Tahirul Qadri decides to join PTI’s protest In a significant development on Monday, Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Dr Tahirul Qadri accepted Pakistan Tahreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) request to take part in their November 2 ‘lockdown’ of Islamabad.
Imran Khan, who spoke with Qadri via telephone, welcomed the PAT chief’s decision to join the anti-government march planned for November 2, DawnNews reported.
Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rasheed, who was tasked to convince Qadri over the matter, also confirmed the development.
“I have categorically accepted Imran Khan’s invite to take part in the sit-in,” Qadri was quoted as saying by DawnNews.
The workers of both the parties are fighting for the same cause, he added.
“I have informed Khurram Nawaz Gandapur about my decision, now the party representatives will meet and discuss the future plan of action,” said Qadri.
PTI has already asked all democratic forces to join the movement for strengthening democracy and getting rid of the current government.
Earlier in September, Qadri’s PAT had distanced itself from the PTI’s Raiwind march.
The PAT had announced to part ways from “the PTI’s Raiwind march as it might lead to siege of the private residence of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif”.
At that time Qadri had supported the stance of the Pakistan Peoples Party and Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid which had opposed staging a sit-in outside the Jati Umra residence of the premier.
PTI, PML-N back-and-forth
Last week, PM Nawaz heavily criticised the PTI, saying the party’s leaders are only found on containers.
“Forget about Pakistan, the PTI will have washed their hands of KP by 2018,” he said, adding that the province would be ruled by the PML-N after the next general election.
Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif also thundered at the PTI, terming the party “enemies of progress”.
He vowed that the PTI’s “filthy designs” will be unsuccessful.
The apex court is to hear petitions on Panamagate on Nov 1. The hearing had earlier been adjourned for two weeks, but the Supreme Court changed the date on Friday, set off a debate on the significance of the hearing a day ahead of the planned siege of the city.
PTI’s plan B
The PTI has also prepared a strategy to tackle the sit-in and any possible crackdown against the party.
PTI workers will gather at Faizabad and march towards Zero Point under Mr Khan’s leadership. “Blocking Zero Point will render Kashmir Highway, I.J. Principal Road, Murree Road and Islamabad Expressway closed and the federal capital will be in lockdown,” a senior official told Dawn.
“Party leaders are of the view that the government will close the roads themselves, helping the party’s plan to besiege Islamabad,” he said.
If PTI workers are arrested ahead of the lockdown of the capital city, the party plans to lay siege to the police station where they will be held.
PTI leadership has also directed party workers to avoid arrest and “if anyone arrested, then more than 200 workers will immediately reach that police station.”