Interior minister warns protesters against entering state buildings, says ‘your freedom ends where my nose starts’
Minister for Interior Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan Friday said some containers at the sit-ins on Constitution Avenue could be removed if Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Tahirul Qadri give written assurances that they will be responsible for any security-related lapse.
Addressing a press conference, he said containers have been placed for the security of the protesters as intelligence reports have already warned of possible attacks by two would-be suicide bombers.
“The heads of intelligence outfits informed the government about the threats and we are taking it very seriously and asked the neighbouring countries to extend their cooperation. There is also a serious threat of an explosives-laden vehicle. Such plots are aimed at creating chaos in the country,” he said.
The minister said the Lahore High Court allowed PTI and PAT to march toward Islamabad on the condition that their activity will be within the constitution. He said the two parties were allowed entry into Islamabad on the condition that they won’t enter the Red Zone, however the government showed restraint and did not stop the protesters from entering the restricted area because it did not want any confrontation which could lead to violence and bloodshed.
“Currently, the situation is that honourable judges cannot reach the Supreme Court without hindrance and way to Parliament and Cabinet Division has been obstructed,” said Nisar.
The minister warned the protesters not to cross the containers as it was his responsibility to protect the state buildings. “They should take it out of their mind that they can attack the buildings as we have the right to self-defence. I want to make it clear to both parties, your freedom ends where my nose starts.”
The minister said that nobody was arrested and stopped at the entry and exit points of the venue of sit-ins. “We will not put any hurdle in the way of protesters, leaving and entering the venue.”
He also rejected media reports regarding the removal of Inspector General Islamabad Police Aftab Cheema, saying he had applied for leave which was accepted.
He also rejected the allegation of Tahirul Qadri about mixing of some substance in water and said the administration was providing five bowsers daily.
“We are providing water to those who want to attack our homes,” he said, adding that after these allegations, the administration will not provide water for PAT protesters.
On the dialogue process with the protesting parties, Nisar said the government is getting positive signals and was ready for meaningful discussion with PTI and PAT.
“The PM has already announced formation of a judicial commission on the demand of PTI and we will meet demands of the parties if they are within the law and constitution,” he added.
Responding questions, Nisar reiterated that the 2013 elections were not conducted by the PML-N rather they were held by interim government formed by the PPP adding that the whole Punjab administration was changed by the interim set-up.
When asked about his statement in which he admitted that 60,000 to 70,000 votes could not be verified in every constituency, the minister said that the opponents only quote the words of their choice and ignore the context in which he had delivered his speech in the National Assembly.
When asked about the army’s role in current political scenario, he termed meetings with army officials as routine which have no link with the politics.
“The army is carrying out operation against militants in the North Waziristan Agency (NWA) and meetings are held to discuss the internal security situation in the country,” the minister concluded.