ISLAMABAD: Faced with a tricky political and security situation, the government is likely to transport Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Dr Tahirul Qadri to Lahore via a helicopter or a chartered aircraft as soon as he lands at the Benazir Bhutto International Airport in Islamabad on Monday.
According to reports, the federal government has discussed a numebr of options regarding its strategy to deal with Qadri’s highly-publicised arrival back in Pakistan. However, what decisions have been finalised remain unclear.
One of the options on the table reportedly includes putting him under house arrest once he has been transported Lahore.
The plan was finalised in a high-level meeting chaired by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan to discuss how to avoid any untoward situation upon Qadri’s arrival.
Other extreme measures that the government reportedly discussed includes taking Qadri into custody due to his Canadian nationality and not having Pakistani identity card.
However, none of these options have been finalised.
“All options are on the table and a final decision would be taken keeping in view the situation,” said a source familiar with the development.
A spokesperson of Home Department Punjab has claimed that Qadri is facing security threats. He said that after the military operation in North Waziristan, terrorists have announced attacks on important political and religious leaders and added that there is also threat of terrorism at Benazir Bhutto Airport Islamabad and other airports. He added that terrorists can also target the slow moving convoy of PAT on GT Road and that PAT leaders have been informed about these security threats.
“There should be no doubt that no one will be allowed to conduct any march towards Islamabad under the guise of a rally or sit-in,” said interior minister in a statement.
Security has already been beefed up in twin cities and all the roads leading to Islamabad airport has also been blocked.
Meanwhile, the minister has said that everyone is allowed to hold political gatherings but lawful action would be taken against those who intend to disintegrate the government through unconstitutional means.
Nisar said Qadri’s arrival at Islamabad at a time where the forces are entrenched in a war and dealing with security alerts is beyond understanding, adding, due to severe security threats, it is the responsibility of the government to safely take him and his companions to Lahore.