PTI may defer Raiwind sit-in

Source: Published in Politics on Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) may defer its sit-in outside Sharif’s residence in Raiwind because of some problems within the party, a senior party leader told Dawn on condition of anonymity.

He said as the chairman had dissolved the party organisation for the intra-party elections, the organisational setup did not exist to mobilise public for the sit-in.

Besides, there is a division within the party over the protest. “In Punjab, Chaudhry Sarwar and Aleem Khan are not supporting the sit-in,” he said.

On the other hand, he said, the 27-member committee headed by Shah Mehmood Qureshi to get support of the opposition could not convince the political parties for the sit-in.

He said the party lacked funds for public mobilization campaign for the protest.

The senior PTI leader said even in Lahore, the host city of the event, there is a rift among party workers which was evident during the NA-122 by-election.

“Some workers even did not support the party candidate,” he said.

The senior leader said Imran Khan would take the final decision with regard to postponement of the sit-in.

The likelihood is that the PTI chairman will ask the part leaders at district level to launch agitation in their respective areas to increase pressure on the government.

Two other options are also under consideration. “If the party fails to stage protest outside Parliament House because of the ban on public meeting at D-Chowk, it may stage a sit-in either outside the Punjab Assembly or the Punjab Chief Minister House,” he said.

However, he said Imran Khan would announce future strategy on April 24 founding day gathering at F-9 Park.

On Monday, the party chairman while chairing a meeting of local MNAs and MPAs at Bani Gala avoided discussing the sit-in and focused on organising April 24 event at Fatima Jinnah Park, sources told Dawn.

While quoting Imran Khan, the sources said he (Imran Khan) insisted on making April 24 gathering successful.

When contacted, PTI spokesman Naeemul Haq said the Monday meeting was restricted to discussing arrangements for April 24 founding day gathering at Fatima Jinnah Park and did not take up the Raiwind sit-in.

“Shah Mehmood Qureshi was tasked to draw support for the party to stage sit-in outside Raiwind and he will brief Imran Khan on April 19 about his meetings with the opposition parties,” he said.

He said that final decision of sit-in would be made in the light of Qureshi led committee report.

However, he said that it was clear that the party would raise the Panama leaks issue at all public forums including the parliament and streets.

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