Sheikh Rashid denies merger with PTI
10 September, 2012
LAHORE: Awami Muslim League (AML) President Sheikh Rashid on Sunday said that he had neither joined Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) nor announced his party's merger with them, adding that AML would contest general elections under its own banner.
Addressing a press conference at the AML Lahore office on Sunday, Rashid said that such rumours had spread after AML's Liaquat Bagh public gathering.
He said AML in its own capacity would contact masses against the misdeeds and plundering of the present rulers. He announced that his party was initiating public campaigns and would hold a public meeting in Gawalmandi, Lahore, on September 28, while the next public congregation would be held in Multan followed by one in Khanewal.
He said that these public meetings would be held under the AML banner and the sole effort of his party was to joggle the people of Lahore to play their role in improving the present deteriorating political situation. Without naming any political giant, Rashid clarified that there would be no role of other political players in the September 28 public gathering and that AML would appear in the masses on its own power.
Answering a question regarding the possibility of a big opposition alliance consisting of right-wing political parties as a contact between Nawaz Sharif and Pir Saheb of Pagara Pir Sibghatullah Shah Rashdi, established for the purpose, AML chief said that Pir Pagara had gained a lot of respect and repute among politicians in a short span of time and could be helpful in forging a grand opposition alliance. Demanding an immediate announcement for the establishment of a caretaker government, the AML president said if general elections were not held in the country on time, a "big mishap" could occur in the country.
Expressing fear of any uncouth incident in the country, Rashid said the country was passing through a critical phase and a "third force" intervention into the country's affairs was not out of question, if the rulers would not mend their ways.
Rashid said that every institution in the country was on the verge of collapsing, while the present corrupt rulers who lacked the capability to run the country were busy in deceiving the masses.
Rashid said the introduction of the Sindh Local Body Ordinance reflected the intentions of the government that was finding ways to delay general elections.
He said the present situation could lead to the imposition of a financial emergency in the country as both the federal and the provincial governments were busy in using national exchequer for personal gains. Criticising the government for failing to concentrate on the accountability law, caretaker set-up and the solution to the crises faced by the country, Rashid said in the present situation, masses needed to come out on roads to force the government for general elections.
He said all the assets of the country including naval installations, air bases and the nuclear assets were in danger as the corrupt rulers looted national money in the name of democracy.
Citing example of PIA, he said out of 38 planes, only 9 were operative, while the railway service was also at the verge of collapsing. Rashid said that a gang of bandits was occupying power corridors and looting the poor masses with both hands by increasing the prices of petroleum products instead of providing relief to downtrodden segments of society.
He said the latest petrol price hike had truly overburdened the common people. "The PPP-led government, which gave the slogan for welfare of the common man, is truly doing things which are callous and shocking," he said. "A group of thieves are sitting in power corridors and looting people with both hands," Rashid added. Coming down hard on Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), he said Nawaz Sharif needed to opt for a clear strategy.
"On one side, Chaudhry Nisar says negotiations with the government are out of question, while, on the other, Ishaq Dar goes into talks with government teams on specific matters," Rashid said. He said Nawaz needed to come up with a bold stance rather than following a diplomatic policy.
He alleged that this gesture reflected that the opposition was not in the mood to play a constructive role in the resolution of the problems in the country. PTI and AML had formed electoral alliance in a meeting held at Khan's residence on August 8, according to sources. During the meeting, both the leaders had agreed to jointly take part in the next election and support each other's candidates.