ISLAMABAD - The government has finalised a three-prong strategy to deal with the much-hyped Raiwind March of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) to avoid any untoward situation and Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has played a key role in the formulation of the final strategy.

The strategy included giving free hand to PTI to hold its September 30 protest rally, to refrain PML-N workers and party leaders from hurling any threats against PTI workers and the provision of foolproof security to the participants of the rally, an official of the Interior Ministry said.

The strategy has been finalised during the two-day visit of Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan to Lahore where he not only held consultations with Chief Ministry Punjab but also other leadership of the party. “Soon after finalisation of the strategy, the second and third tier leadership of PML-N has been asked neither show any physical strength through media nor hurl any threats at the PTI threatening it of dire consequences for holding the rally,” the official aware of the development said.

A source close to the interior minister said that Chaudhry Nisar has persuaded other party leadership that the rising temperature between the PML-N and PTI workers needed to be brought to the freezing point as the government at this point could not afford any adventurism. As the tensions between PML-N and PTI had been running high for the past some weeks following the decision of Chairman Imran Khan to hold the protest march, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan arrived in Lahore last Tuesday to start consultative process with the party leadership to form a plan to avoid any Model Town like situation.

A war of words had started between the activists of PML-N and PTI and both showed their physical strengthen for a brawl after the announcement of Imran Khan that his party would hold a protest march from the main Lahore to Raiwind, the residence complex of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family, over the issue of Panama Papers. PTI has been pressing the government hard to get probed the Panama Leaks through a judicial commission under the proposed Terms of Reference (ToRs) of the joint opposition.

The announcement of Imran Khan infuriated the PML-N workers as Lahore is considered the power base of the ruling party as well home to the loyalists of Sharif family. They started hurling threats at PTI supporters and asked they were ready for a physical scuffle if some one dared to protest in front of residence of their leader in Jati Umra near Raiwind. The TV channels showed PML-N workers flexing their muscles and brandishing batons intimidating the PTI workers to face the consequences. Some of the PML-N activists formed a ‘baton-wielding force’ and they were shown saying that they will not allow Imran Khan and his supporters to enter Raiwind. The other loyalists of PML-N formed a group named ‘Nawaz Sharif Janisar Force’ and held demonstrations in Raiwind and Gujranwala in support of their leadership.

In response, PTI activists formed a ‘Bat Force’ saying they would handle the ‘Danda Force’ of PML-N if any one tried to come in their way. Then PTI leadership clarified that the purpose of their one-day rally was not to attack any one’s house and Imran Khan also warned the PML-N activists to refrain from their ‘bad intentions’. Sensitising the situation, the government at first planned to handle the September 30 rally in a soft manner and with extreme care. And then it was decided that the final strategy should be made in this regard within no time. The interior ministry officials said that Punjab government had finalised all security arrangements for the rally and additional deployment of Punjab police and reserved forces had been called in to provide security to the participants.