Khurshid urges PML-N to handle PTI march with care

ISLAMABAD: Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khurshid Shah has urged the ruling party to handle the PTI’s Raiwind march with extreme caution, since the responsibility of any untoward incident would be with the government.

“The Nawaz Sharif government will have to exercise caution [in dealing with] the Raiwind marchers. Only the government will be responsible for any loss of life or property as a result of any violence,” Mr Shah said during an informal chat with reporters at the Parliament House on Tuesday.

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan has announced that his party will hold a protest march towards the Jati Umrah residence of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Raiwind over the Panamagate issue on September 30.

After Mr Khan’s announcement, a number of PML-N supporters and Mr Sharif’s loyalists declared that they would physically prevent PTI supporters from marching towards the prime minister’s residence.

Stresses need for increased diplomatic efforts on Kashmir issue

On the other hand, the PTI leaders and activists have vowed to march towards Raiwind come what may and claimed they would take on PML-N activists in case the ruling party created hurdles in their path.

The statements from both sides, warning each other against the possible use of force, have raised political temperatures and some political experts are even predicting violence on Sept 30.

Besides asking the government to show restraint, Mr Shah appealed to the PTI chairman to ensure that his marchers remain peaceful. He maintained that holding a protest march or rally was the democratic right of every citizen of Pakistan.

Mr Shah reiterated that the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) did not have any plan to take Panamagate to the Supreme Court, saying that his party believed in the supremacy of parliament, which was why it had decided to introduce a bill on the issue in parliament.

The PPP leader was of the view that the government could resolve the issue within an hour, if it so desired. He said that if offshore companies set up by the Sharif family were legal, why were they reluctant to present documentary evidence to prove this.

Mr Shah said that though his party was not disappointed with parliament, if the Panama issue was not resolved through the parliament, they would consider other options.

Talking about the prime minister’s visit to the United Nations, Mr Shah said the Kashmir issue could not be resolved merely through a speech at the UN.

“The prime minister’s speech will merely be eye-wash. The prime minister himself knows this,” the opposition leader said, calling for increased diplomatic efforts to effectively highlight the Kashmir issue.

He said that there should be one state policy on key issues and all governments should work for its implementation.

Mr Shah also called for creating a separate wing for the Kashmir issue in the Foreign Office.

Later in the evening, Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) chief Senator Sirajul Haq called on Mr Shah at the latter’s official residence.

Both leaders discussed the prevailing political situation in the country and agreed that in consultation with other opposition parties, they would jointly start political activities.

Published in Dawn, September 21st, 2016

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