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Thursday April 25, 2024

APC put off for two days, venue changed

Venue changed from apparently in response to PTI leader Asad Qaiser’s statement

By By Ali Raza & News Desk
February 07, 2023
Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb addressing a press conference. — APP/File
Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb addressing a press conference. — APP/File

LAHORE: The All Parties Conference (APC) called for discussing the re-emergence of terrorism has been postponed for two days, and now it will be held on February 9, 2023.

The venue of the important event has also been changed from Prime Minister’s House to Parliament House, apparently in response to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Asad Qaiser’s statement that the party was ready to set aside their differences for peace in the country if the ruling parties change their behaviour. However, the government did not give any clear-cut reasons for postponing the important event for two days.

The APC was scheduled to be held on February 7, 2023 (today), which was called by PM Shehbaz Sharif. He announced the APC after terrorists hit a mosque in Peshawar Police Lines, martyring more than 100 people.

Federal Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb confirmed on Monday that the APC was postponed. In her tweet, she confirmed that “The APC called by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on the issue of terrorism will be held in Islamabad on Thursday, February 9, instead of February 7.” She further said that all national and political leadership ofthe country has been invited to the conference.

In her tweet, Marriyum added that a joint strategy to combat terrorism and national challenges will be formulated and the National Action Plan will be reviewed. Sources in the PMLN claimed that the APC was postponed because ‘someone’ wanted active participation of PTI in the APC. Sources said PMLN’s stalwart and former speaker National Assembly Ayaz Sadiq was given the task to convince the PTI leadership to attend the APC.

Sources added that Ayaz Sadiq contacted former Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser and former chief minister KPK Pervaiz Khattak for the purpose, and asked him to convince their party head to participate in the APC.

Sources claimed that there were rumours of a possible meeting of an important personality with PMLN leader and former PM Nawaz Sharif in London soon. Asad Qaiser, earlier, said in a statement that the PTI was ready to set aside their differences for peace in the country. He called upon the government to change its behaviour as the “country is going through serious crises”.

“National unity is the need of the hour,” he said, adding that the government would have to improve its behaviour first. “In our [PTI] tenure, the government evolved a better strategy and succeeded to restore peace [in the country]. Our strategy was in the best interest of the country,” he added.

Responding to a question about the APC, he said the government’s representatives made a telephone call to him on Sunday and verbally invited him to the multi-party conference. “It was not an appropriate way to invite anybody to the APC,” he said, adding, “National harmony in Pakistan is out of question as the government shows unconstitutional behaviour.”

On February 3, PTI Secretary-General Asad Umar said the party Chairman Imran Khan would not attend the federal government’s APC scheduled for February 9 (Thursday). However, earlier the APC was to be held on Tuesday (today).

“How can we sit with them [PDM-led government] while cases are being registered against us,” he raised a question. The statement of the PTI leader came as PM Shehbaz Sharif confirmed the invitation he had extended to the PTI chief at an apex committee meeting in Peshawar.

During the huddle, the premier without naming the PTI chief, said: “I have also invited the person who does not want to even shake hands with me,” adding, “All parties are invited to the APC and apex committee meetings and I hope that it will not be rejected.”