ISLAMABAD: The top leadership of PTI on Friday accused the government of resorting to fascist tactics against the party, and predicted that ‘the system’ was going to collapse soon.

The leaders also expressed apprehensions over a perceived threat to former premier Imran Khan’s life in prison.

They were speaking at a news conference held at the site of the party’s central secretariat, which was demolished by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) a day earlier for violating building by-laws.

Talking to the media after a meeting of the PTI’s Core Com­mittee, Chairman Barrister Gohar Ali Khan alleged that CDA had violated the sanctity of the party’s central secretariat by invading it.

“In a democracy, the central office of a party is sanctified,” he stated, adding, “The operation was aimed at creating obstacles for us and as a result I had to hold the party’s Core Committee meeting on the road.”

Gohar says IHC moved against razing of party office; PML-N legislators term CDA action as per law; Qaiser rejects military’s demand for apology

He said that a new wave of persecution of PTI was aimed at diverting the attention from ‘Dubai Leaks’ — the disclosure of purchase of properties in the UAE city worth billions of dollars by Pakistani citizens — but this issue would not go down so easily and the culprits would have to present their money trail.

Flanked by Opposition Leader in National Assembly Omar Ayub, Raoof Hassan, Shibli Faraz, Latif Khosa, Firdous Shamim Naqvi, and Ali Muhammad Khan, Barrister Gohar said the party has filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court against the CDA’s action and the case would be taken up on May 27.

Mr Ayub said that the action by the CDA and the government has led to the start of ‘intifada’ for the restoration of true democracy.

“We will continue our struggle against the system till the goals are achieved,” he added.

Earlier, during a media talk at Khyber Pakhtunkhwa House, Raoof Hassan said they had been enduring the “state tyranny” for the past two years but nothing could dampen the courage and spirit of PTI leaders and workers.

He claimed that Imran Khan had expressed concerns about his life being in danger, and now it seems that is becoming a reality.

He said that when the offices of a political party are shut, non-state actors get an opportunity.

PML-N rejects PTI claim

PML-N MNAs Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry and Anjum Aqeel defended the CDA action, saying the authorities had acted in accordance with law.

During a media talk at the National Press Club, Mr Chaudhary said that the first notice to PTI was issued by the CDA in 2020 while the last one on May 10. He pointed out that the second floor of the PTI’s secretariat was built without approval, adding that containers and parking sheds were also encroachments. He alleged that PTI was telling lies and trying to fool the general public.

After giving references of the CDA’s policies, he said the authority had decided to ban offices and business activities in residential areas. “CDA gave the PML-N a notice too to close our office and we vacated it. The party did not pressurise its government and shifted its offices,” the MNA added.

No apology

Separately, the PTI rejected the military spokesman’s demand for an apology over the May 9 violent incidents.

In an interview with DawnNews’ Nadir Guramani, senior PTI leader Asad Qaiser even termed the demand for an apology ‘unconstitutional’. He said there was no question of tendering an apology.

In a news conference earlier this month, ISPR chief Lt Gen Ahmed Sharif Chaudhry had asserted that PTI leadership should apologise over the incidents of May 9.

The MNA said his party should not have formed a “weak” government in the wake of 2018 elections. He also said his party should not have dissolved assemblies.

Mr Qaiser said that PTI would challenge the defamation law passed by the Punjab Assembly recently.

Published in Dawn, May 25th, 2024

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