ISLAMABAD: Pivoting from protest to peaceful celebration, Pakistan Tehreek-e-insaf has postponed Islamabad’s lockdown plan after the Supreme Court order to form a commission to probe Panama Leaks issue and announced to observe Youm-e-Tashakur.
The party decided to shelve protest scheduled for Nov 2 after today’s hearing at the apex court, where the petitioners agreed to the formation of a judicial body to investigate the matter.
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 [alleged corruption] 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 is most grateful to Pervez Khattak for his time and effort. The party's spokesman Naeem had earlier vowed to go ahead with the November 2 protest in the capital.
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.
Although the PTI had been continually proclaiming it would lay siege to the capital on Nov 2 and had managed to generate enough sympathy when it came to its position on the Panama Papers leaks, it had begun to run into significant roadblocks.
The party was beginning to have trouble 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 it with room to withdraw from its earlier proclamations of laying siege to the capital along with saving its face to some extent.
Moments after the PTI changed its course, the government announced that it has ordered the capital adminstration to remove all containers and barricades in the city.
Minister Railways Saad Rafique on Twitter, "We welcome the decision of Imran Khan to withdraw the call of the sit-in. We should trust the apex court."