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ISLAMABAD: Terming Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s long march as a “flop show,” Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said that former prime minister Imran Khan was leading the march with “around 5,000 to 6,000” people only against his claim of holding the biggest gathering of two million people.

Addressing a press conference Wednesday, Sanaullah flanked by information minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said that if Imran Khan have any “sense of shame” then Khan would have ended the march. The situation in Punjab is peaceful at the moment and only a few thousand have come out in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, he claimed.

He said that the people of Punjab “are not a part of Khan’s march”. The minister said that the government should not have made preparations on such a large scale if it knew that the march will only have “a few attendees”. “We suspended metro operations, postponed examinations, people faced trouble commuting, and the patients faced issues as well,” he added.

The interior minister said that only a few thousand people are a part of the march from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and they are “in possession of weapons and teargas”. They are “trying to attack” the capital city while using government resources, he said, adding that this is an unconstitutional act and the PTI leadership would bear its consequences. However, arrangements have been made to deal with the people coming from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and this drama would be ended within three to four hours, he said.

Without naming Sheikh Rasheed, he said we are searching for the person from tomorrow who was claiming to bring a “bloody march”. Khan had claimed a few days ago that he would reach Srinagar Highway along with two million people but so far “even 10 people” have not gathered at Srinagar Highway, he said.

Fears grow as IK says will defy ban on long march

The minister said that the Supreme Court has taken cognizance of the matter and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said that any order from the apex court would be implemented as it is the custodian of the constitution.

He also said that the apex court has ordered to constitute a negotiation team in which Babar Awan will represent the PTI while the prime minister has also formed a four-member committee to find a solution to the ongoing crises.

He said that the petition was filed by the PTI’s Faisal Chaudhry and Babar Awan also appeared before the court. We have offered them near Rawalpindi a place where Tablighi Ijtima is held every year.

The minister rejected reports regarding talks between the PTI and the government and the news about an agreement reached between the PTI and the government.

The minister said that peaceful protest is the democratic and constitutional right of every citizen and no one will be allowed to spread violence and anarchy.

Sanaullah said that he apologises to the people on behalf of the government for troubling them.

About the arrest of protesters, he said that as many as 1,700 protesters have been arrested by the police and so far 250 have been released.

Sanaullah said that people of Balochistan do not even know about the PTI’s long march, adding that the situation in Sindh is peaceful.

The people of Sindh also refused to be a part of the PTI’s march.

He claimed that one of the groups, headed by Ali Amin Gandapur and Amjad Niazi, was marching toward the capital city with “the irrigation department’s machinery, cranes, tear guns, and weapons”.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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