ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, after consultation with his close political aides and taking input from other quarters including the military establishment, allowed the PTI and PAT marchers to enter the Red Zone and stage sit-in before the Parliament.
Premier Sharif along with key members of the core committee was getting the moment-to-moment report of the protesters’ march into the Red Zone with clear-cut instructions to the security officials not to resist their march, a source in the government informed The Nation.
The policy of restraint was so strictly followed that when a private television channel runs a ticker that police officials resorted to baton-charge, the PM immediately directed the Interior Minister to restrain the police officials and let the demonstrators move in. It was all due to the policy of restraint that the PTI activists and supporters, who were also joined by the PAT demonstrators, removed the containers installed at various roads leading to the Parliament without any resistance from the security officials with the help of heavy winch machine.
Sources aware of the deliberations of the meeting which had taken place throughout the day informed that it was the unanimous decision of the political leadership of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) that neither the PM would step down nor the government would accept any other unconstitutional demand of the PTI or PAT leadership including dissolution of assemblies, establishing of national government or mid-term elections.
However, the PML-N leadership reiterated their commitment to look for some negotiated settlement with both the protesting parties, for which the ongoing efforts of negotiation would be stepped up, sources added.
A federal cabinet member sharing the policy of the ruling party informed The Nation that the party would complete its 5-year term and prefer to go home as a result of deadlock instead of caving into the unconstitutional and unlawful demands of the protesters.
Sources in the government said that Prime Minister Sharif decided to adopt maximum restraint and that was the reason the protesters were allowed to move in the Red Zone and stage sit-in in front of the Parliament.
Sources informed the ruling PML-N was optimistic that ultimately the protesting parties would sit across the table and get their constitutional demands met through negotiations.
Some of the members of the ruling PML-N were of the view that the way the PTI and PAT were politically alienated after their refusal to even listen to the committees constituted by opposition parties to facilitate the negotiation process, the demonstrators would be exhausted in another few days because of the unfriendly weather and lack of preparation for the prolonged sit-in, particularly by the PTI.
Sources in the ruling PML-N said that they would continue their efforts to resolve the issue through negotiations but without compromising on the main issues including the resignation of the PM, formation of national government and holding of mid-term elections.