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Monday, July 15, 2024  
08 Muharram 1446  

PTI’s participation in APC still unclear

Ali Muhammad Khan says his party is ready to support decisions for national interest but questions arrest of party leaders
Kiya All Parties Conference main sari jamatain shirkat karaingi?| Rubaroo with Shaukat Piracha

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf would support every decision taken for the national interest, party leader Ali Muhammad Khan said. But, he questioned how it can be extended when their party leaders were being arrested late at night.

“We will stand if any decision is taken in the national interest,” he said when Shaukat Piracha asked him about the former ruling party response to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s invitation for participation in the All-Parties Conference (APC) in his show Rubaroo on Friday.

Khan had joined Awami National Party’s Zahid Khan and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s Senator Afnan Ullah Khan on the show to answer queries related to the APC and early elections.

PM Shehbaz announced his decision to call an APC on February 7 in Islamabad to discuss ways to overcome the challenges the country is facing in the wake of the suicide bombing in a mosque in Peshawar.

The explosion killed at least 101 people and injured more than 150 on January 30, prompting the government to review its policies related to security.

Ali started his answer by mentioning the party’s protest in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and different areas of Punjab. The former ruling party held protest demonstrations under the “white flag”, denouncing the fresh wave of militancy in the country. The people of the KP said no to terrorism, he added.

When asked about the Apex Committee’s decision to have “zero tolerance” for terrorism, the PTI leader said that his party has been following this for a long time. He clarified that talks with the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) started before his government came into power, adding that the Imran-led party only agreed to dialogue and anti-terrorist operations when parliament decided it.

He claimed that they left a “peaceful” province after their government ended.

Troublemakers started making their presence felt over the last year after the drawdown of troops in neighbouring Afghanistan and talks started, according to media reports. But, this time people in large numbers took to the streets in different areas of KP against it and demanded peace.

But, ANP’s Zahid and PML-N’s Afnan did not agree with what Ali said. They supported their argument by statements that peace demonstrations against the troublemakers started in PTI’s tenure.

“They [PTI] opened borders for them [terrorists] under a planned scheme. The people who are responsible for bringing them here must be held accountable,” Afnan said on the security situation. An allegation that Ali described as “childish” by saying that such decisions were taken by the establishment after taking everyone on board.

Zahid, who was part of the peace talks in the past, shared his experience that his party had opted for dialogue after getting a green signal from the provincial assembly and National Assembly. He highlighted that the ANP had suffered the most because of the terrorist attacks.

“If we are not agreed for this [against terrorism] then the whole country will have to bear the brunt,” he warned, stressing that the APC was a big platform that shows everyone is on the same page.

Are there any conditions?

Ali went on to add that no one was bigger than the country and it should be the baseline. However, he added that the premier has “some responsibility” to hear the largest party in the country

“Having popularity, it is our duty to support but it cannot happen by arresting people late at night and filing treason cases against them. At day, you want to talk and at night you climb walls to arrest people,” the PTI leader said and claimed that the government was not ready for elections.

When Afnan was asked this same question, he hit back at the PTI leader by reminding him that the top tier of the PML-N leadership was put behind bars in the previous government. “This is what the PTI did in four years,” he said.

He advised the PTI to introspect and take the responsibility for its actions.

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Ali Muhammad Khan