Rana Sanaullah says govt won’t allow PTI to protest outside ECP office in Islamabad

Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah announced on Wednesday that the government will not allow the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to hold a protest outside the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) office in Islamabad on August 4 (Thursday), PEN reported.

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, the interior minister said that PTI’s workers should not try to enter the capital’s Red Zone, warning that “action will be taken if the government’s instructions are not followed.”

“If PTI workers want to protest, they can do it in Islamabad’s F-9 park instead,” said the interior minister.

On Monday, former prime minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan announced to hold a peaceful demonstration outside the ECP office in Islamabad to demand Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja’s resignation.

Addressing the party members at the PTI’s national council meeting in Islamabad, Imran Khan accused CEC Sikandar Sultan Raja of being a party in the ongoing political crisis and stressed that the next general elections cannot be held under his supervision.

The federal government’s decision to bar PTI from protesting outside the ECP’s office comes a day after the electoral watchdog ruled that Imran Khan’s party received prohibited funding and kept 13 bank accounts hidden.

“The data obtained from SBP reveals that all the 13 accounts disowned by PTI were opened and operated by the senior PTI management and leadership at the Central and Provincial levels.

“In this regard, it is further added that PTI failed to mention and disclose three accounts which were also being operated by the senior leadership of the party,” the verdict read.

The ECP also issued a show-cause notice to PTI. The commission also said that PTI chief Imran Khan had submitted a “misdeclaration” with the commission.

Earlier on Wednesday, the coalition government decided to file a reference in the Supreme Court (SC) to disqualify former prime minister Imran Khan in light of the ECP’s verdict in the PTI foreign funding case.

The prohibited funding case was first filed in November 2014 by Akbar S. Babar, who accused the PTI and its leadership of corruption and illegal funding of the party. In February 2017, the IHC remanded the case back to the ECP for a fresh review of its jurisdiction.