PTI offers govt a way out?

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) has apparently offered the government a way out of the prevailing crisis, suggesting that it enact legislation to constitute a judicial commission to probe the Panamagate scandal before Nov 2.

Talking to Dawn on Saturday, PTI Vice-Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi said the government still had time to prevent the situation from worsening by convening sessions of the National Assembly and the Senate in order to pass the opposition-sponsored bill on the Panama Papers leak.

“If the government is serious, it can even promulgate an ordinance for the constitution of an inquiry commission under the terms of reference (ToR) unanimously presented by all opposition parties,” Mr Qureshi said.

The PTI leader said if the government was serious, the bill could be passed by both houses within half an hour. “It is possible; there is no need for debate. The members will only be req­uired to say ‘aye’ and the bill can be sent to the president for assent and conversion into an act of parliament.”

Shah Mehmood Qureshi calls on govt to pass opposition-backed Panamagate inquiry bill

Asked if the PTI could consider cancelling its Nov 2 protest if the government acceded to this proposal, Mr Qureshi said: “A mere announcement is not enough, we want an act of parliament. Let them do it first.”

Talking to media a couple of days ago, PTI chairman Imran Khan had stated that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif still had time to consider two options — either resign or present himself for accountability under the ToR prepared by all the opposition parties.

Meanwhile, the situation in the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad remained largely peaceful on Saturday, except for a few skirmishes between PTI workers and police outside the Banigala residence of Imran Khan.

Earlier in the day, Mr Khan met party workers who were camped outside his residence. He also met police and Frontier Constabulary personnel deployed there and asked them not to take the law into their own hands as they were subservient to the state and not any individual or a group.

Mr Khan asked them to provide protection to citizens, which was their primary responsibility.

Later, through a “written and signed statement”, Mr Khan appealed to the people of Pakistan to come out of their houses on Nov 2, declaring it to be a “decisive day”.

Meanwhile, a few skirmishes between the PTI workers and the law enfo­rcement agencies personnel were reported at Pakistan Chowk in Banigala, when scores of party activists attempted to march towards the barricades erected on the road leading to Mr Khan’s hilltop residence.

Due to police checkposts on various roads leading to Mr Khan’s residence, scores of party workers had to travel there on foot.

The LEAs personnel did not allow the party workers, even the elected representatives, to go to Mr Khan’s residence. They also did not allow the workers to send food items inside.

PTI MNA Murad Saeed held negotiations with the law enforcement personnel at the checkpoint, but he was not allowed to carry food items inside either.

Published in Dawn, October 30th, 2016

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