In midst of crisis, Parliament speaks with one voice
Aitzaz extends unconditional support to democracy, govt
ISLAMABAD: In any Shakespearean tragedy, a soliloquy signifies a crucial point in the play: it usually comes when the hero is on the verge of committing to an act that will define him for the rest of his on-stage life.
So it was in Parliament on Tuesday that Javed Hashmi, the estranged Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leader, delivered a speech of his own that certainly put to rest all speculation about what side he is on.
Arriving in the National Assembly during a speech by Maulana Fazlur Rehman to a tremendous reception, Hashmi minced no words during his allotted speaking time on the floor of the house. He clarified that despite his differences with the party's high command, he was still PTI's democratically elected president.
Before the main event, however, the impassioned Aitzaz Ahsan took the government to task, moving from parables to specifics. He made it clear that his party is continuing to stand by the ruling party at great personal cost.
The speech from the opposition's side is technically supposed to come from the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly. But, perhaps taking advantage of his oratorical skills, Aitzaz was entrusted the task of making the opposition's views known. He recounted their many sins, from Model Town to administrative arrogance and urged the treasury benches to "do some soul-searching".
Other speeches, such as the ones from Fazlur Rehman, the MQM's Khalid Siddiqui and Mehmood Achakzai, were a mixed bag of criticism for both the government and the protesting parties, in roughly equal measure.
Chaudhry Nisar, however, was his droning self as he opened proceedings on Tuesday, repeating the same speech he has been making over the past few weeks. Indeed, his tale of the protesters' broken promises was only interrupted when he stopped to apologise to the media for the police highhandedness.
While the sincerity of the apology may be the stuff of speculation, it was clear that the interior minister was quite anxious and often slid over to an equally pensive PM during other speeches on the floor of the house.
For a joint-sitting, the attendance in the house was quite thin and among the notable absentees was also the chairman of the Senate.
But the session ended on a conciliatory note, as Nawaz Sharif shook hands with Javed Hashmi following the latter's tirade against the ruling party, indicating that there is still a great deal of mutual respect in both their hearts for each other.
But the real question is, will Parliamentary pleasantries translate into practical measures?
Nisar says sit-ins mutiny against state & Parliament
ISLAMABAD: Declaring protests and sit-in illegal, unconstitutional and mutiny against the state, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Tuesday sought guidance from the joint sitting of the Parliament to deal with the situation.
Opening discussion on prevailing political situation at the joint sitting of the Parliament, the Interior Minister said, both the protesting parties were violating all democratic and constitutional norms and also trying to involve Judiciary and Armed Forces in fulfillment of their nefarious designs.
He also sought from the joint sitting to probe as to who had allowed them to allege and create an impression that both these state institutions were patronizing them.
"The country is passing through the most sensitive situation in its history because some groups are storming state institutions in the name of democracy, rule of law and freedom of expression", he added.
"But this moment is also a historic moment because the Parliament stands united and is validly representing the aspirations of the people. Today the whole nation is looking towards us and the government seeks guidance from the Parliament to deal with this situation", Nisar said.
He said those protesting are quoting the examples of western democracy but they have repeatedly deceived the people and elected representatives by making false commitments as he also referred to three statements of Dr Qadri and Imran Khan who had challenged the writ of the government and integrity of the state.
About breaking promises, Nisar quoted numerous assertions of both Tahirul Qadri and Imran Khan during the course of protests and long march regarding allocation of space as well as keeping their protestors peaceful.
"I was repeatedly assured by political leaders that they will remain peaceful. But, I knew the reality that they will unite together and break their promises", he said.
Nisar said how it is possible that such situation could be tackled peacefully when the protestors had an agenda to create anarchy and challenge national integrity.
However, he said, he was advised by the Prime Minister that all political parties were in agreement that protestors will remain peaceful. Therefore, they should be allowed to march to Islamabad.
Some political parties had also stated that it will not be tolerated if they are not allowed while LHC also passed a verdict that these parties had a right to peaceful protest, he added. "This situation and solemn commitments by Imran Khan made me allow them but they deceived again and again".
"Now what is happening is known to all of the members. I deem these protests as mutiny against the state but seek guidance from the joint sitting if it sees it as democratic and political demonstration", Interior Minister said.
Secondly, he asked the House as to what legal and constitutional measures, the government should take to deal with this situation and what role the House could play.
Dilating on his third point, Chaudhry Nisar said, the claims of Javed Hashmi about Imran Khan's assertions during party meetings regarding backing of the Armed Forces and Judiciary cannot be ignored.
Let there be an investigation on this statement as to who had allowed Imran Khan to drag state institution into this conspiracy. - APP
Parliament should be on trial, not Imran, Hashmi tells joint session
Hashmi resigns as MNA
ISLAMABAD: In what ultimately was Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf president Javed Hashmi's resignation speech, the leader pulled no punches as he roundly criticised Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for neglecting Parliament, and PTI chairman Imran Khan for compromising it.
