice and added that the PML-N had a habit of getting decisions that favour the party.

In a reference to the delay in polls, Mr Qureshi said that there was no doubt that the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) had given the 1973 Constitution but the party has been silent regarding the current situation. “Asif Zardari and Bilawal Bhutto are not giving any statements but there are some voices, such as Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan and Latif Khosa, speaking against it. I don’t know why other personalities, such as Raza Rabbani, are silent over it,” he said while referring to alleged unconstitutional actions of the ruling coalition.

The PTI leader stated that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) violated the Constitution by giving Oct 8 date for the election. Lashing out at Nawaz Sharif, Mr Qureshi stated that the former premier allegedly abrogated the Constitution by threatening not to accept the Supreme Court’s decision.

The PTI leader said that the nation was looking towards the Supreme Court judges and wanted to see if “they [judges] will follow in the footsteps of Justice Alvin Robert Cornelius or Justice Munir”. He, however, added that the entire nation was standing with the chief justice.

About the government crackdown against PTI social media activists, he said that PTI social media workers Arshad Siddiqui, Mudassar Rehman, Fahad Siddiqui, and Salman Sahil were picked up from Karachi.

Meanwhile, in a tweet, former information minister and PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry accused a private media outlet of “running a campaign against the judiciary”.

“Journalists associated with Geo News are currently working day and night against the Supreme Court. In addition to them, there are journalists associated with a certain WhatsApp group who are running a paid company [sic] against the judges,” the PTI leader said, adding that his party was preparing a “list” of the journalists linked to this alleged group.

Published in Dawn, April 2nd, 2023

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