PTI to launch movement on Aug 7

Source: Published in Current Affairs on Monday, August 1, 2016

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) announced on Sunday its plan to launch a ‘movement for accountability’ from Peshawar on Aug 7.

Addressing the party’s top leaders at his residence in Bani Gala, PTI chairman Imran Khan said the movement would be a turning point in the political history of the country. “It [seeks] to make the corrupt elite of the country accountable before courts of law, [which is] the only way to strengthen genuine democracy in the country,” he was quoted as saying.

During the meeting, party leaders decided that Mr Khan would lead a rally in a city every Sunday. “Imran Khan will be spearheading party workers who will set off from the PTI-ruled city of Peshawar and head towards Punjab,” party spokesperson Naeemul Haq told Dawn.

He said the movement would continue until Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif presented himself before a court for accountability in the context of the Panama Papers leaks about offshore wealth.

At the same time, Mr Haq added, the party would be following up on its petition, filed before the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), challenging the prime minister for hiding his assets. The next hearing on the matter is due on Friday.

Moreover, he said, the party’s legal experts were mulling the option of taking the prime minister to the Supreme Court.

Party meeting reviews legal options against PM

“Alongside fighting the case at legal forums, we will build public pressure against the prime minister by holding rallies. Of course, if the ECP or the Supreme Court takes action against the prime minister for his alleged involvement in money laundering in the meantime, there will no longer be any reason for the movement to continue,” Mr Haq said.

Ishaq Khakwani, who was recently given the responsibility of organising the party in south Punjab as its regional president, said the PTI had decided to launch the movement through a consensus.

He said the PTI wasn’t hitting the roads just to seek votes, but to highlight the critical issue of corruption. “The only purpose of this movement is to make the people aware of just how involved in corruption our elites are, and who needs to be held accountable,” Mr Khakwani said.

However, others in the party have apprehensions over whether this is the right time to launch the movement. A PTI leader said that if they eventually were to agree on a judicial commission, then why launch this movement in the first place.

What if, tomorrow, the ECP ruled against the PTI’s petition or the Supreme Court didn’t accept the party’s argument against the prime minister, the leader wondered, highlighting the potential pitfalls the party leadership could face in the days to come.

Another leader who was not in favour of the movement until the party had exhausted all legal and parliamentary options, said: “We have decided to attend the meeting of the parliamentary committee on the terms of reference (ToR) of an inquiry into the Panama Papers issue and the announcement to hold a rally will leave a bad taste in [the government’s] mouth.”

However, since Mr Khan was all for this movement, everybody fell in line, he said.

According to a press statement released after the meeting, participants also discussed the nominations of party office-bearers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh, which will be made over the next couple of days. After the postponement of party elections, the posts at various tiers are being filled through nominations.

Supreme Court lawyer and TV personality Naeem Bokhari also attended the meeting and, according to a participant, made a detailed presentation over the chances of success if the party decided to move the court against the prime minister, saying he was in favour of filing the petition.

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Written by Khawar Ghumman

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