Can’t call off long march at this stage: PTI to LHC

* AG says PM ready to invite Imran for dialogue * Court directs PTI counsel to submit reply after consulting Imran

LAHORE: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf on Tuesday told the Lahore High Court that since its preparations for the “Azadi March” are in the final stage it cannot call it off.
A three-member full bench of Lahore High Court on Tuesday directed the counsel of the PTI to appear in the court on Wednesday (today) after getting instructions from the party chief, Imran Khan, on a petition against his long march. As proceedings commenced on Tuesday, the attorney general submitted a reply on behalf of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. He said that the prime minister was ready to invite Imran Khan today (Tuesday) or tomorrow (Wednesday) for dialogue to resolve the ongoing differences. 
He said that it was in the national interest that the PTI call off its long march. The court asked the PTI counsel, Ahmad Awais, about his reply on the statement of the prime minister, he said that as their preparations are in the final stage the PTI cannot call off the march. He said they had been demanding the government open ballot boxes of only four constituencies but not one paid heed towards their demand and now they are offering dialogue to resolve the matter. 
The court observed that there was a solution of every problem and they should try to resolve the matter through dialogue and inquired about PTI’s demands. Awais stated in the court that the government was illegitimate should step down and a  fresh election should be held. He said that the government had a fake mandate therefore it has no right to rule. Meanwhile, the court remarked that if during this march someone lost their life, everyone would be held responsible. 
While noting that 14 Pakistan Awami Tehreek workers have already been killed at the Minhajul Quran Secretariat in Lahore Awais asked what action has been taken against those responsible. On the court’s query he sought time to file his submission after taking instructions from his party leader. A resident, Muhammad Kamran had filed the petition. Petitioner’s counsel AK Dogar submitted that the PTI had decided to take out its Azadi March on August 14 against alleged rigging in general election on a day when the Pakistanis would be celebrating the Independence Day and such a march would only promote anarchy in the country. He claimed that it would be a serious threat to the democratic system in the country and invite anti-democratic forces to prevail. 

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