ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Thursday ruled out any possibility of a political alliance with Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) and said that the party had supported the latter because it was a victim of brutality of Punjab police.  On the other hand, PTI also demanded of the government to ensure halt to the US drone strikes, saying these are damaging the ongoing military operation in North Waziristan Agency.

PTI chairman Imran Khan said in a statement that his party had no alliance with PAT. However, PTI will stand by PAT against the brutality of Punjab police, he said. He said that PTI would always support strengthening of democracy and pointed out that despite total failure of PM Sharif in giving leadership to dialogue for peace and to the military operation, PTI stood by the government despite many reservations. The PTI even postponed its rally in Bahawalpur in view of the military operation, said the statement. “Yet, PML-N seemed to have misread these gestures,” Khan asserted and added so it chose to use the opportunity to crush dissent out of fear of PTI’s street movement to expose electoral rigging by demanding opening up of four constituencies for thumbprint verification of votes.

Given this undemocratic behaviour of the PML-N government, Khan vowed, the PTI would gather all democratic forces together to, what he said, challenge the Sharifs’ fascism. Khan said that there should be no doubt that the PML-N has come to power through the biggest electoral fraud in national history and hence is petrified with the PTI’s street movement which is what they were trying to suppress through Nazi-style terrorisation of unarmed people.

The PTI has now decided to hold its rally in Bahawalpur on June 27, Khan said and added that would give time lines on the demand for opening up the 4 constituencies for thumbprint verification. The election tribunals were supposed to take four months to provide justice but they failed totally, pushing the PTI to take to the streets. Now, if the government fails to respond then it along with the ECP will be responsible for the consequences of not giving the PTI its constitutional right of seeking justice.

On the other hand, Central Information Secretary of PTI, Shireen Mazari, in a separate statement reiterated PTI’s opposition to the US drone strikes and said these were illegal. Under international law including international humanitarian law, these are violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty, she added.

She said it appeared as if they were now being done with the complicity of the PML-N government, which was shameful. Mazari demanded that the prime minister should explain why there had been no statement from his government demanding the US to stop the drone attacks. The Foreign Office had issued its usual meaningless statement to the effect that they have a negative impact on regional stability. Mazari said the government’s total lack of concern for the innocent civilians of FATA was reflected in their casual attitude towards drone killings as well as failure to have a proper humanitarian structure in place to receive the massive flow of IDPs.

The military operation started before proper evacuation of the civilian population that reflects the callousness of the PML-N government. Even worse is the continuing inability of the federal government to provide proper support infrastructure for the outflow of IDPs. She said the PM’s casual approach to the military operation was reflected in his departure for yet another foreign jaunt a day after the operation commenced. The leader demanded the govt to ensure the halt to drone strikes as these also damage the ongoing military operation in NWA. The PTI had opposed drone strikes on principle from the start and continues to oppose their use today, she said.

That is why it took action to stop NATO supplies as a means of halting drone strikes and that worked.