Former Interior Minster Chaudhry Nisar has said that all political parties, the media, the army and other institutions need to come together to end the politics of sit-ins across Pakistan. Nisar was speaking to reporters about the current security and political situation in the country at a press conference in Taxila.
"If the country is to move forward and progress in a positive direction, we need to leave the politics of sit-ins behind," he said.
Nisar was of the opinion that a precedent seemed to have been set, wherein powerful groups, some with considerable militant power, stage a sit-in and lay siege to Islamabad.
"If we need to stop Pakistan from turning into a banana republic, political parties need to drop the politics of sit-ins."
"This does not happen in democratic countries," Nisar noted.
The former interior minster said that there were two sit-ins during his tenure, and he had issued strict instructions to the authorities and protestors regarding the sensitivity of the Faizabad interchange.
"I faced a lot of backlash over my decision to allow the protestors to proceed to D-Chowk. However, if they had occupied Faizabad, it would have completely paralysed the twin cities," Nisar quipped.
"Even the decision to allow protestors to proceed to D-Chowk during the first sit-in in 2013 was not mine. It was the government's," he revealed.
"I am not against sit-ins. They are a basic right in a democratic country. But if the sit-in disturbs the day to day lives of ordinary citizens, it should not be allowed."
"What is the fault of the poor labourer who has to go to work and earn for his family? Or of the people across the city commuting about their daily business?" Nisar asked.
Nisar said he had talked about the Faizabad sit-in with Prime Minister Abbasi, and conveyed the concerns of the people of Rawalpindi and Islamabad to him in person.
"I will not disclose what I advised PM Abbasi since the sit-in has ended, and I do not want to talk about the decisions taken during the sit-in either," he added.
Nisar said that the police and FC officials in Pakistan are fully capable of confronting protestors.
"During the crackdown on PTI protestors in 2014, the only difference was that the interior minister was standing with the police."
"Democracy is in danger because of sit-in politics," Nisar told reporters.
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