PESHAWAR: As the Azadi march participants prepared to spend a third night under the open sky in the federal capital, the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa chief minister on Sunday decried the use of the ‘religion card’ by opposition leaders to justify their protest and urged them not to unreasonably and unjustifiably criticise the government or other national institutions.
This was stated by the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Chief Minister Mahmood Khan on Sunday during a meeting with the K-P Information Minister Shaukat Ali Yousafzai and various delegations at the CM House in Peshawar.
“We have achieved peace and stability after a long struggle and by rendering great sacrifices.
The eyes of the world are firmly fixed on Pakistan, we cannot afford any further experiments,” he added.
He added that the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is a democratic political party that has always promoted democratic values in the country, unlike the opposition which always used democracy to hide their loot while deceiving the public through slogans.
Taking a veiled swipe at the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Mahmood said that their government in both K-P and the centre demonstrated its belief in democracy by not disrupting the Azadi march led by the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), unlike the obstacles that the PTI march had to face.
He went on to say that there was a world of difference between the 2014 march and sit-in of the PTI in the capital against the government and this march. The basic difference, the chief minister said, was that the PTI had communicated a clear set of demands to the government and gave it plenty of time to address its reservations apart from approaching the courts.
The opposition, however, had done none of this.
“Today, those who speak about the truth, have forgotten their behaviour with PTI workers during the 2014 sit-in while this government has allowed the march to proceed freely,” he said.
He urged the leaders and participants of the Azadi march to follow the constitution and refrain from encouraging the public to take any action that jeopardises the security of the country and its people.
Mahmood clarified that playing with the sentiments of the public in the name of religion will never succeed as the practice of using the ‘religion card’ for political purposes has become a thing of the past.
“Now, the public is aware and they will not be deceived by anyone.”
Published in The Express Tribune, November 4th, 2019.