ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is mulling cancellation of its August 13 anti-government march towards Islamabad to mark solidarity with the victims of Quetta blast.

The final decision whether to continue with the party’s protest plan or postpone it for a week will be taken by Chairman PTI Imran Khan after completion of his visit to Quetta. Within the party, two views prevail, background interviews with PTI leadership reveal.

The idea of postponement of its protest rally struck PTI leadership after Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) leader Dr Tahirul Qadri announced to cancel its August 16 protest in the capital. PTI’s rally is scheduled to start from Rawalpindi on August 13 and end on the night of August 14 in Islamabad.

Background interviews with the key party leaders of PTI indicate that one view within the PTI is that the party should go ahead with its protest plan on August 13 and August 14, as it has already announced a three-day mourning over the Quetta blast. PTI on Monday had decided to suspend its political activities to observe three-day mourning over the Quetta tragedy. The proponents of this idea view that the rally on the night of August 14 has very much relevance with regard to the Independence Day and the party should not miss the opportunity to have a big show in the capital.

The other point of view is that the continuation of protest rally will send a wrong message to the people of Balochistan.

“We should cancel the rally otherwise it will send a very wrong message among the people of Balochistan,” a senior PTI leader told The Nation. Another party leader said that the party had to face similar taunts and criticism when Chairman Imran Khan had announced his second marriage soon after the incident of Army Public School in Peshawar. “I think postponement would be a better option.”

PTI Secretary Information Naeemul Haq said that a proposal was under consideration to postpone the Independence Day anti-corruption rally but the party chief will take a final decision after consultations with the senior party leaders. Amir Kayani, the President PTI of North Punjab, was of the view that the rally should be cancelled to show solidarity with the people of Balochistan but having the major task of preparations for the rally, he continued with its preparations on Tuesday.

On the other hand, some PTI leaders and a large number of its supports gave controversial comments on social media, dubbing the Quetta tragedy as a conspiracy against their protest campaign.

“Why is it so that whenever we in PTI launch a major PRO-PAK movement against #Rigging or #Corruption either #APS happens or #QUETTA Blasts,” Ali Muhammad Khan, PTI MNA from Khyber Pakhtunkhaw, said in one of his tweets.

A large number of PTI supporters echoed the view, saying that perhaps the Quetta blast was a conspiracy behind the protest movement of PTI. The tweets by Ali Muhammad Khan met with an outcry over Twitter by critics, who viewed the tweet as crass and lacking empathy with the victims of the suicide bombing.