D-Chowk picked as first war front: PTI plans power show to counter no-trust move

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ISLAMABAD: Amid rising political temperature in the country, the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) has decided to carry a “ mammoth” public meeting at D-Chowk on March 27, advising lawgivers that they will have to wade through a crowd of‘one million’to enter Parliament House for casting their vote on the no- trust stir against Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Still, one of the ruling coalition mates expressed strong reservation over the planned power show of the PTI and prompted PM Khan during his first visit to the Parliament Lodges since coming to power to “ stop doing politics of battle”.

The decision to gather PTI workers at D-Chowk on March 27 was made in the ruling party’s core commission meeting, which was presided over by Mr Khan. Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed after the meeting told the media that the high minister had directed the commission members to gather a crowd of one million people at D-Chowk.

Interestingly, the core commission was also attended by NA 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 places of further than 340 parliamentarians, for the first time after coming to power in 2018, supposedly to invite the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) and Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) leaders to cement the ruling alliance amid opposition’s sweats to win their support for the no- confidence stir.

During the meeting with Mr Khan, BAP leaders expressed reservations on a number of issues. They asked him not to resort to the “ politics of battle” and cancel the PTI public meeting on March 27.

Talking to Dawn after the meeting, BAP leader Khalid Magsi said they bandied reservations and problems with the high minister. “ We’ve presented to the PM our reservations and problems we’ve suffered during the last three-and-a-half times and prompted him not to go for public meeting on March 27, because it can spark bloody politics and chaos in the country,” Mr Magsi said.

He told Dawn that he’d informed Mr Khan that the PTI had noway backed the BAP in pivotal times when the party resolve into two groups in Balochistan and that no practical way were taken for the development of the neglected fiefdom.

Mr Magsi said the BAP had spent further than three times with the PTI- led ruling alliance. “ Now we’re looking towards the opposition what options it’ll give for the betterment of Balochistan,” he said. The BAP leader conceded that they were also observing the geste of the Chaudhrys of Gujrat (PML-Q leaders) in the political script. “ So we’re watching everything and we will soon take our decision whether to stick to the ruling alliance or quit it,” he added.

Besides Mr Magsi, Zubaida Jalal, Rubina Irfan, Sardar Israr Tarin and Mir Ahsan Reki also attended the meeting with the premier.

GDA assures PM of support
A source close to the Grand Democratic Alliance said GDA leaders comforted their support to the high minister while seeking his attention towards development of the most- neglected sections of Sindh. Former innards minister Zulfiqar Mirza accompanied his woman Minister forInter-Provincial Collaboration 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.

Statements of some PTI lawmakers following the party’s core commission meeting on Monday indicated that the voting would take place after the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) foreign ministers’ peak, which has been listed to be held in the civil capital from March 21 to 23. Still, query still prevails over the exact day of voting in the National Assembly, as multiple dates (March 27 and 28) are circulating in applicable diggings.

Since Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry and PTI leader Amir Mehmood Kiani advised the lawgivers they would have to pass through the‘one million’PTI workers to reach the congress for voting, their statements suggested that the voting would take place on March 27. Still, PTI Senator Faisal Javed’s claim that voting will be held after March 27 showed that the public meeting might turn into a prolonged dharna ( sit-in).

Addressing a common presser after PTI’s core commission meeting, Mr Chaudhry and Mr Kiani talked about the decision to gather one million people at D-Chowk they designedly didn’t expose the date of the power show, but Planning Minister Asad Umar, Energy Minister Hammad Azhar and Senator Faisal Javed bared that the public meeting would be held on March 27.

Mr Chaudhry said “ The PTI’ll carry a mammoth public meeting at D-Chowk that will change the politics of the country and “ end the game of three zanies — Asif Ali Zardari, Nawaz Sharif and Maulana Fazlur Rehman”. He claimed that three PTI MNAs had been offered Rs160 million to Rs200 million by the opposition to change their fidelity against the PM. “ We can not expose the name of three MNAs who after entering the offers, insinuated the party leadership,” he added.

Also, Mr Kiani said “ MNAs (on the voting day on no- confidence stir) will have to pass through the rally of one million people before and after casting their votes.”

The‘ trouble’ was explosively condemned by the leaders of the opposition parties — Marriyum Aurangzeb and Khawaja Saad Rafiq of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Sherry Rehman of the Pakistan Peoples Party.

In a tweet, PTI Senator Faisal Javed Khan said the “ biggest rally” in Pakistan’s history would be held at Islamabad’s D-Chowk, located in front of Parliament House, on March 27 during which PM Imran would give a “ major speech.

“ Voting on the no- confidence resolution will take place after March 27. The opposition will face complete defeat. Confidence in PM Imran Khan will ( increase).”

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