ISLAMABAD: (APS) November 1,2016-Pivoting from protest to peaceful celebration, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) on Tuesday said its November 2 lockdown will instead be marked as a day of thanksgiving in Islamabad.
Addressing a press conference outside Bani Gala, chairman Imran Khan thanked those who were part of his struggle against corruption.
“Go home and rest,” Khan told supporters, “You have to return to Islamabad tomorrow to celebrate thanksgiving at Parade Ground.”
I am elated that the investigation into Nawaz Sharif’s will begin day after tomorrow.”
Khan was referring to the Supreme Court’s decision taken early today, where it announced the formation of a judicial commission to probe the allegations against the Sharif family in the Panama Papers.
He said he was most grateful to Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Pervez Khattak for his time and effort.
Minister Railways Saad Rafique on Twitter said, “We welcome the decision of Imran Khan to withdraw the call of the sit-in. We should trust the apex court.”
Later on Tuesday, Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif instructed Punjab police to release all PTI activists arrested during the last few days.
While declaring the Supreme Court decision a “victory”, Imran’s announcement is a significant about-turn from what PTI leaders had been saying just hours before.
The party’s spokesman Naeem had earlier vowed to go ahead with the November 2 protest in the capital.
Although the PTI had been continually proclaiming it would lay siege to the capital on November 2, and had managed to generate sympathy when it came to its position on the Panama Papers leaks, the protest ran into significant roadblocks.
The party was facing difficuly in gathering a sizeable enough crowd as the government had acted swiftly to prevent opposition gatherings, using Section 144 in Islamabad, and separately toughening checks when it came to those crossing from KP into Punjab and the capital.
This was resulting in problems for the party in sustaining the momentum of its protest. In light of this scenario, today’s proceedings at the apex court inadvertently provided the PTI with room to withdraw from its earlier proclamations of laying siege to the capital along with saving face, to some extent.