Govt won't allow PTI's march to avoid spread of 'fitna' and 'fasad', says interior minister

May 24, 2022

Rana Sanaullah says if PTI hadn’t called it a “bloody march”, the government wouldn’t have stopped it

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Pakistan Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah (C) along with ruling collation parties leaders Qamar Zaman Kaira (L) and Asad Mehmood (R) listen to a question during a press conference in Islamabad on May 24, 2022. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet has decided not to let PTI go ahead with its long march in order to avoid the spread of "fitna" and "fasad", Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah announced Tuesday, saying PTI's long march is not democratic.

Addressing a press conference flanked by the leaders of coalition parties, Rana Sanaullah said that the participants of the long march will be stopped.

Keeping the current political situation and PTI’s 2014 long march in view, he said the federal cabinet has decided they will not allow PTI to spread “fitna” and “fasad” in the name of a “democratic long march.”

Read more: IHC orders police to stop harassing PTI leaders, workers

“The decision has been taken to stop them from spreading their agenda of manipulation and division,” the interior minister said, adding that these people [PTI leadership] have moved from “abuses to bullets”.

The minister was referring to constable Kamal Ahmad, who was gunned down last night during a police raid at a PTI leader’s house in Lahore's Model Town.

Sanaullah claimed that the PTI leadership has disappeared from their residences and has gathered in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He claimed that they [PTI leadership] are planning to use the province's resources and personnel to "come and attack the federation".

"They want to come as a mob that has no legal or constitutional status…this cannot be allowed."

The interior minister said that former prime minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan wanted to divide the nation. Warning the PTI supporters, he said: "Don't be misled by Imran Khan. He directed his party members during rallies to call people from other parties robbers and traitors. This is how he wants to spread chaos and disorder."

Read more: Police constable's death proof Imran Khan is a terrorist, Rana Sanaullah says

“Everybody has the right of freedom of expression and peaceful protest; however, the PTI did not want a peaceful protest,” he said, adding that if they hadn’t called it a “bloody march”, the government wouldn’t have stopped them.

The interior minister said that the protection of the lives and properties of the capital's people is the responsibility of the government and it will fulfil its duties "at all costs".

'Situation to stabilise by tomorrow evening'

The interior minister warned that if deemed necessary, a public holiday will be announced in Islamabad tomorrow. “Imran Khan and his members must be arrested,” Sanaullah said, asserting that if given a chance, they will be taken into custody.

The interior minister said: “I can assure the people that the situation will return to normal by tomorrow evening.”

Regarding the news of calling the army for the security of the Red Zone, he said that rangers and the army will be summoned if the Islamabad district administration requests.

Govt calls in Pakistan Army

Earlier today, sources said the interior minister had summoned the Pakistan Army for the security of the Red Zone in Islamabad, Geo News reported Tuesday, citing sources.

According to the sources, army personnel will be stationed at PM House and PM Office, the Supreme Court and other sensitive government buildings in the area.

Read more: Fawad Chaudhry warns govt against using force to stop PTI's 'Azadi March'

All security arrangements will be handed over to the army, the sources said.

Section 144 has also been imposed in the federal capital for two months. According to a notification, the restrictions have been extended up to one kilometre of the Red Zone.

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