Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf has unveiled the plan to shut down the biggest city of the country. Sticking to ‘Plan C’, The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) has been successful in motivating some associations to voluntarily join its appeal for a citywide shutdown in Karachi, party leaders claimed a day ahead of the strike. PTI has finalized 23 pints where they would protest and block the city. The planned closure is a continuation of PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s push to pressure the government into carrying out an inquiry into alleged rigging in the May 2013 general election.
Reciprocating the government’s offer, Khan said that he will call off his ‘Plan C’ if the government is ready to set up a judicial commission before the PTI’s call to shutdown Karachi on Dec 12. On November 30, Khan had announced his ‘Plan C’ to paralyse the country’s major cities and eventually “shut down” the entire country. Reiterating demands for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s resignation and a fair probe into alleged rigging of the 2013 elections, the cricketer-turned-politician appeared confident that his new push for street agitation would succeed. But still the images of the Faisalabad are fresh in the minds when allegedly Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz workers and PTI workers were clashing and one PTI workers was shot dead.
Senior PTI leader MNA Dr Arif Alvi said that the essential components of the city’s daily operations, such as transporters and traders, are supporting the party in its bid to hold sit-ins and protests at various points of the city and it will be a total shutdown. He said that transporters and traders have responded favourably because Peoples’ sentiments are in our favour because Karachi is looking for change. From day one PTI leaders are in the view that all their protests would be peaceful. President of PTI’s Sindh chapter, Nadir Leghari said the strike will be a ‘peaceful protest’. When asked about the financial loss incurred during strike calls in Karachi, Leghari said, “As a party we have much bigger objective that is to change the destiny of Pakistan.” PTI has so far identified National Highway, Sohrab Goth, Netty Jetty Bridge, Shershah, Numaish Chowrangi, Sharae Faisal, Kala Pull Road, Hasan Square, Star Gate and Five Star Chowrangi as prime protesting spots.
Provincial Deputy General Secretary of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Manzoor Wassan on Thursday said no one would be allowed to forcefully shutdown Karachi on Dec 12. Wassan’s statement follows after Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Memon had said that the provincial government would not allow Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan to close down all of Karachi. “If PTI workers try to shut down the city by force, government machinery will swing into action,” he had said. He maintained that “We do not believe in shutdown politics because they paralyse economy and the loss is borne by the common man. Such threats have taken us back in terms of development.” He added that while a peaceful protest is the right of every political and religious party, creating a law and order situation is a violation of the Constitution. Chief Minister of Sindh Qaim Ali Shah said that PTI having issues with PML N but they are protesting in Sindh and it does not make any sense but in reality PTI has taken humge number of votes from Karachi in the general elections of 2013.
Major political party of the Sindh province and leading party in Karachi Mutahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) has supported Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf’s call for the protest and Chief of Altaf Hussain has said that protest is the right of all the political parties in a democratic structure. Therefore, MQM would be supporting any protest until it remains in the boundary of law and now lawlessness would be tolerated.
In light of the recent shutdown call announced by the PTI, the ruling Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) extended an unconditional offer to the former for resumption of dialogue. It is positive and encouraging that the government and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) have agreed to resume talks, realising that this is the only way to hammer out differences. In view of the tough positions the two sides have taken on their respective stands, expecting a quick success of the negotiations would be a tall order.
On the one side government and PTI are indulging in the talks and on the other calls for shut downing cities, it seems unlikely that talks would be fruitful. Any activity hurtful to the economy must not be supported by anyone and Karachi is the hub of the economy of the country. From Saturday government and PTI would formally indulge in the process of talks. At the same time government must solve political issues so that the restlessness in the country comes to an end because its always the government to show more flexibility.