The Nation: PTI, PAT make their connection known

February 07, 2013

LAHORE – Amid uncertainty about the timing of the next polls, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the Pakistan Awami Tehrik (PAT) have agreed to launch a joint mass movement if the ruling coalition failed to form a neutral caretaker setup and reconstitute the Election Commission. They also sought immediate solution to the president’s dual office issue, The Nation has learnt.

Sources in PTI told this correspondent that the joint protest would be led by PTI.

Senior PTI leaders, Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi, President Javed Hashmi and Vice President Ijaz Chaudhry, met PAT and TMQ chief Dr Tahirul Qadri at his residence on the directions of PTI Chairman Imran Khan. They said the PTI leadership had taken the responsibility of mustering support of likeminded parties, especially members of defunct All Parties Democratic Movement (APDM) for launching a mass movement.

In a revelation, the PAT leadership told the visiting PTI leaders that members of the ruling coalition belonging to Punjab could support them in case of a mass protest drive.

PTI sources claimed their party would form an opposition alliance similar to the Pakistan National Alliance (PNA) if the ruling coalition continued their bids to rig the next elections through partial caretakers, failed to empower Election Commission and did not resolve president’s dual office issue.

Meanwhile, talking to the media after meeting the PTI leadership, PAT Chairman Dr Tahirul Qadri said both the parties were on the same page over the issues of a neutral caretaker setup and reconstitution of the Election Commission as fair and transparent elections were not possible in the absence of an independent caretaker government and election commission.

Qadri said, “We – both parties – want implementation of the Constitution in letter and spirit and will not let anyone derail the democratic process and delay the next elections.” He said his party would file a petition regarding the reconstitution of the Election Commission in the Supreme Court on Thursday (today), while the effort was appreciated and supported by the PTI. He said forces of change must unite against the forces of status quo, adding PAT and PTI both were waging a war against the status quo forces.

Replying to a query regarding PTI support to PAT’s rallies, Qadri said that it would be the sole show of the PAT, however both the parties would hold a meeting in the near future over the issue.

PTI’s Shah Mehmood Qureshi said both the parties shared the same reservations over the working of the Election Commission and constitution of a caretaker setup. He claimed neither PTI nor PAT wanted to derail democracy or delay the elections; they just wanted steps to ensure fair polls acceptable to all the parties whether sitting in the Parliament or not. To a question regarding the PAT petition on reconstitution of the Election Commission, he said it was a good step and the PTI supported it.

Javed Hashmi said, “The long march was a programme of the people believing in change and we met Tahirul Qadri to know about his future line of action.”

He said, “Both the parties will struggle against the rotten system till its end to bring a real change in the country.”

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