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PTI should form a committee: Nisar Ali

05 May, 2016

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ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar on Wednesday suggested the formation of a committee to probe the alleged harassment of women at recent Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) gatherings. "The opposition, including the PTI, should form a committee. We will make a committee too and the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) will be taken on board to identify those involved," Nisar said.

"The photographs of the people involved should be shared by the media and the police," he said, adding that NADRA would use the photos to identify the suspects and that the victims could be made witnesses. "The media and opposition party's committee can decide if they are PTI workers, PML-N men or members of another political party," the interior minister said. "They will be severely punished."

The interior minister went on to question why such incidents occur 'only in PTI gatherings'. "Do you hear of this happening in PPP, PML-N, JUI-F or ANP rallies?" "It isn't right to put the blame on others instead of looking within your own ranks," he said.

The interior minister's statements follow the PTI's decision to cancel an upcoming public gathering in Faisalabad, citing the safety of female attendees after women supporters were allegedly harassed at the party's recent public gatherings.

PTI Chairman Imran Khan posted a statement to Facebook saying the public meeting had been postponed in light of the harassment of female attendees of the party's gatherings in Islamabad and Lahore over the past month.

"I don't trust the Punjab police" after women were harassed at PTI gatherings, he said, adding that plans to attack the women were a conspiracy to restrict their participation in politics. Khan implied his party is afraid the same will happen in Faisalabad.

A source in the party, however, told reporters that the Faisalabad public meeting had been postponed due to a rift between organisers of the event. Referring to the probe into Panamagate, Nisar said the case should not become a spectacle. "This is not democracy, it is stubbornness."

"The target of opposition groups is not corruption, the target is one individual who they are trying to remove," he said. "They are trying to achieve their political ends through protests, rallies and press conferences," he claimed.

"Let the truth come before the people," he said, addressing opposition leaders. "Don't confuse them." "If you have a case, then bring it forward and let us present our case too. Why is there a delay? What are your reservations?" he asked.

"There will only be progress after the Terms of Reference (ToRs) come forth. Only an agreed-upon list of ToRs can be presented in the Supreme Court," he said.

The interior minister contended the opposition kept backtracking on its demands regarding investigation of allegations of corruption in in the wake of the Panama leaks.

Opposition leaders on Tuesday agreed on a draft of ToRs, formally withdrawing their demand for the prime minister’s resignation, for the judicial commission to investigate the allegations thrown up by the Panama Papers leaks. Opposition parties want the formation of a three-member judicial commission — headed by the chief justice of Pakistan (CJP) — through an act of parliament.

The commission, they say, should first hold an inquiry against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and members of his family and will be given three months, extendable to four, to complete the task. Only then, according to the opposition-drafted ToRs, can it start proceedings against other Pakistanis named in the Panama Papers and will have a year to complete this task.

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