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Opposition plans fresh campaign to ‘protect’ Constitution

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ISLAMABAD: The Tehreek Tahafuz Aayeen-i-Pakistan, a multi-party coalition of opposition parties launched earlier this year, has decided to launch another nationwide campaign for the “restoration” of the Constitution, with power shows expected in Karachi and Faisalabad.

In April this year, the six-party alliance had decided to kick-start a countrywide movement for the rule of law and chose Mahmood Khan Achakzai as its president. It also aimed to protect the Constitution.

The decision taken during a meeting chaired by Mr Achakzai seemed to add new vigour to the movement and was prompted by the press conference of the ISPR chief in which the military spokesperson vowed no mercy for the May 9 riots’ instigators.

The meeting was attended by PTI leaders Omar Ayub and Asad Qaiser, and Sunni Ittehad Council chief Hamid Raza among others. The participants said the recent presser of the ISPR director general was “unconstitutional” and responded that those who had violated the Constitution should apologise instead of asking the PTI to tender an apology.

The alliance spokesperson said that opposition parties would launch a countrywide protest and added that it was unacceptable that the “most popular” party in the country was forced to sit on the opposition benches.

He said the opposition would not tolerate the “theft” of their mandate. The alliance has also decided to approach courts for permission to hold public gatherings in Karachi and Faisalabad.

‘Healing touch needed’

Separately, PTI leaders Raoof Hasan and Shoaib Shaheen at a press conference in Islamabad blamed ‘internal factors’ for the “state of war” the country is in.

Mr Hasan said he had already given a detailed response to the ISPR DG’s press conference but he felt the need to remind him about the “darkest chapters and black days of the country’s history” instead of May 9, which was marked as a ‘black day’.

Mr Hasan said even though the role of the military establishment was not “glorious” the “reign of terror” unleashed on the PTI over the past two years was unprecedented. He claimed that the Constitution was trampled to crush the PTI, and establish a “one-man” rule in Pakistan to the country “virtually non-functional”.

He also demanded that the Hamoodur Rahman Commission report, Abbottabad Commi­ssion report, and the Army Public School Attack Commission report be made public so that the “real characters and factors” responsible for these tragedies could be unmasked.

The PTI leader also demanded a probe into the “killing of three prime ministers of the country”, saying these matters should be fairly investigated to punish the wrongdoers.

Speaking on the occasion, Shoaib Shaheen said that if the decisions of the country were to be made by an individual, then it would be the law of the jungle.

He said that interference in politics by the army was a breach of the Constitution. He reminded the ISPR DG that PTI was leading the electoral race with the “two-thirds majority but results were unlawfully and unconstitutionally halted to fraudulently convert the PTI candidates’ victory into defeat”.

In another development, former NA speaker Asad Qaiser criticised the premature withdrawal of tax exemption from erstwhile Fata and Pata.