ISLAMABAD - The matter of PTI’s May11 protest rally dominated the National Assembly proceeding on Thursday, as the second largest opposition party requested the government not to create any hurdle in their way, while the government assured its cooperation but expressed doubts on PTI intentions at the same time.
The House witnessed arguments both in favour and against the May 11 show, as the remaining order of the day was completely ignored with the start of heated discussion on upcoming PTI rally. Though the government side has ostensibly given consent to opposition party for organising a ‘peaceful protest’ but it also cast doubts on PTI’s ‘behind the scene’ agenda. Taking the floor, PTI chief Imran Khan made it clear to government benches that his party has no plan to derail democratic system in the country. “Impression is being created that we want to derail democracy,” he said, adding that they were in fact in favour of strengthening democratic system in the country.
Khan urged government to permit PTI to hold their peaceful rally on May 11, as it was their democratic right. “I request government not to create any hurdle in their peaceful protest. Hurdles in the way of rally would be undemocratic.”
Responding to the concerns raised by Imran Khan, Interior Minister Ch Nisar Ali Khan said they permit PTI for holding a ‘peaceful protest on May 11’. “It is democratic right of all the parties but rally should be held in a democratic way,” he said. “A protest’s power could be judged from the number of participants” and no specific key place was required for it,” he said.
The incumbent government was ready to sit with the opposition to bring electoral reforms, Nisar said. He also pointed out the appointment of Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) before general elections was carried out in consultations with parties inside and outside the parliament. “PTI was in the forefront to propose the name of Fakhru Bhai for the slot of CEC.”
Railways Minister Khwaja Saad Rafique was a bit critical of opposition party over their holding a protest rally at this juncture.
“I challenged the facts and statistic of Imran Khan, as it is easy to level blame but hard to establish it,” he said, adding that PTI’s has levelled allegations without proof. He also went to cast doubts on the intentions of PTI behind its May11 show.
“The verification of (votes) in these four constituencies is just an excuse, as there are some other motives behind it,” he said, adding that there was no need to dictate judiciary. “You come up with proof, (and if the allegations are proved) I will leave the House,” he challenged. He proposed to form a fact-finding committee comprising members from all political parties to probe into allegations of rigging in May 2013 elections. “We are also want this issue to be settled at the earliest, as we are being maligned,” he maintained.
Saad Rafique said they also want verification of votes in four constituencies: NA-56, won by PTI Imran Khan by defeating PML-N’s Haneef Abbasi; NA-55, won by Sheikh Rashid Ahmed of AML; NA-126 (Lahore), won by Shafqat Mehmood of PTI; and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa constituency of Chief Minister Parvez Khattak.
The fact-finding committee should investigate votes in the four constituencies proposed by PTI and above said four constituencies proposed by him, he added.
The back-to-back attacks by Khwaja Saad apparently prompted PTI chief to make a bid for settling the score but NA Speaker Ayaz Sadiq took no time to adjourn the House.
Imran Khan, who rose up in his seat, to give answer to PML-N’s attacks was apparently annoyed over speaker’s move to abruptly adjourn the House. However, both the parties held press conferences outside the parliament house to further elaborate their points.