Amid rising political temperature in the country, the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) has decided to stage a “mammoth” public meeting at D-Chowk on March 27, warning lawmakers that they will have to wade through a crowd of ‘one million’ to enter Parliament House for casting their vote on the no-trust motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan.
However, one of the ruling coalition partners expressed strong reservation over the planned power show of the PTI and urged PM Khan during his first visit to the Parliament Lodges since coming to power to “stop doing politics of confrontation”.
The decision to gather PTI workers at D-Chowk on March 27 was made in the ruling party’s core committee meeting, which was presided over by Prime Minister Imran. Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed after the meeting told the media that the prime minister had directed the committee members to gather a crowd of one million people at D-Chowk.
Interestingly, the core committee was also attended by National Assembl Speaker Asad Qaiser and Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri despite the opposition’s reservations that they both were showing inclination towards the government.
As the deadline to summon the National Assembly session draws near, Prime Minister Khan on Monday evening visited Parliament Lodges, which houses residences of more than 340 parliamentarians, for the first time after coming to power in 2018, apparently to woo the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) and Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) leaders to cement the ruling alliance amid opposition’s efforts to win their support for the no-confidence motion.
During the meeting with the premier, BAP leaders expressed reservations on a number of issues. They asked him not to resort to the “politics of confrontation” and cancel the PTI public meeting on March 27.
Later, BAP leader Khalid Magsi told a news channel that they discussed reservations and problems with the prime minister. “We have presented to the PM our reservations and problems we have suffered during the last three-and-a-half years and urged him not to go for public meeting on March 27, because it can trigger bloody politics and chaos in the country,” Magsi said.
He said that he had informed Prime Minister Imran that the PTI had never backed the BAP in crucial times when the party split into two groups in Balochistan and that no practical steps were taken for the development of the neglected province.
Magsi said the BAP had spent more than three years with the PTI-led ruling alliance. “Now we are looking towards the opposition what options it will give for the betterment of Balochistan,” he said.
The BAP leader conceded that they were also observing the behavior of the Chaudhrys of Gujrat [PML-Q leaders] in the political scenario. “So we are watching everything and we will soon take our decision whether to stick to the ruling alliance or quit it,” he added.
Besides Magsi, Zubaida Jalal, Rubina Irfan, Sardar Israr Tarin and Mir Ahsan Reki also attended the meeting with the premier.
GDA ASSURANCE: An insider said GDA leaders reassured their support to the prime minister while seeking his attention towards development of the most-neglected districts of Sindh. Former interior minister Zulfiqar Mirza accompanied his wife, Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination Fehmida Mirza, and Ghous Bakhsh Mehr of the GDA during the meeting. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar and Dr Shehbaz Gill represented the PTI at the meeting.