LAHORE - Punjab Law Minister Rana Mashood has said that Azadi March of PTI and Revolution March of Dr Qadri are bound to fail because the issues that both of them want to settle on the roads can be better resolved in parliament.
The minister said this at a news conference immediately after the PAT chief set a date for his march, which took all political circles by surprise.
He claimed that just four days ago, police had caught a cache of arms from PAT workers through which they were planning to stir public disturbances. Already they had resorted to violence which led to the death of policemen, he said. The PAT denies that it is responsible for the death of any policeman. “Today, Qadri has relapsed into the vicious mood whereby he is inciting people to use violent means to achieve their targets,” he said. Imran Khan, he said, was a master of U-turns and this time he was confused. The people would not come out in large numbers as being expected, which would lead to the failure of the Azadi March.
The minister admitted that the containers had been placed on roads at the expense of the public’s fundamental right to free movement but emphasised that this was for their own safety. He argued that in the absence of these security measures, the troublemakers could spread turmoil. “Containers are meant to prevent the turmoil from spreading as these two parties are trying to do,” he said. “We are aware of the quarters that are pulling the strings of Tahirul Qadri and Imran Khan,” the minister said, without actually identifying them.
He said, “Now our own voters are asking us to take to the streets to confront them. Yet we have called for restraint.” When a journalist asked why the government was not arresting Dr Qadri since an FIR had also been registered, Rana Mashood replied that Qadri had taken refuge behind a shield of women, children and the elderly. He also said that Qadri was wearing a bullet proof jacket beneath his normal shirt all the time which along with the bullet proof cars was an indication of the fact that he was not a true revolutionary who had the courage to mix with the people he was representing. He also warned that the game that the PTI and PAT were trying to play in Pakistan would turn it into another Libya, Iraq, Yemen and Egypt. He claimed that there was no charge of corruption on the government. “The reason that why these two parties are bent upon taking to the streets, is because Pakistan is progressing rapidly and freeing itself from the clutches of foreign slavery and dictation, poverty and energy crisis.” “This unholy alliance of Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri has been exposed now. If, the intention is to hold the government accountable, there is a method for it, which is election.”
These are the individuals whom the people had rejected and now they want to impose their agenda on the people by force of sticks and clubs, he said.
He also criticised the timing chosen by Imran Khan for the Azadi March, saying that it was meant to weaken the country at a time when it needed strength to stand by its forces against terrorists.
“Imran has not talked about the people slain by the terrorists, the IDPs. He is just interested in turning Pakistan’s Independence Day into a controversial day.” He also asked where were Qadri and Imran when the nation was facing multiple crises ranging from earthquake, floods and bloodshed
He categorically warned Imran and Dr Qadri that, “No one will be allowed to twist things their way, neither will anyone be allowed to violate the Constitution. Do not force us as we are political people. My advice to both of them is not to push the country into a civil war.”