PML-N leader Hanif Abbasi on Wednesday said that Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan must respond to the “shameful” allegations of harassment levelled against him by former PTI lawmaker Ayesha Gulalai.
A day earlier, as she announced to part ways with the PTI, Gulalai accused Khan and his “gang” of having an “immoral character”.
She alleged that Khan “would forward inappropriate and explicit text messages to party women”, claiming that she received the first such message in 2013.
Addressing the media outside the Supreme Court, Abbasi invited Imran Khan to hold a press conference in the evening to apologise to the nation and present himself for accountability.
“Whenever an allegation has been made against me, I held a press conference within five minutes to reveal the reality,” Abbasi said.
“A grave allegation has been levelled against you [Khan] and you should have been ashamed, but you are not — because in the society that you come from, these matters are not considered shameful,” added Abbasi. “If these allegations are not investigated, we will believe that justice has died.”
“There should be an investigation, there should be a suo motu, so that the truth can be revealed.”
It is important that the BlackBerry, from which the messages were sent, be investigated and the messages should be presented to the public, he added.
Abbasi said that in 2013, he had asked the country not to let their “mothers, daughters and sisters” attend the rallies of the PTI to “protect them from this person.”
He said Khan should be ashamed for asking Gulalai to show the messages as proof and for telling her that she is not a Pakhtun. “The daughters of the country are asking you to seek forgiveness,” he maintained.
Opposition leader Khursheed Shah also backed PML-N’s demand for an investigation, saying, “The matter concerning Gulalai is regrettable. Women never make allegations involving themselves. It should be investigated.”
Lawyer Raja Basharat filed a petition in the Election Commission of Pakistan on Wednesday, seeking Imran Khan’s disqualification on the basis of the allegations levelled against him by Gulalai.
PML-N’s Hina Pervaiz Butt has submitted a resolution in the Punjab Assembly for Imran Khan’s disqualification on the basisi of Article 62 and 63 in light of Gulalai’s allegations.
‘I’m not greedy for a seat’
Gulalai, while talking to DawnNews on Wednesday, dismissed the accusation that she had struck a deal with any other political party.
“I am not greedy — neither for money, nor for any post. I prefer my education over everything else.”
She claimed that what pushed her to come forward with the allegations was PTI’s alleged attempt to damage the morals of the nation. She alleged that Imran Khan “supports the worst corruption” that prevails in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. “Little children are trained within the party to malign others on social media,” she further claimed.
Gulalai said that had she been greedy, she would have struck a deal with the [PTI] delegation that was allegedly being sent to her to convince her against speaking out.
“I said what my conscience told me to say.”
She denied meeting with any member of the PML-N, adding that she hadn’t taken any decision as yet about her political future.
When asked about PPPand PML-N’s demand for investigation, she said that the PTI chief’s BlackBerry could be checked as she was “not the only woman who had been sent inappropriate texts”.
“All Blackberry records are available with the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority and everything can be traced in this age of technology,” she added.
She said that she would coordinate “as needed” if an investigation is carried out into the matter.
Earlier on Tuesday, Ayesha Gulalai had announced her exit from the party amid a flurry of scathing allegations against party chairman Imran Khan and other top party members.
Gulalai made the announcement moments before the election of a new prime minister, citing ‘ill-treatment’ of women in the party as the reason behind her decision, saying she had communicated her grievances to the party leadership but no action had been taken.
“Women workers are not respected in the PTI and a respectable woman worker cannot remain in the party,” she had told DawnNews.
While Imran Khan himself hasn’t commented on the allegations, the female workers in his party were quick to come to his defence, with many of them posting videos on Twitter on Tuesday to vouch for Khan’s character.
PTI’s Shireen Mazari followed Gulalai’s initial announcement with counter allegations, saying that the PTI worker was disgruntled after being denied a party ticket in the upcoming General Election from the NA-1 constituency.
Mazari alleged that Gulalai had called on Imran Khan Monday evening, along with a delegation, demanding he confirm the party ticket, which, Mazari said, was ‘unacceptable’ as Khan was not allowed to take unilateral decisions in this regard.