Gohar warns against pushing PTI to ‘point of no return’

Published January 22, 2024
Former PTI chairman Barrister Gohar Ali Khan speaks to VOA Urdu. — VOA Urdu
Former PTI chairman Barrister Gohar Ali Khan speaks to VOA Urdu. — VOA Urdu

Former PTI chairman Barrister Gohar Ali Khan has said that those in power should realise that the party has been subjected to a lot already and shouldn’t be pushed to the point of no return.

In an interview with Voice of America Urdu, Mr Gohar said “vengeful acti­ons” against PTI have not abated even after the start of the election process.

“Those in power must realise that enough is enough now. Don’t push us to the point of no return,” he said in the interview published on Sunday. Mr Gohar held a conciliatory tone and expressed his party’s willingness to engage in dialogue and work together with their rivals.

He added that the power of a ruler and dictator is destined to end, but this country, people and democracy will stay. “If this is realised, we can forget differences and move forward.”

He warned that a third force could “exploit the situation” if differences are not resolved.

“If you pick a fight with the country’s largest party and don’t allow it to participate in the democratic process, then will this be called a democratic country?”

When asked to elaborate on his statement, he said some institutions are against the party and were, therefore, aiding PTI’s rivals.

While he contended that no institution had contacted the party, nor have they contacted anyone, Mr Gohar added that PTI founding chairman Imran Khan is willing to talk to everyone for a free and fair election.

He complained that ECP had only filed a case against PTI’s foreign funding and intra-party elections.

“On one hand, Nawaz Sharif was brought back and acquitted of all cases to make him eligible for elections. On the other, PTI’s founding chairman was booked in all sorts of cases, including treason.”

Talking about the loss of PTI’s ‘bat’ symbol, he told VOA Urdu that his party had been deprived of 227 reserved seats since it is contesting the election without a symbol.

“Even if those who win as independent candidates join PTI after elections, the party will be at a huge loss during the election for the president, prime minister and Senate due to the loss of reserved seats.”

‘COAS appointment’

The PTI ex-chairman denied his party had tried to sabotage the army chief’s appointment and added that any leader’s statement on this matter is their personal opinion. According to Mr Gohar, the party’s founding chairman didn’t pick a fight with the army and has even tried to shun this impression.

Talking about the Supreme Court’s decision regarding PTI’s ‘bat’ symbol, Mr Gohar said the party is waiting for the detailed order, after which an intra-court appeal would be filed.

“There are legal gaps in the order, and the party would also contend that a larger bench, and not a three-member bench, should hear constitutional matters.”

He clarified that Mr Khan has complete faith in the Supreme Court.

He vowed not to leave the field as it would allow PTI’s rivals to come together in the assembly. “It’s better for the party to struggle while being in the assembly than remaining outside for five years.”

He added that after the elections, PTI would work with other parties for the betterment of the country and reposed faith in the party’s candidates, hoping they wouldn’t switch loyalties after winning.

Mr Gohar called for a general amnesty for PTI leaders and workers allegedly involved in the May 9 attacks and added that if that doesn’t happen, a commission should be formed to probe the allegations.

“There should be an investigation, and only after the approval of a judicial commission should a suspect be arrested and sentenced.”

He said there shouldn’t be any attempts to break the party due to this incident. PTI, as a party, is not involved in any anti-state activity, he added.

Published in Dawn, January 22nd, 2024

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