ISLAMABAD – PTI Chairman Imran Khan is going to set a new and strange tradition today by addressing the nation live on Panama leaks from his residence in Bani Gala despite refusal of the government to allow his address on the state-owned Pakistan Television.
“The media is requested to make necessary arrangements for Imran Khan’s important address to the nation at 6pm on April 10 from Bani Gala, Islamabad,” said an invitation issued by the Central Secretariat of PTI yesterday. The chairman would not answer questions during the address, the invitation added.
It is likely that private TV channels would broadcast his speech live unlike the PTV.
Prime ministers, Presidents and military dictators have been addressing the nation live through PTV in the past while private channels used to take their footages with the courtesy of the stated-owned TV channel. It is not a tradition in the country that the head of a political party ever addressed the nation.
Before this, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf set a new example the other day by addressing a news conference from the platform of Press Information Department (PID) of the Information Ministry, which is otherwise used to disseminate the point of view of the government.
On April 8, PTI made a demand from the management of PTV to make arrangements for Imran Khan’s address to the nation live on Panama leaks.
PTI Information Secretary Naeemul Haq, in a letter written to Federal Information Secretary Syed Imran Gardezi who also holds the charge of the PTV managing director, asked him to make necessary arrangements for Imran Khan’s live address to the nation on 10 April, 2016, at 6pm.
He had said that in his address, Khan would explain his position on Panama leaks and allegations in connection with Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital (SKMCH).
Naeem had said that the prime minister, through his address to the nation on April 5 used the state-owned TV channel to defend his personal and family position about the revelations of Panama Papers.
“The PM, the information minister and various MNAs of the ruling PML-N have used PTV’s network to spread disinformation among the masses regarding Shaukat Khanum Hospital. This is tantamount to using the network for political and personal interests rather than state/government interests,” he said, adding the PTV was being run solely through taxpayers’ money.
“It is, therefore, right of the PTI chairman to address the masses on PTV to respond to the baseless allegations against Shaukat Khanum and explain his position on Panama Leaks,” the letter said.
Pakistan People’s Party Chairman Bilalwal Bhutto Zardari rejected this move of PTI the same day and questioned in what capacity Khan wanted to use PTV to address the nation as he was not the opposition leader. “Khurshid Shah is the leader of the opposition and not Imran Khan. In what capacity is he using PTV to address the nation?” Bilawal said in his tweet.
Information Minister Pervez Rasheed had also rejected this request while terming it only a political move. “The PTI chief’s demand to address the nation on the state-run TV is just a political trick,” he had said while talking to media persons. “Only President and PM can address the nation on the national TV.” He said he would not allow PTI leader to use the platform of PTV for fulfilling his political motives.
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, while talking to the media, viewed that the PTI chairman had no prerogative to address the nation on PTV as only prime ministers and presidents throughout the world could use this right. Khan was not even opposition leader, he said. Nisar said, as the interior minister of the country, he also had no right to make such a demand.