The ongoing dialogue process started by the opposition parties’ jirga to end the confrontation between government and PTI, PAT has taken an ugly turn as a crackdown was launched against both the protesting parties Saturday.
Federal Capital police arrested scores of workers and leaders on the charges of violating section 144 imposed in the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi.
Despite repeated protests of protesting parties’ leaders against the arrests of their activists, capital police took the action arguing that the section 144 of Pakistan’s penal code prohibits illegal assembly of people in an area.
The government is being pressurized by the protesting parties and opposition parliamentary parties’ leadership for the release of the PTI and PAT workers, leaders as it would further worsen the situation. PAT Chief Dr Qadri fears a major crackdown against the protesters staging sit-ins in Islamabad. He has also blamed the authorities of arresting his personnel guards who were hired from a private security company on the charges of holding weapons. On the other hand, the PTI Chief Imran Khan has told his party negotiation team to discontinue the dialogue process with the government while addressing party gathering Friday. The crackdown launched by the Islamabad police had added fuel to the fire as PTI senior leader Jehangir Tareen announced Saturday that Party has suspended the dialogue due to state terrorism. He clarified that the arrests have nothing to do with attack on PTV building but the arrests were aimed at sabotaging the address of PTI Chairman Imran Khan Saturday night to celebrate one month’s of sit-in staged by the party workers and allies. Like PAT chief, Jehangir Tareen of PTI has also linked the resumption of dialogue’s process with the release of all activists. Both PAT and PTI’s leaders have clearly told the government that they believed in peaceful protests and implicating their workers in the attack on PTV building was totally illegal act.
The Federal Interior Minister Ch Nisar Ali Khan not buying their claims arguing that PAT and PTI disowned the attackers within 24 hours of the attack on PTV building and if the attackers do not belonged to their parties then instead of making hue and cry over the arrest issue, the protesting parties should identify the people who have been arrested after being properly identified through the images showed on electronic media. He also claimed to have the photographs of those who attacked PTV building.
The parliamentary party leaders came up with mix response over the latest twist in the ongoing political confrontation. Some leaders supported the government’s move. JUI-F supported the government action saying that police are here to enforce the writ of the state and has done a great job by arresting the men who attacked Parliament and PTV buildings. According to the Party leader from KP nobody is above the law and those who support these elements must be ashamed of it. While Sirajul Haq, Ameer Jamaat Islami being an important member of political jirga, playing a major role in ending the deadlock, has demanded of the government to release the workers, leaders of both the protesting parties to help creating conducive atmosphere for the continuation of dialogues. He has termed the government action as undesirable and advised government as well as the PTI and PAT leaders to refrain from violence for the sake of saving democratic system.
The PTI leaders are also under heavy criticism for holding celebrations at a time when most of the country is facing the floods which is continuously playing havoc in southern Punjab and floodwater heading towards Sindh province. The floodwater has caused large scale destruction to crops land, damages to houses. Over 300 people have lost their lives while hundred of thousands people rendered homeless, are in dire need of help. Armed forces and government doing on its level best to minimize the hardships of the flood affectees, but still these people deserve as much help as they could. Government a lot needed to be done. Pakistan Tehrik Insaf’s sit-ins are justified. It is not the only party which is protesting against the rigging as even those parliamentary parties who are backing the government, had also claimed that worst kind of rigging have been committed in 2013 polls. No doubt, Model Town incident was a national tragedy and those involved in the inhuman acts must be punished, but the violence is no solution to the crises. All the stakeholders must continue dialogue to expose, punish those involved in the wrongdoings besides collectively devising comprehensive strategies to end corruption to steer the country to the road to progress. Government has to fulfill the promises it made before coming to power to restore masses confidence on the system. Holding across the board accountability, purging black sheep from the national institutions, awarding exemplary punishment to the culprits are the need of hours.
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