Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said on Saturday that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf will only be allowed to protest at a place designated by the court, and that the protestors will be stopped if they tried entering the red zone.
Ahead of the PTI’s second Haqeeqi Azadi movement, set to kick start on September 24, the home minister in a press conference stated that those who show up to protests wielding weapons are the one's who are responsible for law and order, and not those defending it.
He accused the PTI chief and former prime minister of himself admitting the presence of a group that had weapons during the party's previous 'long march', held on May 25 this year.
“If any group talks about attacking Islamabad, shall we lie down in front of them?” the minister questioned, reiterating that the PTI will be stopped if they came in the form of violent groups.
The interior minister said that the federal government will try to minimize the use of force, but if Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa – provinces where the PTI is in power – did not provide the requested forces then the interior ministry has the paramilitary forces to support it.
He warned that in the case of refusal to send additional force Punjab and K-P governments will be hearing from the Federal Ministry of Interior.
Speaking of the May 25 march, Rana said that he was of the opinion that Imran should have been arrested with the permission of the cabinet. However, that did not happen, he said.
The minister further blamed the PTI for destroying the career the Lahore Capital City Police Officer (CCPO), Ghulam Mahmood Dogar, adding that the CCPO should report to the federal government.
Three days ago, in a surprising move, the centre had withdrawn the CCPO's services and directed him to report to the Establishment Division for further order.
Read Sana will find no place to hide: Imran
Further commenting on the PTI chief, the interior minister said that Imran was neither popular, nor did he have any narrative. He maintained that there was inflation under the PTI government, but the blame was on the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM).
“Now we are in government and there is inflation, of course. However, the premier is determined to give relief to the people,” Rana said.
He said that Imran had made the wrong agreement with the IMF and then violated the agreement by reducing prices, which would have caused compensatory damages.
Nawaz, Dar's return
The interior minister said that former finance minister Ishaq Dar was returning to Pakistan next week, and will be leading the economic team.
He added that the PML-N cannot impose a decision on Nawaz Sharif, adding that the party supremo accepted the PML-N’s request, and will lead the party in the upcoming elections.
Army chief appointment
The interior minister, discussing the appointment of the next chief of army staff, said that if they ceded to Imran’s pressure, the organisation would be “destroyed”.
He held that the appointment of the COAS would be conducted on time and as per procedure and that any delays or premature decisions could lead to the destruction of the institution and the country.
He maintained that Imran Khan has "confounded" the issue so much that if the trend was not questioned today, it will continue to create difficulties every three years.