Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Thursday said that he was not in favor of banning the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) despite the party attacking state facilities, adding that he would be the “last person” to endorse such a move.
Speaking at a press conference, the foreign minister — flanked by Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and provincial information minister Sharjeel Memon — said: “I am not in favour of banning anyone. We must adopt a completely constitutional and legal procedures to ban PTI.”
However, he added that declaring PTI a proscribed outfit was the last resort.
While responding to a question on whether he considered banning PTI, the foreign minister responded: “A decision cannot be taken on television based on the video evidence that has come out so far.”
Moreover, Bilawal called for PTI workers to end their violent protests, adding that the party had done “what it had to do”.
“PTI should not cause more harm,” he said. “They should declare an end to violent protests and face the cases against them.”
Bialwal also expressed a desire to have an outcome that would create political stability in the country.
‘Another Black Day’
Earlier during the conference the PPP leader said that May 9 — the day when Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan was arrested from the Islamabad High Court (IHC) — was “another Black Day” in the history the country.
“The history of Pakistan several days are marked as the ‘Black Days’ and now May 9 has been added to the list.”
Violent protests erupted in Pakistan on Tuesday with dozens injured across several cities and demonstrators attacking military buildings after Khan was arrested.
Tensions remained high with paramilitary troops and police on the streets in major cities even today; meanwhile, mobile data services remained suspended and schools and offices were closed in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The Islamabad police said earlier today that troops have reached the capital city.
Protesters have stormed military buildings, ransacked the residence of a top army general in Lahore, and set ablaze state buildings and assets in other places since Khan’s arrest in Al-Qadir Trust case.
“We [PPP] never celebrate when a political leader is arrested because we believe that when political leaders are arrested it is the loss of the politics at large,” he said, reiterating that in such scenarios the PPP has never celebrated nor distributed sweets.
‘PPP against NAB’
He added that his party had always been “against” the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) from the get-go; whereas PTI had always defended the anti-graft body and benefitted from it.
“Khan sb initiated a campaign to save NAB; when we demanded amendments he said that we are seeking NRO and didn’t agree on the proposed amendments,” he said, adding that now when the new laws were introduced it is the PTI chief who has become its beneficiary.