Mahmood Khan Achakzai
Mahmood Khan Achakzai

QUETTA: Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) on Monday held a rally against the raid on the residence of its chairman Mahmood Khan Achakzai, and announced a shutterdown strike today (Tuesday).

PTI, which has named Mr Achakzai as its presidential candidate, also condemned Sunday night’s action.

The Quetta district administration claimed to have recovered a piece of government-owned land, “illegally occupied” by the PkMAP chairman, during the raid.

PkMAP leaders and supporters have dismissed the claims and held a rally in Quetta to protest against the raid.

The lawyers’ community also observed a strike and did not appear in district courts as a protest.

PTI condemns Sunday night’s action by district administration

A large number of workers and supporters, carrying party flags, placards and banners, participated in the rally, which was led by PkMAP central leaders Dr Hamid Khan Achakzai, Lala Rauf and Abdul Qahar Wadan.

The participants gathered at the Bacha Khan Chowk, where the party leaders addressed the crowd.

They condemned the raid on the residence of Mr Acha­k­zai and claimed he was targeted for his last week’s speech in the National Assembly.

They added that Mr Achakzai is a presidential candidate and deserves presidential protocol instead of raids on his residence.

The party leaders denied the administration’s claim that Mr Achakzai had illegally occupied government land.

They claimed that the land was legally allotted and claimed to have complete documentation.

PkMAP leaders claimed that the district administration wanted “to shed blood”, but the restraint shown by the party foiled the conspiracy.

PTI condmens raid

While talking to the media outside the Parliament House on Monday, PTI leader Ali Muhammad Khan also condemned the raid on Mr Achakzai’s home.

He said his party is supporting the PkMAP chief as its candidate for president to eliminate the establishment’s role in politics.

Politics should be left to politicians, the PTI leader said.

“The nation and PTI stand by the armed forces, but we have a stance that the country should be run as per the Constitution,” the PTI leader said, adding that Mr Achakzai also has the same stance.

“The country’s issues should be addressed in the parliament. Imran Khan and Mahmood Khan Achakzai have been saying this,” Mr Khan said, and claimed that in the past Nawaz Sharif and Asif Zardari also said this, but “they have changed their narratives”.

Last week, PTI announced support for Mr Achakzai to contest the upco­ming presidential election on March 9 against PPP’s Asif Ali Zardari.

The nomination came only a day after the Baloch nationalist leader delivered a forceful speech in the National Assembly against the alleged role of the military establishment in politics and in support of the jailed PTI founder, Imran Khan.

With Mr Achakzai by his side outside the Parliament House, Mr Khan said Pakistan’s issues should be addressed through a debate inside parliament.

While replying to a question about the PTI founder’s derogatory remarks against Mr Achakzai in the past, the PTI leader said if political parties move in circles, 250 million people will suffer.

Mr Khan claimed that the PTI will hold talks with other political parties if they agree with its narrative.

He added that during his party’s government from 2018 to 2022, Imran Khan made Asad Qaiser the National Assembly speaker.

“Now Imran Khan has decided to nominate a person from Balochistan [Mr Achakzai] as a presidential candidate. It will send a message to the people of the province that they are not worthless,” he said.

He said PTI disagreed with Mr Achakzai in the past but has supported him in eliminating the establishment’s role in politics.

Ikram Junaidi in Islamabad also contributed to this report

Published in Dawn, March 5th, 2024

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