Two federal ministers separately said on Wednesday that anti-democratic forces were hatching conspiracies to weaken the democratic government through the politics of protest and marches on the behest of foreign powers.

Addressing s public gathering at Hill Park in connection with Independence Day, Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan Chauhdry Barjees Tahir said that no one has the right to undermine the solidarity of Pakistan. The government has been implementing short, medium and long-term strategies to overcome energy crisis in the country, said Barjees Tahir. He said great nations celebrate their independence in a befitting manner.

“The nation will celebrate the Independence Day enthusiastically and rich tribute will be paid to the founders. The nation should get united,” the minister said, adding that millions of Muslims made sacrifices of their lives for the creation of Pakistan. The minister said that in the garb of sit-in, anti-democratic forces are trying to create law and order in the country which cannot be afforded under these circumstances. He said, “Pakistan is our identity and the people want to work for its progress and solidarity. A dual nationality holder is creating hindrances at the behest of his foreign masters but all his efforts will be foiled.”

Barjees said that Maulana Tahirul Qadri and Imran Khan were no more than agents of Hindus and Jews. “Their efforts to destabilise Pakistan are a part of the international conspiracy under which many Islamic countries of Middle East have been pushed towards chaos and anarchy. However, the patriotic people of Pakistan will foil such conspiracies through mutual unity and discipline.”

He said that the people were proud and dignified nation and Tahirul Qadri has insulted them by describing them as worse than animals of the West. He said that the statements of Tahirul Qadri in the West and in Pakistan were contradictory. He said that he (Qadri) had ordered his workers to enter into the houses of police officials who launched crackdown and bring their women to the headquarters of Idara-e-Minhajul Quran for the purpose of Quran Khawani.

He said that no one will be allowed to topple democratically elected government or to promote chaos in the country through issuing unconstitutional orders. He warned that protection of life and property of the people is the responsibility of the government. Who will be responsible for any act of terrorism in the protest rallies, he questioned. Minister of Defence Production Rana Tanvir Hussain said that protest is a right of each and everyone but protest on the occasion of Independence Day and Zarb-e-Azb operation was against nationalism and patriotism.

Mr Hussain visited Warburton where Bilal Ahmad Virk and other MNAs and MPAs including Kashif Rang Elahi Padhiar, Sardar Irfan Dogar and Pir Ghulam Rasool Shah welcomed him. He said that to foil any conspiracy against the present democratic system and the Constitution, the political parties should hold negotiations to solve national issues.

In Sargodha, two officials scuffled and smote each other on the issue of arrest of political workers ahead of protest march of PTI and PAT.

SHO PS Shah Nikdar Rana Babar of Sargodha district went out for crackdown against PTI and PAT workers but he could not found any of them and return back. Meanwhile, he was informed that Muharrar of his own police station Saqlain Sobhi had allegedly informed the political workers about the raid. As the SHO launched a probe, the Muharrar offered resistance. Resultantly, both the SHO and Muharrar scuffled. During the intervention of other police officials, Saqlain Sobhi ran away from the police station but police got him after long chase in local bazaar. On the orders of the district police officer Sargodha, the accused had been arrested and an FIR had been filed against him.

The Bahawalpur PTI leaders including South Punjab Senior Vice-President  Safdar Jamil Gujjar and District President Farzand Ali Goheer have warned the government to open all routes and petrol pumps to avert any untoward incident as people have been facing a great deal of hardships in travelling.

They said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif would be responsible if democracy derailed as he had been committed all wrongs to stop the PTI Azadi March which was to strengthen democracy and to save people and country from more damages.

“Our March would be completely peaceful as we did not want any trouble or unrest in the country and our march was our democratic right”, they claimed.

They remarked that if Imran Khan or any other leader of the party would be arrested or tortured then the responsibility of all would be of the PML-N leadership so avoid to create hindrances in the way of Azadi March.

Meanwhile, about 100 activists of PTI and Jamaat-ul-Suffa Pakistan took out a rally in Hafizabad to motivate the citizens to participate in the long march.  Led by Amanullah Sandhu, president of PTI Hafizabad District, and Central Chairman of Jamaat Syed Waseemul Hassan, the rally passed through the Circular Road, Jalalpur road and terminated in Vanike Chowk. They called upon the citizens to participate in the proposed long march in large numbers to overthrow the present monarch. No PAT or Minhajul Quran activist was seen in the rally as they have gone underground to escape arrest.

Heavy police contingent remained along with the rally to prevent any untoward incident.

About 200 activists were held as crackdown continued to arrest Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf and PAT workers. The crackdown was launched to stop the  workers from participating in the Azadi and Inklaab marches. About four thousand policemen were sent from Gujranwala region to Islamabad. District administration and police have also completed arrangements to maintain law and order.

From Chitral, hundreds of PTI workers left for Islamabad to join the march on the call of Imran Khan. The convey was being led by district president Abdul Latif, MPA Miss Fauzia Bibi and Haji Sultan.

Addressing the workers, Abdul Latif said that PTI workers always ready for any sacrifice on the call of its chief. He said the workers participated in march against drone attacks, in Lahore and Peshawar march. And now they are going to Islamabad only for real democracy and strengthening the country, he said.