In the process, he reinforced his own stature as a dissident, loyal only to democracy, the Constitution, and the state, while reiterating that it isn't Imran Khan that should be scrutinised, but Parliament.
In a fiery half hour speech that was at times long winded, Hashmi hardly reserved his ire for one party, or one person in particular. In fact, his speech was a harsh reminder to the entire Parliament of the danger it is currently in.
Hashmi began with historic precedent. He talked about the abuse that Parliament had sustained over the years by military coups and despotic leaders. He talked about how Ghulam Muhammad, after dismissing the Constituent Assembly in 1954 "buried" Pakistan's first Constitution, "Pakistan's best," according to Hashmi.
He also displayed a fair degree of remorse over Pakistan's actions that eventually led to the creation of Bangladesh by implying that a strong Parliament ought to have accommodated Sheikh Mujibur Rehman, the leader of East Pakistan's Awami League.
But his anger was reserved for both, powers within Parliament and without. He issued a stern warning to the MNAs and Senators attending the joint session, including Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif himself.
"The system to make and break governments from the inside exists. It exists," he said to applause. He wasn't just referring to conspiracies, but the alleged neglect and frivolity with which parliamentarians, including the prime minister himself, have treated Parliament.
Banging on his desk in anger, he said, "In 14 months, why didn't the prime minister go to the Senate? Why didn't he go? [The senate] is not a joke."
"When you ignore the Senate, when you ignore the National Assembly, you're going to hear voices that say, 'bring the walls down'" Hashmi said, alluding to the protests that have engulfed the capital for the past few weeks.
"I told him, Khan Sahib, you've got the entire country standing on its feet. In two or three years, elections will be the solution. But you, you're suggesting we demolish first [forcing Nawaz to resign], and then come forward?"
"People ask me when I've spoken now and not before. I have been fighting against every fault that I have found in my party." After coming out strongly against Imran on Sunday, Hashmi all but ended his association with the PTI.
"When the people gathered outside to destroy these walls, I asked Khan Sahib. I asked him, 'how can you stand for this? Their demands are against what you stand for."
"Today's Parliament is not a parliament to solve people's problems. We just come here, take our seats and seize them," he said.
Ending with a flourish, he said, "I hand in my resignation. I'm going back to the Pakistani people."
PTI MPs to attend Parliament’s session today
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan on Tuesday told PTI's members of the National Assembly (MNAs) including vice chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi to go and have a blast on their last day in assembly on Wednesday by responding to the government's charge sheet against PTI 'point by point.'
"I and Benazir Bhutto have studied politics in Oxford together. I will tell you what the real and fake democracy is and why this struggle of ours is a decisive war and we have to win it", he said.
"Just figure out how much wealth they had before coming into power and how much they have now… Nawaz Sharif's wealth has touched the sky, rising year after year."
"We will tell in the assembly who is with the parliament and who is against it," he said.
Khan said that he would also meet a parliamentary negotiation team. "Our doors are open for talks. Siraj-ul-Haq will meet us with his team today," he said. The PTI leader, meanwhile, said that he would remain in his container unless his demands were accepted. - NNI
No advice for closure of any embassy in Islamabad: FO
ISLAMABAD: Foreign Office has clarified that no advice has been given to close any embassy in capital Islamabad in the wake of prevailing political crisis.
The FO spokesperson rebuffed the rumours that embassies in Islamabad have been asked for closure of operation due to the ongoing security situation due to protests, sit-ins and action of security personnel against protestors.
However, the spokespersons said that security agencies have been advised to make the security for the embassies.
The foreign office has suggested to all the embassies in the capital to be cautious in their staff movement, the spokesman added. - INP
Imran met Tahirul Qadri in London: Hashmi
ISLAMABAD: Javed Hashmi continues to make disclosures about Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan.
In an interview with Hamid Mir during the special edition of 'Capital Talk,' Hashmi said Imran Khan had travelled to London and held a meeting with Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Dr Tahirul Qadri.
Hashmi claimed there were discussions in PTI that former ISI chief Lt. General Shuja Pasha was active in Lahore.
Javed Hashmi further said that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervaiz Khattak informed Khan that provincial parliamentarians of the party would not be resigning. According to Hashmi, resignations were not given happily by Pakistan Awami Tehreek parliamentarians.
Hashmi was also critical of Imran Khan's call for the civil disobedience movement.
Nine cases against PTI, PAT leaders
ISLAMABAD: A total of nine cases of different natures have been registered against leaders and activists of PTI and PAT so far.
The charges include sedition, murder attempt and terrorism and officials earlier told media that more than 200 activists have already been arrested in Islamabad since Sunday night. - INP
Nisar apologises to media
ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Tuesday apologized to media for manhandling their representatives by police during tackling the protesters a couple of days back.
