Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid took a swipe at Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf over its August 14 long march, predicting that it would last barely a day and its party leader Imran Khan would fly to Britain the next day (August 15).
He said the government would not arrest the PTI chief. “Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) workers have faced many imprisonments and so we will not like to put Imran under house arrest,” he said in remarks to the media.
Rashid, however, clarified that the government would not allow anyone to create hurdles in the way of democracy. “No terrorists will be allowed to come and attack Pakistanis in the name of freedom of expression and democracy,” he added.
He accepted Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Dr Tahirul Qadri’s debate challenge.
“After attempting a long march Qadri had come back to his original vocation of debating,” he said, adding that Pakistan Ulema Council Hafiz Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi would be enough to respond to Qadri’s debate call, which, he said, might be telecast live on Pakistan Television.
Railway Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique, meanwhile, appealed to Imran Khan to avoid turning the country’s independence day into a day of chaos and anarchy through his long march.
He said as head of the committee constituted by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to finalise arrangements for independence day celebrations, he would soon issue the schedule of events. He said the defence ministry would issue details of events, parades, speeches and venue of the celebrations.
Rafique said the PML-N did not want to comment on Asif Ali Zardari’s statement in which he had criticised the PM Nawaz for interfering in provincial matters.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 20th, 2014.