ISLAMABAD   -   Interior Minister Brigadier (retd) Ijaz Ahmed Shah has said that at first it was the responsibility of provinces to stop the anti-government ‘Azadi March’ of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) and the federal government would deal with it if the protestors entered the capital.

Talking to a private TV channel about the possible lockdown plan of Islamabad by JUI-F Chief Moulana Fazlur Rehman, he also said the police would stop the marchers from entering the Red Zone of the capital. However, the last option of calling the army could be used to deal with the protestors.

About the responsibility of provinces to deal with the anti-government protest announced by JUI-F a day ago, the minister was of the view that it was the responsibility of provinces to deal with the law and order situation under the 18th Constitutional Amendment.

He reminded that Section 144 of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) had been enforced in the Red Zone and no one would be allowed to enter there. The section 144 empowers district administration to prohibit an assembly of more than four persons in an area for a specific period of time

The minister said that who so ever would take the law into its hands, he would have to face due process of law. He also said that Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mehmood Khan had already given a statement to deal with the protestors.

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The CM KP said on Thursday in a statement that the provincial government would not allow anyone from the province to participate in the ‘Azadi March’ of JUI-F and march on Islamabad.

In addition to that, Shah while talking at different media platforms in the last couple of days has said that any one has the right to hold a peaceful protest. However, he made it clear that neither no one would be allowed to disturb the routine life nor to take law into his hands. He also indicated that the lock down plan would be tantamount to taking the law into hands.

On Thursday, JUI-F chief Moulana Fazlur Rehman had announced that his party would hold the anti-government “Azadi March” to Islamabad on October 27 as a protest against the alleged rigging in 2018 General Elections. He declared that caravans from different parts of the country would reach Islamabad, stay there and send this government packing. He made this announcement by ignoring the call of other opposition parties to delay the proposed protest march.

The JUI-F chief told reporters that his party would hold a sit-in at the famous D-Chowk of Islamabad—the place where Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has staged a sit-in against the then Pakistan Muslim League –Nawaz government for 126 days in 2014 on the same allegations.

In July this year, Rehman addressing the million march rally, organized by his party, had threatened the government to march on Islamabad in October it did not step down at its own being an “illegitimate regime”.