"This incident with media is condemnable and contemptible. Media is spirit of democracy. It is the media that conveys our voice to people", he said in his speech to joint sitting of the Parliament. - APP
Qadri, Imran appear together
ISLAMABAD: In a rare spectacle, Pakistan Awami Tehreek chief Tahiurl Qadri stood beside Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman Imran Khan atop a container to address PTI and PAT workers. The cleric said "We are not against democracy and the Constitution, we never negated democracy and constitution"
The firebrand PAT chief recalled Pakistan's political history, lamenting rulers' unwillingness to impalement the constitution.
He said that not a single article of the constitution had been implemented despite lapse of 41 years. "Our struggle is about implementation of first 40 articles of the Constitution," Qadri said.
Negotiation panel meets Imran, Qadri
ISLAMABAD: The negotiation committee comprising members of opposition parties have met Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman, Imran Khan before holding talks with Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) leader Tahirul qadri.
The negotiation panel, led by Jamaat-e-Islami Amir Sirajul Haq, comprises Rehman Malik, Liaquat Baloch, Hasil Bizenjo, Ghazi Gulab Jamal, Mian Aslam and Senator Kulsoom Perveen.
The committee first went to hold talks with Imran Khan in his container where their meeting only lasted for 10 minutes.
Later, the talks panel headed towards Tahirul Qadri for holding the negotiations.
The government has given full authority to the panel to engage the two protesting leaders in result-oriented talks.
Earlier, the contact among former president Asif Ali Zardari, Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) chief Sirajul Haq and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) vice chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Tuesday resulted in PTI's acceptance of government's dialogue offer.
Sirajul Haq and former Interior Minister Rehman Malik also agreed to resolve the conflict through dialogue.
The ongoing political crisis in the country led politicians to establish contact with each other in a bid to find a democratic solution acceptable to all stakeholders.
Zardari contacted Sirajul Haq for consultation. Siraj then contacted Shah Mehmood Qureshi. Sources revealed that both leaders agreed to resume dialogue.
Clashes claimed 54 lives, 45 were shot: Imran Khan
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman, Imran Khan alleged that 54 protesters have so far lost their lives and 45 of them had been shot.
Addressing the participants of Azadi March here in the Red Zone of the capital city on the 19th day of PTI's protest, Imran Khan said this kind of torture was not even witnessed in the eras of Ziaul Haq and Musharraf.
He said the political parties had ganged up in the Parliament and ruled out transparent democracy in the country sans accountability of those involved in the alleged rigging of the last year's general elections.
"Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is directly responsible for the rigging and that is why no investigation was conducted despite relentless demands," he alleged.
He maintained that eight relatives of Mehmood Khan Achakzai had been appointed on high ranking positions while his brother was made the Governor. "Achakzai is silent over the rigging because it benefited him a big time," he added.
Imran Khan said Akhtar Mengal is also crying rigging in Balochistan.
He said it is also a fact that all the Parliamentary parties have admitted that rigging did take place in elections of 2013.
The PTI chief asked Chaudhry Nisar what crime had he and the marchers committed for which the police came out with full force against them.
He said considered it beneath him to react to the statement of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F).
SC issues notices to all parliamentary parties
CJP refutes Javed Hashmi’s allegation
ISLAMABAD: Hearing a set of petitions against sit-ins by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) on the Constitution Avenue, the Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notices to all parliamentary parties as well as the PAT.
The notices were issued after petitioner Zulfiqar Naqvi pleaded to the court that all parliamentary parties be summoned so the deadlock can be resolved.
Notices have been issued to Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N), Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Awami National Party (ANP), Pakistan Muslim League - Quaid (PML-Q), Pakistan Muslim League - Zia (PML-Z), Balochistan National Party (BNP), Awami Muslim League (AML), All Pakistan Muslim League (APML), Qaumi Watan Party (QWP), Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMap), National Party (NP) and other parties in Parliament as well as PAT.
Tuesday's proceedings also saw Chief Justice Nasirul Mulk saying that while it was not his place to issue clarifications over allegations of bias, he had met with PTI chairman Imran Khan only once and that too along with the latter's counsel Hamid Khan and at a time when he was the acting chief election commissioner. Justice Mulk said Imran and Hamid had come to his office to discuss the idea of introducing biometric system of voting in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
"That was the only time we met," he said.
Javed Hashmi claims that Imran had said that "the current chief justice" had a favourable view of PTI and had agreed to ensure that power is taken from Nawaz Sharif.
Also during Tuesday's hearing, PAT's counsel Ali Zafar refused to submit proposals over what role the court should play in ending the current political impasse.
Zafar said his client's demands were of a political nature and it was not the court's place to interfere in political matters.
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