LAHORE: Showing scant regard to the concerns of its allies regarding taking them into confidence in its decision to call off the Nov 2 Islamabad ‘lockdown’, a Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf senior leader says his party believes in ‘solo flight’ and it cannot be dictated by ‘small’ parties.
“We did solo flight and continue doing so as the small (allied) parties cannot dictate us,” Opposition Leader in Punjab Assembly Mahmoodur Rasheed told Dawn here on Thursday.
He said the PTI took its own decision and as far as its allies in the Panamagate protest were concerned, the PTI had stood by the members of its allies arrested by police.
Allies say they should have been taken on board before calling off protest
Mr Rashid’s ‘hard’ stance on PTI’s allies has come in the backdrop of exchange of harsh words between PAT leader Khurram Nawaz Gandapur and PTI information secretary Naeemul Haq outside the Supreme Court building, Islamabad.
The PTI leadership especially its chief Imran Khan faced criticism from party workers for calling off the Nov 2 protest ‘abruptly’. Earlier, both PML-Q and PAT had refused to participate in PTI’s Raiwind rally despite efforts of Imran to woo them.
PML-Q information secretary Kamil Ali Agha said although the PTI had taken the decision to call off the Nov 2 protest on its own, “it should consult its allies in the future.”
Talking to this reporter, Mr Agha claimed more than 800 PML-Q workers were arrested as they were at the forefront of the Panamagate protest. “We have no objection to PTI’s decision to call off the protest. But we have a reservation that PTI should have taken its allied parties into confidence before making the final decision.”
The PML-Q Senator said the Supreme Court had taken up this challenge which it should have done six months ago. “Now it is hoped that the Panama Leaks case will meet its logical end,” Mr Agha said.
Dr Tahirul Qadri’s PAT said it had no objection to PTI’s ‘solo flight and it would always be its ‘natural ally’ against the PML-N. “In the future the PAT will not join any PTI protest drive mere on courtesy call. We will go along with PTI in the future only after entering into some kind of written code of conduct,” PAT spokesman Noorullah Siddiqui told this reporter.
Mr Siddiqui admitted that relations between PAT and PTI had soured and any ‘joint venture’ in near future was not in sight.
Earlier, Dr Qadri had expressed his disappointment over Imran Khan’s ‘sudden’ decision to call off the protest and said “one should now only pray for the success of Panama probe because for all practical purposes it has been lost in the mist of commission formation and proceedings.