Opposition leader Imran Khan's political party on Monday decided to withdraw its representatives from the National Assembly and all provincial assemblies except Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where it is in government, stepping up pressure on the Nawaz Sharif-led government to quit.
"We are resigning from National Assembly, Punjab Assembly, Sindh Assembly, and Balochistan Assembly," Shah Mehmood Qureshi, the vice president of Pakistan Tehreek-i- Insaf (PTI) announced.
He said, for the time being, his party is not resigning from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly, as there is a coalition government in the province and the allies will have to be taken into confidence before making such a big decision.
Qureshi said the decision to quit from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assembly will be taken after holding consultations with the coalition partners. The move comes a day after cricketer-turned-politician Khan declared a "civil disobedience movement" against the government and set a 48-hour deadline for Sharif's resignation.
Qureshi said the resignations are to be submitted to the relevant speakers tomorrow morning, Dawn News reported. He said the decision was made after all other options were exhausted by the party in their protests against alleged rigging in the May 2013 general elections.
In the polls, Sharif's PML-N had won 190 out of 342 seats. Khan's PTI got 34 seats, the third largest bloc in the legislature. Qureshi said that the approach of the government and PTI is as different as day and night.
"Nawaz said the election was the cleanest in Pakistan's history; we said that it was the worst. He says that the Election Commission was independent, we say it was biased," Qureshi said.
"They said that the caretaker government was decided by consensus, we say that two political parties decided the caretaker government..," he said. The move of stepping up pressure on the government comes as Khan has led thousands of supporters from Lahore to rally in Islamabad to demand the government's resignation.
Khan and populist cleric Tahirul Qadri, who led his own "long march" from Lahore, claim the May 2013 general election which Sharif won in a landslide was rigged. They had promised to mobilise hundreds of thousands of supporters to capitalise on popular dissatisfaction with the corruption, power cuts and insecurity that blight daily life in Pakistan and oust the government.
But Khan was left looking increasingly isolated today as mass support failed to materialise and other opposition parties refused to rally to his call.