LAHORE - Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Senator Pervaiz Rashid has said Imran Khan is taking out long march on the advice of a former spymaster who is in Pakistan these days.

Giving a press briefing on the meeting held to review the political situation over the last week and in the days to come, along with Federal Minister Ahsan Iqbal here on Monday, Perviaz Rashid in a clear reference to a former ISI DG said that this former spymaster did his best to bring success to the PTI in the last elections and after failure in his efforts, he is now pushing Khan to protest politics.

Without naming, he said the spymaster also played a role in architecting the PTI and, as mentor of Khan, he is again in Pakistan to push him to politics of marches. He said by resorting to marches why Imran Khan is penalising the country for his defeat in the elections. Like May 11, 2013, August 14 of this year would be another day of frustration for the PTI, he added.

Answering a question, the information minister said Imran Khan has not come out with any demand so far and he has not told why he wants to march to Islamabad. When the PML-N held a march in March 2009 for restoration of judges, everyone knew “what did we want” but PTI’s real purpose of the march remains unclear.

He said Khan has also not told them where he wanted to station in Islamabad. It is a city of 1.5million people and if PTI is bringing one million people where would they stay, where from they would get food and meet other human necessities, he asked. He said Imran Khan can go to his Banigala bungalow and his friends in Serena Hotel but what about the rest ones.

To a question, the minister categorically ruled out any possibility of martial law in the country as a result of protest marches of PTI and PAT. He rather said that PTI is spreading such rumours to disgrace the army before the world since Imran was not in favour of operation Zarb-e-Azb, and through the march he intends to enfeeble the operation which country’s valiant forces are continuing at the cost of their lives. He said every state institution is working within the constitutional limits and is so the army. As such the PTI dream would not come true nor do the predictions of the non-state actors.

Perviaz Rashid to a question further said all democratic parties in the parliament were with the government and the PTI stands alone on the floor of the house.

He said that following the May 11 elections, a committee of the PTI had prepared a fact-finding report on the reasons behind the party defeat and the major reason was given sale of party tickets by the leadership to the candidates who were not electable. He said Imran Khan later never referred to that report as it bounced the allegations back to the party leaders. Imran sitting in the glass house is hurling stones at others. He said it was quite interesting about Khan’s allegations of rigging that he saw rigging only in Punjab and not in any other province.

To a question, Senator Rashid said that protecting life of the citizens is the primary responsibility of the government and after PAT chairman has announced to take life of his own men and others, the state would do everything to discharge its duties towards safety of the people. The minister also regretted that Dr Qadri made such a serious statement which threatened life of everyone but Imran Khan did not utter a word to condemn that. It appears PTI has become a B-team of the PAT. He said if Imran Khan has handed himself over to a murderer (Qadri), the hand would be laid on his neck as well. The murderer is planning murders, he said with reference to Qadri’s statement.

When asked why not sedition process is kicked off against Qadri, as claimed by the government, the minister said the state follows a procedure on everything and it does not want to do anything at present which escalates tension. Directing the media persons, he said, “You keep your patience, everything would turn up as you expect.”

Ahsan Iqbal on this occasion apologised to the people for putting them in inconvenience in Punjab and said the measures (of roads block, etc) were taken on the basis of credible information that protesting parties have organised plans to play with the lives of the people.

He said transparency of the last election was acknowledged worldwide and the results were accepted even by the PTI. He said Khan is out to protest to cover up the failure of the PTI government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where Khan runs every affair through text massages.

Ahsan further said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has not directed the PML-N workers to hold counter protest rallies but that they should exercise patience.