Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman Imran Khan reiterated his decision to boycott the joint parliamentary session today despite criticism from senior politicians and parliamentarians.

“I stand by my decision of not taking part in the parliamentary session. No gains were made by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s participation in the All Parties Conference,” said Imran Khan in a statement.

Jamat-e-Islami which supports the PTI government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa appealed to Imran Khan to reconsider his decision for the sake of national security.

Speaking to Geo News Pakistan People’s Party leader Qamar Zaman Kaira said that the PTI had participated in the All Parties Conference that the Prime Minister had called. “That day they accepted the Prime Minister. Now they don’t. Nawaz Sharif is prime minister of Pakistan, whether they accept it or not.”

Speaking to The News former Prime Minister and PPP leader Yousuf Raza Gilani said, “It is the decision of Khan Sahib and his party, I don’t want to comment on it but as a politician, I feel he should have not boycotted the session in in view of the prevailing situation.”

He said the PTI attended the All Parties Conference convened by the prime minister, but it announced boycotting the joint parliamentary session to be held on the recommendation of the opposition. He said all decisions taken in the conference attended by all political parties were to be endorsed in the joint session and Khan Sahib should have also attended it like other opposition components of the parliament.

Jamhuri Watan Party head Shahzain Bugti said: “We might have political differences but over the issue of Kashmir, there should be no different opinions.” He said the JWP had said it loud and clear that if India committed any aggression against Pakistan, the soldiers of the Bugti tribe would be the frontline support of the Pakistan Army.

Criticizing Imran Khan, Bugti said he was doing politics of confrontation, demonstrations and Dharnas. He said over the issue of Kashmir, the entire world must know that Pakistanis were united, so the PTI decision to boycott the joint sitting was not worthy of praise.

Rift in internal party ranks

Apparently, PTI chief Imran Khan was the only one who was in favour of the party boycotting the upcoming joint parliamentary session to discuss Indian hostilities at the Line of Control and situation in occupied Kashmir, sources told Geo News.

According to details, during the meeting of PTI’s Central Executive Committee, senior leader Asad Umar protested against the decision to boycott the joint parliamentary session. The same opinion was shared by Shah Mehmood Qureshi whereas Jahangir Tareen did not voice his opinion but sat silently.

Shah Mehmood Qureshi was initially against Imran Khan’s opinion but later on suggested the whole party boycott the joint parliamentary session and not just party chief Imran Khan. PTI’s parliamentarians who disagreed with Khan’s stance to boycott the upcoming session were chided by Imran.

Senior analyst Mazhar Abbas was also of the view that now was the time to demonstrate national unity to the enemy.

The PTI chief has refused to accept Nawaz Sharif as prime minister following allegations that he owns offshore accounts named in the Panama Papers.