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PTI, JI to participate in PML-N march to ECP

January 27, 2013

Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan.—File Photo

LAHORE: The Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) and the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) have agreed to join the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in a protest march outside the Parliament House in Islamabad.

The PML-N, the main opposition party in the National Assembly, had called for a protest march to demand greater empowerment of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in order to give it a free hand to ensure free and fair elections.

“We will stage a march from Parliament House to the ECP office to demand empowerment of the commission (to enable it to accomplish its task without any pressure),” PML-N leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had told reporters in Raiwind on Saturday.

The PML-N demands that caretaker governments in in Sindh and Balochistan provinces be appointed with the consultation of opposition parties, and that governors of all four provinces be replaced with ‘non-political’ ones before the upcoming general elections.

At a conference in Lahore attended by political and religious parties on Sunday, leaders from the PTI and JI extended their support for the protest.

Speaking at the conference, PTI chief Imran Khan said that his party would support all those who would strive to further strengthen the election commission. Moreover, Khan warned that there would be a nation-wide protest if his party was not consulted for appointment of the caretaker prime minister.

Khan said he was not sure if his party would participate under the PML-N leadership, but ensured that “the PTI will be part of the protest.”

Earlier, Secretary General for the JI, Liaquat Baloch, also expressed support for the march on behalf of his party, and said that his party would fully participate in the protest.

Moreover, Baloch said that any agreement or negotiations between Tahirul Qadri Pakistan Awami Tehrik (PAT) and the federal government have no legal standing.