Govt contemplates strategy to deal with Long March

| PM to announce future line of action after allies meeting tomorrow | 22,000 LEAs officials to be deployed in Islamabad

ISLAMABAD: The PML-N-led coalition government Monday held detailed talks to help deal with the PTI long march scheduled for May 25 and decided to employ all resources at hand after weighing up all options.

According to sources, the coalition partners held flurry of meetings at different levels and rejected Imran Khan’s demand for early elections.

The sources informed that the coalition partners have also decided to take tough measures for stabilizing the national economy and improving governance.
During these meetings, the allies reaffirmed the resolve not to yield to any pressure, saying that neither assemblies will be dissolved, nor snap polls will be announced.

The sources went on to say that the PML-N government and its allies have decided that the current setup will complete its tenure till August 2023 and the general elections would be held at the stipulated time next year.

The insiders detailed that the allies were of the view that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has already announced date for the next general elections and it is not possible to hold polls early.

The sources claimed that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will announce future line of action after important meeting with allies on Wednesday (tomorrow).

It is important to mention here that former prime minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan announced long march on Islamabad on Wednesday (May 25).
The sources added that the coalition partners also decided that PTI’s long march will be handled in a democratic way and they will not be allowed to hold a rally on Srinagar Highway in Islamabad.

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah warned that the government will not let the PTI long march become successful saying that the ‘slayer’ of the economy is now out to stop the country’s march towards economic recovery.

Talking to the media on Monday, the interior minister cautioned whoever crossed the boundaries of decency, the law would teach him how to remain within the limits of civilization.

He said that there were evilness and wickedness about the personality and in the language of Imran Khan, believing that he could not remain peaceful.

“We will not let them bring the groups of goons and indulge in riots. If Imran Niazi tries to become the gravedigger of democracy, then the law will deal with him,” Rana Sana warned.

Lashing out at the PTI chief and former prime minister, the interior minister dubbed him a liar. He said that in 2014, the PTI was indulged in 126 cases of public disorder. They attacked the parliament and other government buildings, he added.

Rana Sana rued that Shalwars (trousers) were hanged on the walls of the judiciary and the PTI activists dug the graves. He said that no one trusted the U-turn-happy Imran Niazi as he had lied even in 2014.

Earlier, the coalition government had hinted that it was ready to walk away from power and take its case to the people if not allowed to freely rule the country and complete the remaining constitutional term.

The threat to leave the government came from Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah against the backdrop of an ongoing stalemate between the PML-N-led coalition government and the powerful stakeholders of the country.

“If we are stopped from working, our hands and feet are tied and reservations are expressed on our performance then those responsible should take the burden. Why should we take the responsibility when we are not responsible for destroying the economy,” the interior minister told the media.

Former President and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Asif Ali Zardari on Monday met JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman where both the two leaders vowed to foil Imran Khan’s ambitions he wants to achieve through Islamabad long march.

Both Asif Zardari and Fazlur Rehman discussed political developments in the country and termed long march call a failed attempt by Imran Khan to push the country into anarchy. The JUI-F chief declared that they would give a head-on response to every tactic of the PTI chairman at every platform.

Asif Zardari went on to say that Pakistan is grappling with a severe economic crisis and it seems teh PTI chief wants to prolong it. Both the leaders agreed that they would not allow Imran Khan’s ambitions to succeed and the coalition government will steer the country out of the ongoing crisis.


On the other hand, PML-N supremo and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday said that allies should be taken in full confidence on the PTI’s long march, asking the party leadership to keep Asif Ali Zardari in loop in every decision.

Sharing details about the development, PML-N insiders informed that a consultative meeting of PML-N was held in which the prevailing political situation, PTI’s long march and early elections were discussed. Nawaz Sharif attended the meeting through video link from London, they added.

During the meeting, Nawaz Sharif advised that if the government does not get IMF public relief package then big decisions should be taken.

Taking a dig at Imran Khan, Nawaz said the noise of the long march was made to affect negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The federal government has devised a strict security plan to deal with the PTI marchers during Islamabad’s long march on May 25.

Under the strict security plan, 22,000 security officials will be deployed, whereas, the Islamabad administration summoned additional contingents from other provinces.

More than 2,000 Frontier Constabulary personnel were summoned by the Islamabad administration, whereas, the authorities sought the deployment of 8,000 Punjab Constabulary officials and 2,000 Anti-Riot personnel to deal with the PTI protesters.

The Sindh government has been asked to send 2,000 police officials to the federal capital. 500 women cops were also deployed and 4,000 Rangers personnel were also summoned.

According to sources, 100 prison vans will be summoned to Islamabad from other provinces. The contingents of the security personnel were summoned along with the complete command system from all provinces.

The Islamabad administration also forwarded the recommendations to the interior ministry after holding consultations with the police officials.


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