PTI’s Omar Ayub hinges talks with return of ‘stolen seats’, quashing Imran’s cases

Published May 17, 2024
Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Omar Ayub speaks in an interview on Friday. — DawnNewsTV
Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Omar Ayub speaks in an interview on Friday. — DawnNewsTV

Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Omar Ayub on Friday stated that any talks with “Form-47 parties”, referring to the PPP, PML-N and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), would be dependent on the return of the PTI’s “stolen seats” and the quashing of cases against party founder Imran Khan.

Since the aftermath of the February 8 general elections, the PTI has claimed that the Form 47s of 18 National Assembly seats allegedly won by the party were “falsely changed” by returning officers. The PTI alleges that it was winning “170 seats” according to the Form 45s.

Speaking in an interview with DawnNewsTV programme ‘Doosra Rukh’, Ayub was questioned on which stakeholder the PTI wanted talks with, to which he said: “The three parties — PPP, PML-N and MQM-P — are beneficiaries of Form 47 [manipulation] thus they should step back from that, return our stolen seats to us, quash Imran Khan’s cases and finish military trials of our people and then talks can be held with them.”

Ayub said the party wanted constitutional supremacy but the above three parties had come into power due to “discrepancies in Form 47 and undemocratic discrepancies which we reject”.

He reiterated that the PTI would be willing to hold talks if its “stolen mandate” was returned to it, hinting toward the stepping down of the incumbent government.

Questioned about the party’s previous willingness to hold talks with the PPP and PML-N after the PTI government’s ouster compared to now, Ayub said the situation was different then as “theft [of electoral mandate] due to Form 47 [manipulation] had not happened as it has now”.

He said the PTI laid the three parties, the caretaker government, the Election Commission of Pakistan and the chief election commissioner as responsible for the “robbery”.

The opposition leader called for a judicial commission to investigate the entire affair of the election, adding that it would also determine the establishment’s alleged role, if any, in the matter.

He also demanded the resignation of the chief election commissioner.

Questioned about any attempted contact with Imran or messages sent to him, or with PTI leaders, since the PTI founder was imprisoned, Ayub categorically said: “No. No there is nothing like this in my knowledge. No one has had any contact.”

The opposition leader also rebuffed PML-N Punjab President Rana Sanaullah’s offer of talks as being “non-serious”, saying that no confidence-building measures were first taken to demonstrate sincerity for negotiations.

Ayub also criticised PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari’s lashing of the PTI in Wednesday’s National Assembly session, saying he rejected the speech and that it did not befit a “serious politician who calls himself a party chairman”.

He predicted a further deterioration in the assembly’s affairs. “This is not a government but an unguided mob.”

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