PTI, PAT considering allowing marchers to go home before Eid

Source: Published in Current Affairs on Thursday, September 25, 2014

The leadership of the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) and the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) are planning to allow participants of the sit-ins to go home before Eidul Azha. A senior PAT leader said the recent announcement by the party chief regarding extension of the movement against the PML-N government to other parts of the country was part of the strategy to allow participants to go home before Eid-

“The PAT leadership was expecting the prime minister to resign, dissolve the assembly and call for re-elections within a week due to pressure from the sit-ins but when the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) decided to support the government and the democratic system this became a dream,” the PAT leader said.

Know more:Women at Pakistan Awami Tehreek sit-in eager to go home

A senior member of the PAT central working council (CWC) added that the party leadership believed that while it had not been easy for the participants to stay in the capital for over a month the circumstances could take a turn for the worse if the party leadership failed to take initiative for the safe return of the marchers.

Prolonged sit-ins compel leaders to relieve sit-in participants of hardships

“The number of people at the sit-ins is decreasing due to different reasons such as spread of different diseases among the participants due to unhygienic conditions on Constitution Avenue. The unpredictable pattern of monsoon rains, the marchers’ inability to take extended leaves from schools and workplaces as well as floods in various districts of rural Punjab, from where PAT draws most of its support, are the other reasons. The party is also considering the option of a court arrest movement to put pressure on the government,” the CWC member said.

When contacted, PAT spokesman Umar Riaz Abbasi said the party leadership was aware of the hardships faced by the participants. He said the recent announcement by Dr Qadri to take the protests to other parts of the country was taken keeping in view the hardships of the marchers.“Of course, the PAT leadership will consider other options to put pressure on the government if it did not fulfill our demands.”

Mr Abbasi said the deadlock between the government and PAT continued but whenever dialogue resumes the party would try to force the government to ask the chief minister Punjab to resign over the Model Town incident on June 17.

He also said the participants of the sit-ins had succeeded in raising awareness among the people about their rights and this was a big achievement for PAT.

A senior member of the PTI core committee said a large number of participants from the twin cities attended the sit-ins on the weekend while some PTI supporters were staying in hostels and guesthouses in the twin cities.

The PTI leader said while the number of PTI supporters staying day and night at the D-Chowk was limited, it was difficult for the party workers to stay in rented rooms for long.

He said that it seemed unlikely that the PML-N government would easily fulfill the demands of the PTI and the announcement of the PTI chief to extend the movement to other parts of the country was part of the party’s strategy.

He added that the party was also concerned about the expenses incurred at the sit-in over the last few weeks.

When contacted, PTI MNA Asad Umar told Dawn that at a recent meeting the party leadership discussed the idea of allowing the participants from outside the twin cities to go home before Eid.

The MNA said the party leadership had decided to take a final decision after its public gathering in Lahore on Sunday.

“It’s possible that the PTI chief may decide to address supporters from the twin cities in the evening on the first day of Eid,” the MNA added.