Govt warns PTI of action over Islamabad Long March


By OurCorrespondant

BAHAWALPUR: Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah on Sunday warned the PTI of action if its protesters were to march towards Islamabad with the “intent to cause anarchy”, but also said that the final decision in this regard will be taken jointly with the help of coalition partners.
Addressing a press conference in Bahawalpur, Sanaullah said the government and its allies were mandated to decide about the line of action against the PTI’s planned long march to Islamabad.
“I don’t know what decision the leaders of the coalition government will take, but if they decide [to go for] action, then we will not allow protesters to even come out of their homes,” the minister told media representatives.
The interior minister was dismissive of the PTI’s march, saying that it would not be much of a bother for the government.
He lashed out at former prime minister Imran Khan for asking his supporters to dub his rivals “thieves and traitors”, accusing him of proliferating “shamelessness and obscenity” in the country.
He also accused Imran of misleading youth for the sake of gaining political mileage.
“Thirty years ago, Hakim Sayed had written in his book that a lobby is preparing Imran Khan and he will destroy Pakistan in future,” the PML-N leader claimed.
Sanaullah also commented on the arrest of PTI leader Shireen Mazari on Saturday, saying that if her arrest was “inappropriate” then the arrest of Maryam Nawaz in front of her father should also not have taken place.
He also questioned the effectiveness of the cybercrime law in the country. “ A person arrested under the law gets a bail within an hour. Attempts were made to make it stronger, but all such endeavours were based on dishonesty.”
He suggested that the government, opposition and media should decide the matter in a way that it does not gag freedom of speech but also prevents the misuse of the law.
Later in another media interaction, the minister said the PML-N will hold a rally in Bahawalpur on May 28, which, according to him, will “shatter all records of PTI rallies”.
Meanwhile, Taking a jibe at PTI Chairman Imran Khan, Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Sunday said that the former premier was marching towards Islamabad “for no reason.”
Khan has announced that he will be leading the PTI’s much-awaited long march from Peshawar and will be reaching Islamabad on May 25. He has also demanded a date for the election as well as the dissolution of the assemblies.
Addressing a press conference in Peshawar, the PDM chief said that no one could break the record of the long march set by his party, the JUI-F, during Khan’s tenure.
“They are coming to Islamabad for no reason. A long march does not even hold the importance of two paisas,” Fazl said, adding that people would be “mad” to respond to the PTI chairman’s call for the long march.
Talking about the economic challenges the country was facing, the PDM chief claimed that Pakistan was not heading towards bankruptcy but was already bankrupt because of the policies of the previous, PTI-led government.
“Problems that mounted over the last four years are being asked to be fixed within four days,” said Fazl, adding that the “biggest challenge” before the new government was figuring out how to uplift the economy.
“We need to make such a situation that China gets on board,” Fazl opined, adding that Khan’s economic experts had themselves warned that the rupee-dollar difference would cross the 200 mark.
He also said that this was the impact of Khan’s policies. “In difficult times, institutes and politicians need to be on the same page to solve the issues.”
The PDM chief also spoke about the issues being faced by the tribal people in the merged districts (erstwhile FATA) and claimed that the “125-year-old” history of the region was being changed.
“They want to change the importance of FATA,” adding that the region was promised 100 billion after the merger but is yet to receive even half of the sum.
Recalling the law formulated to change the status of FATA, the JUI-F chief said that he had recommended to the then PML-N government that they should hold a referendum on the matter but his suggestion was rejected.
He also stated that when he was raising objections to the merger as he was told that his party does not represent the tribal areas.
“Where work has happened is not even 1% of the tribal areas. Mosques and roads were built in certain areas,” said Fazl and also asked why “greener pastures” were promised to the people of erstwhile FATA when the promises could not be fulfilled.
The PDM chief told the tribal people that he fought for them during Nawaz Sharif’s government and will continue to do so now as well.