KARACHI: Interior Minister Rehman Malik says arrangements made by Tahirul Qadri for his long march are giving the impression that he is about to wage a war and has cautioned the Minhajul Quran International (MQI) leader against going ahead with his rally on January 14.
Speaking to the media at the Karachi airport on Friday, Malik said, “I once again inform Tahirul Qadri and his supporters that there is a serious threat to his life and an authentic intelligence report says that he will come under a terrorist attack,” he said, cautioning him to avoid convening the march on January 14. He encouraged Qadri to heed his advice, warning he could face dire consequences if he didn’t.
“If he wants, we can provide him a helicopter to reach Islamabad to attend the public gathering,” said Malik.
Malik went on to say that Qadri had assured the government that he was going to convene a peaceful march, but according to Malik, it could trigger a worsening law and order situation. Malik went on to say that Qadri has not yet received a no objection certificate (NOC) for the event and advised him not to violate the law.
“He is also a law expert and we request him to avoid breaking the rule of law,” he added.
The minister termed the long march an attempt to sabotage the democratic government and asked Qadri to explain whom he held a meeting with in Dubai prior to arriving in Pakistan.
Malik ruled out whether his party, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), had demanded the removal of Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad. He also appreciated the Muttahida Quami Movement’s (MQM) decision to withdraw from attending the long march, adding that MQM chief Altaf Hussain’s remarks on dual nationality were straightforward. “Altaf Bhai had no other option and took a British oath under certain circumstances because he had to,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 12th, 2013.