ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif yesterday discussed the current political situation and the strategy to forestall the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf November 2 capital lockdown plan.

Sources in the ruling PML-N informed The Nation that Interior Minister Ch Nisar Ali Khan briefed the participants of select cabinet colleagues and political aides about the strategy to prevent the PTI activists from reaching Islamabad in a large number.

The main focus of the whole strategy would be on blocking the arrival of PTI activists form Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where the PTI is in power as KP Chief Minister Pervaiz Khattak is most likely to lead a big procession from there to Islamabad.

The sources further said some of the key participants of the meeting stressed the need of opening dialogue with the opposition and seemed banking on the November 1 proceedings of the Supreme Court where the government would not only challenge the maintainability of the petitions on the Panama leaks but also seek from the apex court some clear direction for the petitioners to adopt restraint till its decision on the matter.

These sources claimed the ruling PML-N was still in contact with the main opposition party, Pakistan People’s Party, and would persuade it to help resolve the dispute.

They said the meeting of Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Interior Minister Ch Nisar Ali Khan and Finance Minister Isaq Dar with the army chief at the latter’s residence was to discuss with him the progress on the information leak of high-level security meeting.

The persons behind the information leaked to a national daily were identified and now the government would be taking action against them by removing them from their positions in the cabinet and government jobs. Action against these persons is most likely to be taken after the protest episode of Imran Khan.

The ruling elite were of the view that negotiations should be given a chance, but at the same time the government should not let the field open for the protesters and make foolproof arrangements to secure the capital.

Sources in the party said the prime minister was not happy over the mishandling of the situation by security officials since Thursday afternoon, especially the panick-driven policies to block certain areas in Rawalpindi and around the residence of Imran Khan which pushed the government to an awkward position.

They said the prime minister had also criticised the police failure to contain Sheikh Rashid who was roaming in Rawalpindi freely, managed to reach Committee Chowk and then easily fled the place in the presence of a heavy security cordon of the area.

The sources further said the prime minister directed the interior minister to go slow on protesters, but at the same time stay prepared so that in case PTI insists on continuing with their protest after the Nov 1 hearing of the apex court, the administration should be in a position to implement it at once.

They said affirmed the government was mainly banking on the Supreme Court of Pakistan to help dilute the situation otherwise force would be used against the PTI activists who had planned to invade and cripple the federal capital.