Dealing with protesters through dialogue, action to be taken in case of violence: Afridi

ISLAMABAD: Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Afridi said the government will deal with those protesting over Asia Bibi’s acquittal through dialogue and will take action in case of violence.

“I am 100 per cent certain that we will be able to resolve the matter through dialogue,” the matter of state for interior said while speaking to the media in Islamabad.
As protests against a Supreme Court verdict acquitting Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who had been sentenced to death on blasphemy charges, continue for a third day, Afridi said, “We are in constant contact with those who are leading the protests.”
The minister of state for interior further said that Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is currently on a visit to China, is also constantly being briefed on the situation.
“We will not use any form of power, but if there is violence then the state will enforce its writ and take pro-active measures to ensure the safety of people and property,” he added.
Further, speaking about the decision to hold talks with the protesters, Afridi said, “We are receiving positive messages from the Wafaq-ul-Madaris and people from all schools of thoughts. We are also in harmony with the opposition parties as well as all stakeholders, including civil-military.”
“All decisions are being taken after consultations. Even right now, our team is meeting the chief minister,” the minister of state for interior added.
Regarding the Supreme Court verdict, Afridi said, “The decision upholds that no blasphemy was proven and we should be happy about that.”
He further highlighted, “All stakeholders love and uphold that there can be no compromise on respect for the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him).”
Shifting focus to the premier’s China visit, Afridi said, “In the past, such as at the time of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government, the former premier used to take his younger brother but this time the Balochistan chief minister is accompanying the prime minister and this is Naya Pakistan.”