LAHORE - The government will not hinder a peaceful protest of the Pakistan Tehrike Insaaf (PTI) and the Pakistan Awami Tehrik (PAT) on May 11, but it will act as per law if these parties resort to any unlawful activity on that day, The Nation has learnt.
Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Perviaz Rashid told this scribe on Saturday that staging protest is a constitutional right of every party but it must be within the ambit of the constitution and law. As such, the government accepts the right to peaceful protest of anyone but if their protest would not be peaceful then the situation would be dealt with accordingly.
The PTI and the PAT are separately holding protests at different places and subjects but on the same day. After one year to the general elections, PTI is going to show power at D-Chowk Islamabad against the elections rigging while the PAT dubbing its protest a revolution, is staging the show in Rawalpindi against the entire political and electoral system in the country.
Perviaz Rashid said to a question that the protest of PTI and PAT would not be much successful; it’s just a storm in the teacup. The minister said PTI protest in fact is out of frustration as its government has failed to deliver in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He said PTI chief Imran Khan first took up the talks with Taliban and then drone attacks as issues to prop up his politics and now when he failed to achieve the targets on those issues, he resorted to the old issue of alleged elections rigging. He said it was interesting that Imran and his party took part in the elections and formed government in a province and now after one year, he was finding faults with elections and suspecting their credulity.
About PAT chief Dr Tahirul Qadri, who will lead the rally on May 11 from Canada, Rasheed, said Qadri does not accept the constitution and democratic system in Pakistan but Imran was standing shoulder to shoulder with him. The minister asked Imran Khan whether he too subscribes to the views of Dr Qadri about the constitution and the system. Anyway, this shows that PTI leadership is caught up in contradictions, he added.
The federal minister said had the PTI been delivering in KP it might have lent any credibility to the protest but here the PTI performance was disappointing so Khan was banking on the old issue to stay afloat in politics. He said instead of looking for a short cut, Imran Khan must wait for the next elections.
Sources in the official quarters say so far no decision has been taken either at the federal or the Punjab level to check the way of PTI and the PAT. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif are in the know about the matters relating to opposition protest. In the government quarters so far the dominant thought is to give the said parties a free hand as they would not be able to put up a convincing show on that day, the sources said adding, at the same time law enforcement agencies would be quite alert if law would be violated or tried to be taken into hand by the protestors on that day.
Sources further said on the side of the law and enforcement agencies a plan is being devised to meet any situation and final approval of the same would be given by the chief minister on his return from abroad.