ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Vice Chairman, Shah Mehmood Qureshi addressed the joint-session of parliament on Wednesday. Qureshi categorically stated that “PTI never was and never will be part of any grand plan that will undermine democracy or the constitution.”
Qureshi began his speech stating he had come to parliament to represent his party and thanked those who were trying to resolve issues.
The PTI leader said he considered the parliament his political ‘Kaaba’ and wanted to save the house not burn it. “I am proud that Imran is my leader but consider Benazir’s teaching as a part of my training,” Qureshi said.
In his address the PTI leader said since 1970 elections in Pakistan were not free and fair. He added it was the right of the government to use article 245 but other opposition members along with the PTI opposed it.
“We are accused of inviting a third power but history will reveal who gave the invitation to mediate and facilitate.”
Qureshi also replied to accusations that the PTI sit-in was held at the behest of someone, clarifying that it was held on the directives of the party.
The PTI leader said he could respond to speeches made by other parliamentarians but did not want to spoil the atmosphere of parliament.
Qureshi said his party’s sit-in was peaceful and within the law, adding that if martial law was imposed they would oppose it.
The PTI leader further said his party’s grievance was that the 2013 elections were not fair and Imran Khan had repeatedly said if justice was not received he would protest on the streets. “We have not come here to fight but to talk.”
The PTI leader described the moments preceding his party’s march into Islamabad’s red-zone and said they made workers promise not to enter government buildings.
According to Qureshi, Imran Khan called party leaders following Tahirul Qadri’s announcement that Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) would march towards the PM House. Qureshi said he was told by Imran Khan to sort out this issue and he went and appealed to Tahirul Qadri who informed him that the crowd was no longer in his hands. Qureshi said he informed Dr Qadri that moving forward would not be in their benefit and others would take advantage of the situation. According to Qureshi he was told by Qadri to speak to PAT workers who refused to listen to him.
Towards the end of his speech, Qureshi said free and fair elections were a prerequisite for democracy and the constitution and parliament had to be saved. “Where do we go from here,” he asked.
After concluding his speech Qureshi and other PTI lawmakers exited parliament despite being asked by National Assembly speaker Ayaz Sadiq to appear his chamber so their resignations could be verified.