Friday July 19, 2024

PTI divided on Imran’s post favouring Mujib

The content on the X was about former Bangladesh leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman

By Haider Sherazi & Mumtaz Alvi & Shakeel Anjum
June 01, 2024
(Left to right) PTI founder Imran Khan, Barrister Gohar Ali Khan, Ali Muhammad Khan and Zain Hussain Qureshi. — AFP/Reuters/YouTube/@PTIOfficialPK/LinkedIn/File
(Left to right) PTI founder Imran Khan, Barrister Gohar Ali Khan, Ali Muhammad Khan and Zain Hussain Qureshi. — AFP/Reuters/YouTube/@PTIOfficialPK/LinkedIn/File

ISLAMABAD: Conflicting statements from the party leaders added to the confusion regarding a controversial video clip about the Fall of Dhaka tragedy, posted on Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder Imran Khan’s official X handle.

The content on the X was about former Bangladesh leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, ex-president Yahya Khan and the Hamoodur Rahman Commission Report. The PTI leaders appear to be confused whether to endorse the step of posting the video or reject it utterly, hence conflicting statements on the matter.

Zain Qureshi, MNA, a son of incarcerated senior party leader, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who is being seen as a potential contender for the slot of PTI parliamentary leader in the National Assembly, during a private TV channel show, said that Imran’s social media account was being handled by the party, but not anyone from abroad.

He also said the party took approval from the party founder before posting it on his social media accounts. He candidly confirmed that Imran’s X posts were always shared with his approval and it would be construed as the party policy.

However, another senior party leader Ali Muhammad Khan, during the media talk on Friday, said Imran Khan was unaware of the post and decided to ‘personally approve’ social media content in future. Apparently, he dissociated the founder chairman from the controversial video, which drew severe criticism from various sections of society, even Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

Ali Muhammad insisted that Imran’s point of view should be taken in a political context, as his party was neither interested in discussing the 1971 incident nor the elements behind it and that it was not an appropriate time to recall them.

He also tried to explain their party was only urging not to repeat the past mistakes of 1971 to 2018. He also made it clear that the PTI would always oppose the establishment’s role in political affairs.

When questioned as to who was behind handling ex-PM’s social media account, he did not name anyone and said that in future, the social media content on the PTI founder’s account would not be posted without his approval.

PTI Chairman Barrister Gohar Ali Khan maintained that the video was shared on Imran’s X account in the current political scenario. He also tried to clarify in a social media interview, three days back that the post was not aimed at the military and should be seen in a ‘political context’.

The controversial X post was attributed to Imran Khan, which reads: ‘Every Pakistani should study the Hamoodur Rahman Commission Report and get to know who was the true traitor, General Yahya Khan or Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’.

Meanwhile, the PTI core committee, in its hurriedly called meeting, strongly rejected the FIA probe against PTI founding chairman regarding the social media post, calling the possible registration of any fresh case in this regard as totally unjustified.

According to the party’s central media department, the forum held a detailed review of various aspects of the short documentary film released on the social media containing the contents of the Hamoodur Rahman Commission Report.

The participants demanded immediate release of Hamoodur Rahman Commission Report in order to save Pakistan from 1971-like internal challenges and to learn lessons from history, besides informing the public about the facts and ground realities.

The forum noted that in the light of the FIA’s notices issued to the party leadership, the PTI legal team had been entrusted with the responsibility to prepare a detailed legal strategy regarding the documentary film containing the contents of Hamoodur Rahman Commission Report on social media.

The meeting reiterated the principled stance of conducting national affairs, especially political affairs within the framework of the constitution and law, adding that Pakistan Army should also perform its responsibilities of national defence within the constitutional limits.

The participants stated that the Dhaka Fall was the most tragic tragedy in the national history, and its causes and motivations were political in every respect. The core committee recalled that Hamoodur Rahman Commission, appointed by the then government of Pakistan, had mentioned these factors in great detail in its report.

They were of the view that the PTI, in the light of the worst political events of the past two years and their resemblance with the happenings of the 1970s that consequently led to the tragic event, a sincere message was given to the state decisions makers to revert to the constitutional limits and learn a lesson from the tragic history.

The forum emphasised that the most important role played in the tragic separation of East Pakistan was the insult of the public mandate, which even continued today with all its destruction.

They noted that the PTI founding chairman pointed out the very deadly consequences of an individual’s lust for power on the integrity of the country and the nation, the constitution, democracy and especially its negative implications for country’s brave forces.

The committee said it always recognised the role of its forces as an institution in performance of national duties such as the defence of national security and integrity within the ambit of the constitution and law.

The meeting also discussed the contents of the declaration of the 83rd formation commanders conference and the participants principally agreed with the formation commanders’ conference’s demand to take legal action against those responsible for May 9 incidents.

They made it clear that the PTI was the target of the May-9 false flag from the day one and had been demanding a high-level judicial inquiry into the arson, vandalism and killing of innocent civilians.

The core committee reminded that the PTI founding chairman stood in the Supreme Court and condemned the violent incidents of May 9, adding that he always insisted on restoration of the rule of law through fair and transparent court trials without any reaction or provocation despite being target of the worst state and political revenge.

The meeting requested Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa to recuse himself from hearings of cases regarding Imran Khan and the PTI. “Hearing our cases by the CJP despite his clear conflict of interest had negative impact on fundamental right to fair trial,” it noted.

During the meeting, the party’s organizational officials/structures from the centre to the lowest level were directed to immediately complete the preparations for the nationwide peaceful protest.

Separately, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif Friday asked PTI founder Imran Khan to keep his “mouth shut” if he wanted political tension in the country to lessen.

“I think the PTI founder wants to increase tension,” said the minister in an exclusive interview with Geo News in the wake of the controversial social media post shared on Khan’s official X account.

Kh Asif said the former prime minister was trying again to create a May-9 like situation again. He said attempts were being made to retract the tweet related to the former Bangladeshi president.

“Barrister Gohar [Khan] clarified that the social media team did not seek permission before tweeting,” said the minister, adding that this was the first time that the party had to retract a post on their social media account. He said he has a different stand on the history of the Bangladeshi politician and the tragedy of East Pakistan.

“By exaggerating the tragedy of East Pakistan today, you want to increase the tension,” he said, slamming Khan and his party.

The minister maintained that whether it was in politics or sports, the former premier had stung everyone who had done good to him.

Meanwhile, the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) Cyber Crimes team decided to initiate action against Khan over his controversial tweet on social media. However, former premier refused to join the investigation and answer the questions of the FIA team in the absence of his lawyers.

“I shall not join any investigation without presence of my lawyers,” he told the FIA team. However, the team recorded his stance in writing.

The FIA Cyber Crimes team arrived at Adiala Jail late at night to question the PTI founder. However, he declined to meet the team and refused to join the investigation without the presence of his lawyers.

Sources said the FIA Cyber Wing would record statements of PTI key leaders including Imran Khan, Barrister Gohar Ali, Omer Ayub and Raoof Hasan during the investigation.

“The FIA, with the collaboration of other investigation agencies, would start working on their own if the PTI founder and the party leadership did not cooperate with the investigation agencies,” the FIA sources added.