- ‘Serious differences’ between Zardari, Imran Khan damage Model Town cause
- Not a single meeting of action committee held despite passage of one week
ISLAMABAD: Squabbling between the leaders of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has forced Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Dr Tahirul Qadri to mobilise his own followers for a final push to oust Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) from power in the Centre and Punjab province.
Sources privy to the development told Pakistan Today that due to an internal strife within the PAT-led alliance, particularly between the PPP and PTI, the PAT chief could not hold a single meeting of the action committee to seek justice for the victims of the Model Town killings.
It may be mentioned here during the PAT-led power show at Mall Road on January 17, Qadri had claimed the Sharifs would not be able to step out of their residences if he mobilises his [PAT] workers.
“We are holding a meeting within two days and will announce a date. We will call a meeting of APC parties, its steering committee,” Qadri had announced.
However, despite a lapse of over a week now, not a single meeting of the committee has taken place due to ’emerging differences’ between PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari and PTI head Imran Khan.
Moreover, Imran had also refused to share the stage with Asif Ali Zardari during the rally. Due to refusal to share the stage, the PTI chief and PPP chief had addressed the participants in separate sessions.
Sources have further told that Imran Khan and Asif Zardari directed their party leaders not to attend any meeting hosted by Dr Qadri.
Talking to Pakistan Today, a senior PAT leader said that due to the unbridgeable gulf between the leaders of the PTI and PPP, Dr Qadri has decided to bank on his own workers for showing political muscle to send the Punjab government packing.
“We have called emergency meetings next week to discuss our own strategy. We plan to mobilise the party workers and followers. We will announce our new strategy very soon,” the PAT leader said.
“The war of words between the PPP and PTI following the Lahore rally has forced the PAT to withhold the joint action committee meeting for the time being. Later on, the PTI had publicly stated that it would not attend any meeting joined by the PPP,” he said.
The PAT leader said that neither Sheikh Rasheed nor Imran Khan had taken Dr Qadri into confidence over their plan to resign from assemblies.
The PAT leader said that the PTI’s announcement to consider en-mass resignations from the assemblies had come as a shock to Dr Qadri as well as PPP leadership, who were not expecting such harsh decision.
Asked whether the PAT leadership was unhappy with PTI’s decision, the PAT leader said that his party has great regards for the PTI leadership and believed that resignations were a constitutional move which was right of any party or lawmaker.
“In my personal view, tendering resignations are also a mode of protest and one should not object to the democratic right of a party. We will welcome whatever the PTI decides,” the PAT leader said, adding that the PTI leadership was sincere in raising the issue of Model Town massacre.
PPP UNHAPPY OVER FLOP POWER SHOW: A source in the PPP, however, was of the view that Asif Zardari was unhappy over the failure of Dr Qadri and Imran Khan to gather an impressive crowd at the rally which had embarrassed the PPP.
“You know, PPP does not have required strength in Lahore or central Punjab for the time being. So we were expecting the PTI and PAT to muster up public support for the rally. However, they had failed miserably to mobilise their workers which angered the PPP leadership,” the PPP leader said.
The PPP leader further said that Imran Khan’s sudden announcement of tendering resignations from assemblies had badly damaged the PPP as neither did Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rasheed nor Imran Khan shared their views on the resignation issue with the PPP.
“We were taken aback the way the PTI and AML chief announced their resignations. They also provoked the PPP co-chairman by cursing parliament –the institution sacred to the PPP,” the source added.
The source asserted that Zardari had decided to stay away from Khan and Qadri duo as he believed in the supremacy of parliament and democracy.
A source in the PTI said that the PTI never asked the PPP leadership to tender resignations as this was the party’s own stance.
“It is childish to blame PTI for going solo on resignation from assemblies. Imran Khan never announced resignation and had only said that the proposal floated by AML’s Rasheed would be taken up at the party’s top decision-making body. It is therefore ridiculous to blame the PTI for an announcement it never made,” the PTI leader said.
The source was of the view that the PTI did not mobilise its workers as it was never asked to do so.
“The idea floated by Dr Qadri was to hold a token rally where the three parties would send a signal of unity over Model Town massacre. It was never a power show so our workers only attended the show as a token protest. Whenever we would like to show our political muscle, we would prove our strength,” the PTI leader added.
When contacted, PAT Information Secretary Noorullah Siddiqui confirmed that Dr Qadri will convene meetings of the party leadership on January 27 and 28 to finalise the future strategy.
“On January 27, the central executive committee would meet while the following day, the party’s federal council would meet. These would be huge party meetings which would discuss the future strategy of the party. Later, we will announce our own strategy,” he said.
When asked whether the PAT’s alliance with PPP and PTI had ended, Siddiqui said that the party would first evolve its own strategy and later it would convene the action committee meeting, involving the three parties together.
Asked whether any meeting of the action committee had taken place two days following the Mall Road rally, Siddiqui said that the meeting could not be convened due to widening gulf between the leadership of the PPP and PTI.
PPP Information Secretary Chaudhry Manzoor Ahmed said that the PAT would host the action committee meeting and the PPP was ready to attend it.
“The decision to convene the meeting has to be taken by Dr Qadri. We will attend whenever he convenes the meeting,” he said and added that the PAT, perhaps, was planning to convene a meeting soon.
“I believe they will soon convene the meeting. We are ready whenever they decide,” he added.
Asked why the meeting was not convened as per the announcement made at Lahore Mall Road rally, Chaudhry Manzoor claimed that a meeting had taken place two days after the Mall Road rally –a fact denied by the PAT and PTI.
Asked what decisions had taken place at the action committee’s meeting, Ch Manzoor replied that no breakthrough was reached.
“There are no impediments. The only issue was the PTI’s ‘suicidal’ move which had badly damaged the cause of justice for Model Town victims. Now I have heard things are being resolved,” he said and added that the talks are to be held between the PTI and PAT and the PPP has no issue with them.