PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry speaking during a press conference. — PID/File

PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry speaking during a press conference. — PID/File 
  • Fawad says, “tell me which democracy doesn’t have tolerance for protest?”
  • He maintains “PPP’s Sherry Rehman, Raza Rabbani should have resigned.”
  • Says “PTI never ruled out talks with the PML-N, but not for NRO.”

ISLAMABAD: PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry on Thursday said the ruling coalition should “either put up with the protest or stop claiming to be democrats” after a legal blow was dealt to the government’s plans to thwart PTI’s long march that is yet to be scheduled.

“If you (the government) cannot face the voice of dissent then you are not democrats,” Chaudhry said talking to the media following the Supreme Court’s positive remarks during the hearing of the government’s contempt petition against PTI Chairman Imran Khan.

The petition was filed by the Interior Ministry on October 13, requesting contempt of court proceedings against the former premier under Article 204 of the Constitution for “flouting and disregarding the orders of the apex court passed on May 25, 2022”, on the petition filed by the Islamabad High Court Bar Association.

He said the PML-N and PPP senators, who declared themselves democrats, did not utter a single word against such “undemocratic actions by the government” and instead were “endorsing raising hurdles in the way of the democratic process.”

“Sherry Rehman and Raza Rabbani, who pose themselves as the champions of democracy, should have resigned from their offices if they had an iota of shame,” Fawad said. 

“Tell me which democracy doesn’t have tolerance for protests?” he questioned and added the government should show courage and face it.

The court, however, rejected the government’s request to issue an interim order for stopping the PTI’s planned long march and called on the attorney-general of Pakistan (AGP) to appear before the court for the next hearing after completing his homework.

“Announcement of elections will be the success of our negotiations, a march on Islamabad their failure,” Fawad said.

The PTI leader clearly said his party never ruled out talks with the PML-N. He, however, added that “those [talks] would not be for NRO.”

“If elections are announced then we will hold a discussion about the election commission and the caretaker setup,” the PTI leader said, adding that “no formal talks were underway with the PML-N yet”.

Fawad said that in the last six months, this country had seen its worst human rights violations.

Rana Sanaullah’s statements are not of a democratic minister but rather of a street goon,” the former information minister said.

Referring to his party’s winning 26 out of 36 seats in the by-polls, Fawad said that the “nation had given its verdict”.

“People voted us in, in line with our narrative that we don’t want to go back to the assemblies.”

Commending the court’s decision, Fawad said it was a “heartening development” and this time the PTI would embark on the march even more forcefully.

“Even before the announcement of the date for the PTI long march, the government has cluttered the federal capital with shipping containers.”

He said it seemed “nobody was bothered by the closures of roads.”

“No one can take the public’s right to free movement.” Fawad expressed surprise at how these hardships faced by the people were going unnoticed by the authorities. 

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