PPP to back bid to ban PTI, Bilawal tells PM

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ISLAMABAD: PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said on Thursday his party will not resist any move to impose a ban on PTI “for promoting extremism and violence”.

Earlier, the PPP leader had voiced his disagreement when some PML-N leaders proposed a ban on PTI as a political party.

Mr Bhutto-Zardari made these remarks while speaking to the media in Islamabad, which echoed the sentiments he expressed during the meeting with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif as well.

“I have opposed the move to ban PTI in the federal cabinet, but now we can do nothing as they [the PTI] have crossed the red line,” he said.

“What can we do if a political party wants to be turned into a militant organisation,” he asked rhetorically.

On setting up military courts to prosecute PTI supporters who were involved in riots and violence on May 9, the PPP chairman said his party will support anything done under the law and Constitution.

Although he endorsed the trial under the Army Act, 1952, the PPP leader ruled out the possibility of a constitutional amendment to establish new military courts.

The courts could be formed under the Army Act and thus, there was no need for a constitutional amendment, he added.

While Mr Bhutto-Zardari has made his intentions clear, the opinion within the PPP was divided on both issues — the establishment of military courts and a ban on PTI.

Talking to Dawn, PPP leader Farhatullah Babar said Mr Bhutto-Zardari had met the prime minister for the first time since the PPP’s Central Executive Committee (CEC) meeting on May 19.

In the CEC meeting, some PPP leaders were of the view that PTI should be banned completely while some said it would not provide a level playing field to all political forces, according to Mr Babar.

He said some PPP leaders were also perturbed by how PTI leaders were quitting their party and said other parties have also been victims of such a situation in the past.

Published in Dawn, May 26th, 2023