There was no breakthrough in the deadlock between the government and protesting parties – the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) – on Thursday as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif dug in his heels over the calls for his resignation and fresh elections, while PTI Chairman Imran Khan reiterated his resolve of not backing down from his demand of Sharif’s resignation even if it meant staging a sit-in in the federal capital for a year.
The prime minister also ruled out complete audit of the 2013 election, saying it was not possible under the law as well as the constitution. He said he had also fulfilled his commitment of not doing politics of 90s, as neither anyone was implicated falsely nor any party’s mandate was stolen.
Earlier in the day, the PTI and PAT leaderships decided to call off talks with the federal government in protest of what they claimed to be the government’s efforts to prevent movement in Red Zone and initiating a crack down on their workers across Punjab.
PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi told reporters that the party had decided to suspend negotiations until the government stopped the “crackdown against party workers” and registered an FIR against the PML-N supporters who protested in front of his house in Multan.
PTI Chairman Imran Khan had earlier claimed that the government had arrested over 4,000 PTI workers.
In his addresses during the day, PAT’s Qadri claimed that the government was actively working to prevent supplies from reaching the protesters.
Calling the current government “a pack of killers”, a charged Qadri said his supporters were both “hungry and thirsty” and were allegedly only being supported by civil society and some parties. He also alleged that the government would try to poison the crowd by sending spoilt food.
All stories on Azadi March and Inquilab March since their inception on August 14 can be found here and here, respectively.
Below are the updates for Friday’s happenings , Day 9 of the protest rallies in Islamabad:
Zardari tasks Shah to help end deadlock
PPP central executive committee met with PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari in Karachi where opposition leader in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah was tasked by his leader to attempt to defuse the political impasse.
It was decided in the meeting that PPP would back the government in the Parliament and would not support any unconstitutional step.
Zardari has summoned a meeting of PPP Punjab chapter on Saturday.
Speaker to examine PTI resignations on Monday
Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq on Monday will examine resignations of PTI MNAs submitted to Secretary National Assembly Muhammad Riaz, reports Radio Pakistan.
Meanwhile, Jamaat-e-Islami Ameer Sirajul Haq has appealed PTI to take back its resignations.
PM invites Zardari for lunch
PM Sharif has made contact with former president and Pakistan Peoples Party leader Asif Ali Zardari and invited him for a lunch at his Raiwind Residence on Saturday.
Zardari accepted the invitation.
The two leaders, accompanied by their party stalwarts will be discussing the current political situation.
PTI resumes talks with govt
PTI core committee has decided to resume talks with the government.
The core committee met at the top of PTI chief Imran Khan’s container and discussed their plan of action and decided to resume talks to end the political deadlock.
PTI to hand over resignations:
PTI MNAs arrived at the Parliament House to submit their resignations to the speaker at around 3:00 PM.
Before leaving for the lower house, PTI’s Vice-Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that the decision to resign from the parliament was taken in a core committee meeting.
The committee will be meeting shortly to discuss further plan of action, he said.
Achakzai can’t sleep:
MNA Mehmood Khan Achakzai, while speaking to media, said that he has been having sleepless nights because of the loud music played by PTI at its sit-ins across the Parliament Lodges.
” I can’t sleep all night,” he said while stressing the government to remove the protestors by Monday.
Rehman tells govt to ask Zardari for assistance
PPP Senator Rehman Malik urged for talks to defuse political tension while talking to media in Karachi.
He said that there were no serious efforts by government and protesting parties to hold pisitive talks to avoid a clash.
All parties ‘will be responsible if the situation worsen’, he added.
He also advised that the government should contact PPP leader Asif Zardari to for playing a role in decreasing the political temperature soon.
Meanwhile, Zardari, after his arrival in Pakistan on Thursday, has began contacting politicians including Maulana Fazl-u-Rehman, Mehmood Khan Achakzai, Sirajul Haq to discuss the current political scenario.
‘Wicket on a no ball’:
Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said that Imran Khan wants to earn a wicket on a ‘no ball’.
Talking to media in Lahore,CM said that Khan’s unconstitutional demands will lead him to a political suicide.
He said that the PTI chief was damaging the country as well as democracy by his protest in Islamabad.
“Not only is he a bad politician, he is a bad sportsman too”, he added.
Senate passes resolution backing democracy
A resolution favouring the supremacy of the constitution and Parliament was unanimously adopted by the Senate,a local news channel reported.
The resolution was tabled by Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Senator Saeed Ghani.
The resolution termed the demand for PM Nawaz Sharif’s resignation and dissolution of the Parliament as unconstitutional and called for continuance of the current democratic system.
Speaking in the senate, PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar said that two violent mobs had laid siege to the Parliament and are using derogatory language against the Parliamentarians.
“Tommorrow militant groups can storm Islamabad and demand control over Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal”, he said.
Section 144 invoked in Multan
The government invoked Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure for two days in Multan, citing ‘security concerns’, following the call of PTI chief Imran Khan for country-wide sit-ins.
The notification was issued by the District Coordination Officer Zahid Saleem Gondal.
Multan is considered a stronghold og PTI, with two of its leaders, Makhdoom Javed Hashmi and Makhdoon Shah Mehmood Qureshi hail from the city.
Fazl announces protest against PTI, PAT
Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (F) announced to hold a countrywide protest against the sit-ins by PAT and PTI, a private news channel reported.
According to a JUI-F spokesman, the protest demonstrations would be held after Jumma prayers.
JUI-F chief Maulana Fazl Urrehman had earlier stated that Imran Khan and Dr. Tahirul Qadri are blackmailing the democracy through their sit-ins outside Parliamen.
“All issues should be resolved in line with the Constitution”he said during his speech at the National Assembly on Friday.
Khan, Qadri submit replies to court
Imran Khan, through his counsel Hamid Khan, submitted a written reply to the Supreme Court, stating that the PTI sit-in in front of the Parliament House is lawful and according to articles 4, 9, 15, 16 and 17 of the constitution of Pakistan.
He assured that his workers would remain peaceful and pleaded to the court to issue orders for removal of containers blocking entry and exit points of Islamabad.
PAT Chief Dr. Tahirul Qadri also submitted a written reply to the country.
He stated that the protest by PAT does not aim to derail democracy but to strengthen it.
He added that the protest is in accordance with article 16 of the constitution and in line with international practices.
Qadri also urged the court not to interfere in a political issue which may harm the reputation of the judiciary.
A five-member larger bench comprising of Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk, Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja, Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa and Justice Mushir Alam is hearing the case filed on a plea by
president of the Supreme Court Bar Association, Kamran Murtaza.
Murtaza’s plea stated that extra constitutional steps are likely to be taken by state functionaries that can possibly violate citizen’s rights.
U.S. denies role in mediation
United States Thursday denied having any role in the mediation between Pakistan government and the political parties staging mass protests in a bid to dislodge Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, reported a local news channel.
“We’re monitoring the demonstrations. Obviously, we think there should be a space in Pakistan for peaceful expression of views. So it’s something we’re looking at”, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters during a daily media briefing.
“Any suggestion to the contrary is completely false. So we’re watching it, but we do think that there needs to be peaceful dialogue and no attempts to change Pakistan’s government through extra-constitutional maneuvers”, Harf said further.