The leaders of two major political parties on Tuesday urged Imran Khan to return to parliament, saying that his and his party’s salvation lay in representing the citizens who had elected them.

But in the same breath, both Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and Shujaat Huss­ain warned Mr Khan that if he persisted on his current course, they would neither be able to save him, nor would it benefit the country.

In separate statements on Tuesday, both leaders stressed the need for all parties to work together to rescue Pakistan from the economic and political dire straits that the country finds itself in.

“You are a stranger to the house. Come back and play your role in the parliament. Let’s talk about reforms, whether it is the National Accountability Bureau or elections,” Bilawal said during an address at Garhi Khuda Bukhsh, adding that otherwise, the government would not be able to stop those who wanted to “victimise you”.

“If he calls himself a politician and a democrat, he has to sit in parliament and do his job.”

The spokesperson said Mr Dogar requested a formal meeting to deliberate upon the issue of the confirmation of resignations of 124 PTI members of the National Assembly.

Mr Dogar told the NA speaker that a delegation of PTI leaders consisting of Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Pervez Khattak and others wanted to meet him.

But PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry told journalists in Lahore that when party leaders called on Mr Ashraf today, he was “nowhere to be found”.

“[We were] told that the speaker has gone to Larkana,” Fawad claimed. “We’re getting information that he’s going to Australia afterwards.”

“I want to tell the speaker that tendering resignations is our constitutional right,” the PTI leader said, adding that Mr Ashraf should “accept the resignations and hold countrywide elections”.

In a wide ranging speech delivered at an event held to mark his mother’s death anniversary, Bilawal touched on a host of political issues.

He refuted Mr Khan’s ‘foreign conspiracy’ mantra, saying that it was his party, not Washington, that had engineered his ouster through democratic means.

“We sent Imran home through the Constitution […] and this was the first time the parliament ousted a prime minister. The ‘conspiracy against the selected’ was not hatched behind closed doors, rather it happened on the streets and in the parliament in plain sight.”

He went on to say that the military had made its position clear, i.e. they were staying out of politics clear. “It is now time to ensure that they fulfil their promise,” he said, adding that this was the reason why “we are hearing screams from Bani Gala”.

Claiming that his party had played its part in the legislature for four years, the PPP leader said this was the PTI chief’s “last warning” to play his role. “We will negotiate with you on electoral and NAB reforms,” he said, adding that they did not want Mr Khan to go jail or face the accountability body.

He also pointed towards the arrest of Mayam Nawaz and Faryal Talpur during Mr Khan’s time in power, saying: “If you tamper with the Constitution, something will happen”.

Separately, in his remarks at a dinner in Islamabad, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain extolled the need to work “not for the interests of parties, rather the interests of Pakistan”.

He said that political and economic stability are crucial for the country and the general elections should be held on time.

“Only if we all come together for the sake of Pakistan can we save it. In case we cannot set aside our differences, all will be lost,” he said.

Chaudhry Shujaat also pointed to the economic crisis plaguing the country, saying that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) would only extend its support if political parties could set aside their differences.

“We will act sternly against those who are just trying to raise their importance in the eyes of enemy nations,” he said, without elaborating.


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